NZCA/Lines – In the Future all Rihanna songs will sound like this

NZCA/LINESNZCA/Lines is Michael Lovett (ably assisted in the studio by Charlie Alex Marks, and Ash Workman), who are pretty much London’s finest  purveyors of super slick futuristic R&B; think Timbaland producing a robotic Kraftwerk’s remix of Rihanna or Aaliyah or something. With the shine of Junior Boys, the whiteboy soul of Jamie Lidell and the sexual chops of Prince, it’s ‘80s leaning but only in so far as it has a similar sense of shiny optimism, and being on the cutting edge of progress.

I phoned Michael up ahead of the Double Denim/hush show at the Royal Albert Hall where he’s due to play alongside Maria Minerva, Juk Juk and Outfits. We chatted about alien hot air balloons, weeping in cupboards and not being a sex predator…

Hello Michael, are you free to talk…?

Just having a cup of tea, but I’d love to.

Great me too, nothing better than a chat and a brew. So who or what is NZCA/Lines?

I am a proponent of (hopefully) sexual futuristic R&B music, and I play keyboards! NZCA/Lines make futuristic, seductive, yet threatening R&B.

Are we talking continental French seduction, or borderline sexual predator?

More like you’re in love with a girl, but your oxygen might run out at any minute, so it’s more frantic and high-stakes seduction.

You used to be the bassist in Your Twenties right? How come you don’t play guitar anymore?

As Sting will tell you, being a bassist is cool in so far that you get to control the whole thing, especially if you sing too. But you can’t control everything, so I’ve given all the difficult stuff to others to play!

You’re doing a graphic Design BA at the same time as being NZAC/Lines – you’re a busy man!

Yeah, it can get pretty hectic: gig, interview, tour, gig, interview, try and get some work done…

It is good keep busy though, nothing worse than sitting on your hands.

Yeah, exactly.

Are there moments when you find yourself in a broom cupboard weeping?

Yeah, it can be good to have that cry.

Have I hallucinated a name change?

No. We lost an ‘a’ and found a slash basically.

How come?

There are a lot of reasons, it wasn’t style driven, although I prefer it now, but we got a lot of confused people searching for information about The Nazca Lines, which is all fascinating stuff, but not very good for web presence.

Oh, so quite a lot of people mention the Nazca Lines thing…

It does come up a bit yeah, why? Do you feel an urge coming on?

I was hoping I’d avoid it…

…but now it has happened by proxy!

You got me! It is massively interesting stuff though: aliens, hot air balloons, conspiracy theories. Not that I believe the weirder stuff of course…

…of course. I sort of wished we’d kept the name for the new record. I can see it now “2012 – NAZCA LINES ALBUM RELEASED – COSMIC ALIGNMENT!”

You’ve been painted as creating ‘Future R&B’ – is that something you can get behind?

That is good, I’m glad that you think that. The futuristic thing is a fine line between Blade Runner and Lost in Space.

So you could say that you’re trying to be a cosmic version of Timbaland?

I’m a huge fan of pop and clean production but I’m also interested in the kind of sci-fi that is kind of timeless, so aesthetically contemporary but thematically abstract. Like Murakami’s Wind up Bird Chronicles, or something.

I think it is a good fit, well made music that could exist at anytime, so I guess it is Timbaland’s production aesthetic in Murakami-like worlds, rather than spaceships and aliens.

Your sound has a European pop-electronica edge to it. Is it easy to be a to a bit too po-faced on stage with this cold persona? 

Yeah, I love music with a pop sensibility. Even if I like the ‘complicated’ and ‘difficult’ vintage Warp stuff, that is pop in its own way. I’ve been as guilty as anyone of misrepresenting it, casting it as ‘high brow’ or separate, somehow.

The debut album is out on the 27th – are you happy with it?

Yeah, although I’ve already decided that we need to polish the next one back even more!

NZCA/Lines will be playing their super shiny future R&B at the hush/Double Denim event on 22 February at the Royal Albert Hall. The eponymous debut will follow the next week

This post originally appeared on Spoonfed on 16 February 2012

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