Susie Asado’s cabaret-cum-pop stylings are here by way of Frankfurt am Main and Chicago. Charmingly bare lyrics and pure, acoustic strings define the Susie Asado sound. Here, Asado-founder, Josepha Conrad (not to be confused with the moustachioed hotty author of Heart of Darkness – not that you would) speaks to us of the travails of sitting down to write (literally), and sexually charged fist-fighting with Kermit-the-Frog.
THE LO DOWN
Bang On Team: Tell us a little about your band/project. What’s your sound?
Josepha: I like to think of my music as bare-boned-wordy-pop-songs. I love metronomical sounds and droney sounds and the plunk plunk of stringed instruments. I tend to start with the words, with the story and the songs become songs because I say they are songs.
BOT: How do you go about songwriting?
J: I sit down and write songs. Sometimes I have to clean the house and do the laundry before I sit down. I don’t like sitting down. I wish I could write songs suspended in air or floating in warm water. I have tried the floating in water thing using a scuba diving writing tablet. It didn’t really work. There is something about the intolerable form of sitting that helps me write.
BOT: Who are your biggest influences?
J: My friends. I feel deeply inspired by friends’ writings and their songs and the stuff they make. Also listening to anyone sing a song that they have written or have found is pretty inspiring. Then there is also my sister and her three kids. My sister is a photographer who’s work I often literally translate into songs. Her kids listen to radio-pop and listening to music with them and dancing with them reminds me why I love music so much.
BOT: What’s been your lowest and highest point as a project?
J: Sometimes the lowest and the highest points go together for me. Being dead tired and hungry on tour and nobody showing up for a show and then suddenly realizing the beauty of this fragile constellation of making music and the friends that go with it. These moments are so damn precious.
BOT: What’s your ultimate aim?
J: To keep performing. To perform into my seventies. To perform with my body and face falling apart, perhaps even, but hopefully not, my mind falling apart. To perform the failed chanteuse. To perform the broken voice once it breaks.
BOT: You have the chance to play one song for a legend of your choice. What do you play?
J: I would try to muster up the nerve to play my song “Under Under” for Patti Smith. It’s short and weird and it would be hard to remember all the words, which means I would probably mess up, which I love.
BOT: What does Berlin do for you musically?
J: I don’t think I would have started to play music had it not been for Berlin; for the scene of small clubs and brave musicians and promoters. I barely knew how to perform my rough songs and people gave me opportunities to play them. Especially in 2004, 2005, and 2006 when I started out playing songs with my brother Philipp, and our band Crazy for Jane. Now I feel like it is the community that sustains me and I try to be there for the community as well, which is not always easy because I’m shy.
BOT: What do we have to look forward to in the coming months from you?
J: I’m working on new songs. They feel different to me. More poppy. Perhaps even almost danceable. I’m also going gray. So you could watch me go totally gray, maybe even white.
BOT: Which muppet would you take in a fist fight?
I would take on Kermit. We would punch each other with our scrawny arms and after an elaborate and wild sparring choreography we would fall on top of each other, exhausted and hurt and entangled in a totally romantic heap. I love Kermit and he loves me. And that’s the end of that.
Catch Susie Asado with Lapwings and The Spinning Lamps at Bang On’s Clash Symbols #2 on May 6th at Bei Ruth!