Ready To Launch – Love Command 0


Posted 4 weeks ago in Music Features

Cirillo’s

After years plying an alternative synth rock trade with Fight Like Apes, and following a triumphant return show on April 6th, Jamie Fox looks set to take on the world of Italo Disco with his wife and musical collaborator Bex under the banner of Love Command 0.

They announced themselves to the world in 2022, with ‘Guilty (Release The Wolf)’, a song written around synth and disco explorations over lockdown.

Now, juggling a move to Berlin, a new cub in the den and preparing to release an excellent, new wave tinged Italo record in ‘Integration’, we spoke with the pair about their origin story and new album, ‘Integration’, a danceable marvel that offers a surprisingly cerebral take on the genre, and that promises  “a psychoanalytical musical examination of married life, toxic masculinity, Jungian psychology and the rebirth of love.”

 

Italo music might be unfamiliar to many in Ireland, how have the German crowds responded to the sound?

Bex: “It seems to be huge here. There’s a lot of dedicated Italo clubs and nights. It definitely seems to be a little more Italo forward than Dublin.”

Jamie: “Techno will always be the spiritual music of Berlin, but it seems like it’s taken off here as well. There’s a subculture for everything here.”

 

I’m unfamiliar with Italo, what was your introduction to the sound?

Jamie: “Well, personally, I was really into techno for a long time, and I was trying to make techno for a long time. For many years, I just couldn’t take the song out of myself. Melody and that. Melodic techno often tends to be quite cheesy, so everytime I ended up making something I liked it actually ended up being a lot closer to Italo than I’d initially have envisioned. Even chord sequences I would have traditionally used in Fight Like Apes are heavily influenced by Italo. You wouldn’t hear it in those records, it’s at a different BPM, there’s no four to the floor, it’s a very punk presentation. I’ve always really been interested in that precipice of being utterly cheesy. That line between kitsch and triumphant.”

 

And who inspired you? Who were you listening to when recording ‘Integration’?

Jamie: “We were not listening to a lot of new stuff, especially when we were making this album. There were a lot of 80’s ZYX  classics. The label that deigned to release this record was actually responsible for putting out a lot of the seminal Italo records, like Charlie’s “Spacer Woman”, Mr. Flagio, The Flirts. Classic records. The Flirts would have been a primary influence, and we ended up getting signed by Linda Jo Rizzo.”

 

That’s wild. A record deal is a little more than a nod of approval

Jamie: “When she initially reached out to us, I thought it was because she wanted to send a cease and desist letter.”

Bex: “She asked us to tell us more about what we did, which sounded incredibly ominous.”

Jamie: “I genuinely thought it wasn’t going to be good news, but it turns out she liked it.”

 

How has the live show been developing?

Jamie: “We’re playing out. We’re playing this weekend! Well, we hopefully have a tour planned in Autumn, after the record comes out. We have a little baby, so it is trickier than it was a few years ago, but we’re getting there. We wait until she’s in bed and we have in-ears in the house where we can just play away with all our synths and drum machines.”

 

Living in the future truly is amazing. So you must have had the material for this record already laid out?

Jamie: “I suppose, like a lot of people, we made a lockdown album. When life started getting really boring, we packed up those drum machines and synthesizers into the car and drove to Berlin for three months. We recorded the album in Kreuzberg, in a dark room with no windows. Luna hadn’t been born yet, and then obviously, having a baby, we realized releasing the album would be incredibly difficult to release. We took a little bit of time off.”

Bex: “We took a bit of a hiatus, and we weren’t sure what we were going to do with it, or even if we were going to do anything with it, or if we were going to play it live. Then ZYX records reached out and it all bubbled up again.”

 

What can you tell me about the themes behind ‘Integration?’

Bex: “It’s a kind of concept album, and the idea behind it is the integration of the masculine and feminine within any one being. Not necessarily gender, but yin and the yang elements. So it’s kind of a wave, it starts at an extreme of toxic masculinity and then a divine feminine is introduced. There’s some dark shadow work. Some inner child work, and then a triumphant crescendo of integration at the end.”

 

That’s pretty heady stuff.

Bex: “Well, Jamie is a psychotherapist, so it’s kind of based around Jungian themes, and there’s a hero’s journey element to it as well. It was designed as one continuous piece of music that we refer to as a space opera.”

 

It’s not necessarily a theme one would immediately associate with Italo, even with my limited grasp of the genre. How did the concept germinate? Was that over the process of your study?

Jamie: “We had so much time on our hands around the time we made it, we’d moved down to the country. We were this married couple in the middle of nowhere with a lot of time. Big conversations were happening about masculinity and femininity, so I thought it would be interesting to use a lot of warlike samples in the very early stages, and it propagated from there into having this call and response thing. The defensive masculine, that kind of thing. The theme formed itself as we made the record. We knew that we wanted  to do something around a hero’s journey, so we just let that present itself through the process.”

 

And how do you guys compose together? I imagine the dynamic is quite different to Fight Like Apes writing sessions.

Bex: “I suppose it’s easier in some ways. We were always at home so we didn’t have to arrange rehearsals. It all came together very organically.”

Jamie: “We made a thank you song for the friend who married us.”

Bex: “We wanted to make a gift for them and they were both really into music, so that was the first time we entered into that new dynamic, and it just worked really well.”

Jamie: “I hadn’t planned on making music again at all, at that time. We did that song and realized I’d forgotten that it’s really fun.”

Words: Adhamh Ó Caoimh

Images: Loreana Rushe

@wearelovecommand0

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