Legendary Damo Suzuki, former lead singer in krautrock band Can, has stopped dreaming. He’s living in the moment, survived cancer twice – and plays this week at the 3rd Interkosmos Fest.
He was born in Japan in 1950 and went busking around Europe in the late 60s. One day he played on the street in Munich – and encountered Can. They needed a new lead singer after Malcolm Mooney had left. Suzuki made cosmic music with Can for three years.
A lot has changed since. Currently he tours with his Damo Suzuki Network and plays with different musicians all over the world. Again – after a recent break caused by cancer. This Saturday, 9th of June is your chance if you want to experience one of these cosmic, improvised performances here in Berlin. Read on if you’d like to know more about the wonderful Suzuki. We had a word with him…
indieberlin: What’s you first memory of music?
Damo Suzuki: I guess I was under the influence of my sister. She was a member of the classical music society and regularly got vinyl LP’s. So the first memory I have of experiencing music was this black vinyl LP – with width.
indieberlin: What was your biggest dream when you were a child – and what do you dream of today?
Damo Suzuki: In my childhood I dreamt of becoming a cartoonist or manga artist. Now I don’t dream. Actually, I have what I need. Every second I experience is worth enough in itself. Every scenery is special. And I’ve got no interest in any kind of change involving money.
indieberlin: Touring around the world naturally means encountering many different people. If I ask you to think of an encounter that was really special, what’s the first one that comes to mind?
Damo Suzuki: To compare things is not part of my world. I always have good people around me – sound carriers [fellow musicians], friends, fans, and there are good venues wherever I go.
The light of fortune
indieberlin: How would you describe your audience?
Damo Suzuki: Positive, educated, and patient. They all bring good things.
indieberlin: Do you have a message for the people who listen to your music?
Damo Suzuki: Enjoy the time with us, travel together with us, forget all those dark things, and see the light of fortune.
indieberlin: How would your music look if it were a picture?
Damo Suzuki: At the beginning there’s nothing – it may just be a blank sphere – but it develops. It turns more and more into something. But this is only one viewer’s perspective. Everybody in the space will see different pictures. There’s a picture hanging on the wall – but everyone has a different experience.
indieberlin: Your experience with cancer must have had an enormous impact on your life. What has changed?
Damo Suzuki: If your body is no longer the original one you got from your birth, many things change. Let’s begin with everyday needs – like eating and drinking. I can’t have much. And since I had surgery my taste has changed. Before the surgery I hadn’t had a cup of coffee for 40 years or so – and now I love having one. Also, I don’t drink beer anymore. I did that before the surgery. For every surgery the taste changes.
I cannot carry heavy things – even slightly heavy things are too much. My body has become handicapped. That means many of the things I like doing might not possible to do anymore. My moving radius has been reduced – and it’s slow. I was very lucky to survive this illness twice, so I’m very thankful for being alive each second. I find staying positive the only way to go.
indieberlin: If you could change anything about this planet, what would you do?
Damo Suzuki: At first I’d make people read the bible..