L.A. pysch band Amo Amo is a group of friends that came through jam sessions. Unlike most friend jam sessions though, Amo Amo’s destiny was fulfilled when My Morning Jacket’s Jim James heard them and fell in love with their sound. Today their EP, Canta, is out.
In an interview done via email, Lovelle Femma and Omar Velasco talk about their latest EP, how the band came together, and what it means to have a band named after love.
Antonio: How are you doing? How are you doing in the quarantine/social distancing world and how have you been passing the time?
Lovelle: Hi! My mood has been oscillating since this quarantine began. I spent the first month totally alone at my place in Silverlake, which was at once peaceful & spiritually revelational & also totally maddeningly isolating. Then I went to help work on a record at Sonic Ranch in TX for a couple weeks & that turned out to be a very special time. Beautiful place, beautiful people. Music is always the redeemer.
A: First, I really wanted to ask about the formation of the band. I saw that it all started with an impromptu jam session with Jim James and knew each other, but to what extent? Were you all friends prior to Amo Amo or was it just inevitable destiny playing together at the studio that day?
Omar: We were all good friends before Amo Amo, each of us playing in different projects. That day in the studio with Jim, who was also our friend from before, was more of an experiment to see what the chemistry was like. Needless to say, it was great! So over the next few months, we wrote a lot together and came up with the material that would become our debut album.
A: It’s been a little over a year since the debut self-titled album came out; what’s the reaction been?
L: First records are a strange, brave, brilliant accomplishment. We’re still moving vinyl & people have really been supportive of us, which is a great feeling. Now that we have new songs coming out it helps us feel more solidified as a group. We’re doing this thing! It’s very humbling, a lot of work & also a lot of fun.
A: There were more than several shows but it seems like the band has been busy at work already with an EP set for release including the song “Missed Connection” which just came out and is one of two singles from Canta. Have you spent more time working on music?
Omar: These are such strange times. Luckily we have this collection of new songs that we’re putting out, which feels really good. But the foundation of our band is very much playing together, whether in a practice room or on stage. That’s how a lot of the music is written and it seems to be when the magic really happens. We really look forward to the time when we can reunite and play!
A: You have a very unique sound that’s this happy trippy psychedelic / Tropicalia sound; and it pushes these themes of love and euphoria which seems to be the goal with the band name. Is this true? Is that what Amo Amo’s music is about?
L: It really is. We‘re very sincere about what we’re doing here, about our name meaning love. We care a lot about each other, we’re friends, & we make music that comes from a place of caring about people & the planet & we want to bring people together & create transcendent safe spaces.
A: The new single, “Missed Connection”, definitely follows that idea; what was the inspiration behind this song?
O: “Missed Connection” expresses our longing for a future that honors rather than denies our interconnectedness with each other and the planet. Especially during these times, it has become very obvious how much we need each other, how fundamentally interconnected we really are.
A: What can you give away about the EP before it comes out? How long have you been working on it and what should we look out for?
L: We’ve been working on this EP for well over a year. Some of the songs were from a writing session in Grass Valley, CA where we swam in a river & turned a beautiful house in the woods into a studio. We’re deeply influenced by nature, by the wild bliss, heartfelt mystery, & enchanting cooperation that’s found coexisting there. We also live in cities & explore themes of urban ritual, vibrant communities, gritty psychedelic landscapes fused with friends & stars & disco floors.
A: Your first release was about two years ago and in those two years you’ve already shared stages with artists like Karen O & Danger Mouse, Poolside, and Os Mutantes. What have those experiences been like and what’s the next step for Amo Amo?
O: They’ve been incredible! When you open for someone you never know how the crowd will respond. After all they are not really there to see you necessarily. But we’ve been really lucky with the bands we’ve supported – their crowds have been really gracious and that makes for a very fun night. As to what’s next, we’re putting out our new EP… and that’s as far as we know! There’s so much uncertainty around the industry and the world, so it’s hard to say. But it’s safe to say that once we are able to play for a crowd again we’ll really relish it!
A: That’s it for my questions. Is there anything else you would like to add, anything I missed or that you wanted to talk more about?
L: It’s a huge blessing to be able to make music with people we love in the city that we love. This music community in LA, the venues & the musicians & the listeners, are incredibly special. We’re honored to be a part of it all.
By Antonio Villaseñor-Baca