The summer has now passed, and as autumn sets in, it is time for us to get back to work.
What better way to kick off this new chapter than with a little interview we did a while back with the intriguing NZCA/LINES, an artist who’s debut album got us hooked from the get-go, delivering sophisticated pop melodies by the bucketload. We wanted to learn a little more about the man behind the moniker, and delve deeper into his world. Here are the fruits of our encounter.
First off, what pushed you to start your solo project under the moniker NZCA/Lines?
It’s the same old story. I’d been playing in various bands since I was a teenager, and had been making music of my own on the side. NZCA/Lines came about as the realization of something I’d been considering since a brief stint at art school in Edinburgh. I’ve always made visual art as well as music, and this is generally focused on a narrative around which the work is made. I had a lot of conversations with my friend Rob Fresson, now an illustrator and also a musician, about approaching a musical project in the same way as an art project: methodically, making work around a focused direction. My attempt at this is NZCA/Lines. It’s a concept record based around a fictional universe I started at Edinburgh.
What is your first musical memory?
Playing folk guitar pieces I’d been given to practice aged 8 or so, and suddenly realizing you could make up your own stuff too.
Your music has been compared to the likes of Metronomy, a comparison you try to steer away from, describe your music in 5 words.
Clean, Filthy, Desperate, Assured, Aerodynamic.
What inspires you outside of music?
I get quite a lot from books, films and comics, which is a pretty common thing now I think. Recently I’ve become interested in how science fiction authors can examine the way our society is structured, by imagining how it would respond to something like an apocalypse. John Wyndham is great for this, and also We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a good example. This kind of ties in with the cyclic/mythological ideas of people like Joseph Campbell, and the sort of thing James Joyce was into. I’m not going to pretend I’ve read any James Joyce yet though! I think there’s quite a discernable link between electronic music and the social theories of someone like Marshall McLuhan, or more directly and evidently Alvin Toffler (his book The Third Wave being mentioned by Juan Atkins as inspiration for techno music). It’s always hard to ‘make time’ for watching films, but some of my favorites are Solaris, Stalker, 2001, Alphaville … that kind of stuff. An influence on some of the bleaker lyrics on this album was Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s seminal comics.
Your self-titled album has had a great reception, explain the record for our readers.
It’s a pop record. But it’s also a concept record, about the world of New Magnetic North. By using these artificial magnetic poles, people can navigate their airships to follow the ephemeral locations on NMN’s compass points. However, NMN is constantly moving; this means that the locations are purely notional, and could relate to anywhere in our ‘real’ physical world. The songs on the record are more about characters in this world though, and this story takes a back seat. For instance, Nazca is about a pilot who falls in love with his airship, but because the airship allows him to see the landscape differently: he can see the Nazca Lines, he can see Rozel Point, he can see the transparent city of Ira. Work is about the same pilot, now stuck in a desk job that he loathes, accessing the magic of his youth only through distant memories. Patrol Late Backis the lament of a man waiting for his lover to return from routine patrol: as darkness descends her survival appears unlikely.
If you could choose one person to collaborate with, dead or alive, who would it be?
Stargate! (the production team AND the TV series)
Any final words for our lovely readers?
“The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts”
Make sure you download his new EP “Atoms & Axes” here and in case you haven’t yet, go get his self titled debut album, it’s a real treat.