Tag Archives: Dragonette

Interview with Kim Moyes of The Presets

the presets

The Presets are about as big as they come in Australia. The duo of Kim Moyes and Julian Hamilton have won over a dozen awards, including becoming the first ever Electronic act to win an ARIA for “Album of the Year” (2008), followed by an APRA award for “Songwriters of the Year” (2009).

They have released three studio albums, remixed a bevy of artists including Lenny Kravitz and Kings of Leon, and have shared the stage with genre defining artists like Coldplay and Daft Punk.

Starting on Saturday, May 4th they will be kicking off their U.S. Tour (with Dragonette and Classixx) in Washington, DC before cruising into Philadelphia the next night to play a May 5th show at Union Transfer. Before we catch the show on Sunday night, we spoke with Kim Moyes of The Presets to get the dirt on the upcoming tour, life on the road, and a slew of other topics.

Independent Philly: Who came up with the name “The Presets”, does it hold any special meaning for you guys, and did you consider any other names?

Kim Moyes: I actually came up with the name The Presets before we even started making music as The Presets. I think it was one of these names that I thought was really great and I kind of had this concept that we would be a band that made music with like old Casio keyboards and just use all the preset sounds and drum machines from them. So it was kind of a funny concept that I was playing with and then Jules and I had been messing around for a while just jamming with synths and drums and we sort of thought we would just start making music in that style and we just thought the name The Presets kind of fit that. We didn’t really consider any other names. I think we were sold on that name from the get go.

IP: Your latest album “Pacifica” has been out for about six months. How has the reaction been so far?

KM: It’s been great. Critically it’s been our most acclaimed record to date. Our fans who always love what we do are still really into it, and really interested in what we’re doing and really like it. A lot of people think it’s the best album we’ve made. I don’t think it’s really satisfied everyone’s expectations, there are people that really miss the super hard, aggressive stuff that we were doing a few years ago, or that we have done in the past. So, you know, a few fans have dropped off along the way but I think we’ve also picked up fans who never really liked that kind of (hard) stuff and appreciate the fact that we’ve kind of developed our sound and matured and continued to progress. The shows have been really great. The new material and the old material seem to work really well together, and we’ve been able to remix some of the older material to kind of keep it up to date and more in line with what we are doing now. I think it’s a great show given the history of our catalog. It sounds really good together and the crowds always seem to have a really good time. All in all the response has been pretty positive.

IP: You guys are going to be touring in the States soon with Dragonette. What went into pairing these groups together for the tour?

KM: Their management (Dragonette) and our management are quite close. They are managed by the same people who manage Cut Copy so they are kind of like extended family members. I’m not overly familiar with Dragonette and I’ve never met them before but I think it’s going to be a good fit, it’s going to be fun. I think they are the right type of band to tour with. We are also touring with Classixx as well and I’ve met those guys a few times and they’re really sweet. So yeah, I’m excited to meet these guys. When you tour you’re like brothers and sisters in arms, so hopefully by the end of May we’re all best friends.

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IP: What is your least favorite part about being out on the road touring?

KM: Being away from my family I find is the most irritating side effect of going out on the road but I try not to focus too much on the negativity of touring. There are so many musicians that we know that struggle to have a career and I always catch myself thinking “Oh God, I have to go away and be on the road for a month and be away from my family and stuff” but the reality is, this is my job and if I wasn’t touring I wouldn’t be earning any money and I wouldn’t be achieving what I think I should be achieving. I’m grateful for the opportunity and that people are still interested in what we do enough to keep coming back to the shows.

IP: There is a crazy amount of buzz in the States about Daft Punk’s new album “Random Access Memories” that is being released in May. You guys had the chance to tour with them in Australia. What was that experience like?

KM: It was great. It was a real honor. We’ve been fans of Daft Punk ever since “Homework”. I remember even when “Da Funk” came out about a year before “Homework” came out and taping it off of a community radio station on a cassette and bringing it into Union and playing it for Julian on headphones and just couldn’t believe how good it was. We never really had any crazy idealistic dreams (at the time) that one day we’d be supporting Daft Punk but luckily enough, we did. Also, aside from support a great legacy act like Daft Punk, that time period that we toured with them was actually really monumental for us in terms of our career because we were in the studio making “Apocalypso” when we toured with them and I think “My People” had just come out onto radio so everybody was starting to get really familiar with it. There were about 50,000 people at the concert in Sydney with Daft Punk. We played all over Australia with them but the Sydney show was one of the biggest ones. With “My People” just coming out on the radio, we had a chance to play that live, and we played “Kicking and Screaming” for the first time live, which no one had ever heard, and I remember the crowd was just really responsive. When we came off stage, all of our friends and everyone there, their jaws just dropped at how good it was and how good the response was. It just felt like that was the beginning of a really special time for us. I definitely think of that Daft Punk time with very fond memories. We also got to meet our lighting guy and our tour manager from that tour as well. It was Daft Punk’s tour manager and Daft Punk’s lighting guy. And you know, those two guys are our guys now. Ego trip aside it was a really amazing experience.

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IP: Between you and Julian, who would win the following battles? The first one is a boxing match…

KM: Julian takes Boxercise, like Fight Club, a couple times a week, so I guess he would. Then again, I don’t know, when you’re in the heat of the moment… are you talking about an actual boxing match like “ding, ding, ding, ding” and all that or like street fighting?

IP: Either one, it could be sanctioned or just a round of spontaneous fisticuffs…

KM: Like backyard brawling with no gloves and stuff or like Ultimate Fighting? If it was a backyard brawl I think maybe I would win because I think I’m maybe a little more psychotic than he (Julian) is. But if it were like boxing with rules and gloves then it would probably be him because he’d probably have a better technique than I do.

IP: Which one of you would win a dance-off?

KM: Julian, hands down.

IP: Who would win a cook-off?

KM? Again, Julian, hands-down.

IP: How about a fashion show, which one of you is a better dresser?

KM: That would be me.

IP: Great! Would you like to give a shout out to your fans in North America that will be coming up to support your upcoming tour?

KM: Yeah, I’d like to say, if you’ve come seen us before and you had a good time, come down and say hello. We’ve friendly and accommodating and  we’ll try to take some photos with you. If you’ve never seen us and you’re curious to check us out you should come down as well and bring some friends. You’re guaranteed to have a good time. It’s straight up shirts-off-and-have-a-good-time.

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IP: In 2009, Julian was quoted in Rolling Stone Australia as saying that you get asked the same six questions over and over again by music journalists and bloggers. So, if you were going to interview yourselves, what would you ask? Are there things that you want fans to know about you that you don’t think they’ve had a chance to learn? 

KM: (Laughs). That is such a deep, hypothetical question. I don’t think anyone should have to answer that question. It’s like a parallel universe within a parallel universe. Julian made that comment when I think we were getting interviewed in the States in L.A. and for about three interviews in a row we kept getting asked “So you guys use auto-tune on your vocals right?” and we were like what the hell is going on? And then one of us, or someone, checked our Wikipedia page and the first comment was “The Presets are a band that use auto-tune”, that was the first thing in our description on Wikipedia. So we thought if it would be funny if we put in “The Presets really hate being asked the same six questions”, you know like “How did you guys meet” and “Where’d you get your name from”. You know, we were just sort of having some fun, and now we get asked about the six questions as much as the six questions.

IP: Uh oh, I guess we asked you that…

KM:  I’m just kidding mate.

IP: Finally, can you tell us something about you guys that would surprise or even shock our readers…

KM: God, I don’t know. What do you think is a shocking thing? Drinking your own urine, is that something that you think is shocking?

IP: That would be shocking if indeed you drink your own urine, yes.

KM: Well I don’t think either of us do that. I think we’re just pretty average dudes, pretty average humans, just getting along in life and doing things to survive. I don’t think there is anything overly shocking or confrontational about what we do. You know, we’re all human.

We can’t wait to catch the show this Sunday night at 830pm! The Presets, Dragonette, and Classixx all know how to light up a stage so the three together promise to be one hell of a good time. You can grab advance tickets to make sure you don’t miss out on an amazing end to the first weekend of May! See you there Philly!

Be sure to “like” Independent Philly on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

[Article by David Miller]


Dragonette & The Knocks: Double Bill of Magic Music at Union Transfer

Dragonette and The Knocks made the third stop of their thirteen city fall tour at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Thursday, September 13th after playing in New York City the night before. The show’s headliner, Canadian band Dragonette, consists of singer Martina Sorbara, bassist Dan Kutz, and drummer Joel Stouffer.  They have released two great albums including “Galore” back in 2007 and “Fixin to Thrill” in 2009 and are also slated to release their third studio album “Bodyparts” on September 25th.  The album Galore earned them a Juno Award nomination for Best New Group and Fixin to Thrill peaked at number 21 on the U.S. dance charts.  Even with these credentials, the last time they played in Philadelphia back in 2010, they played for a very small crowd in a much smaller venue. When Sorbara reminisced about this prior experience (while on-stage at Union Transfer on Thursday), she joked that there were maybe about four people in the crowd.  Boy have things changed.

Since then, their song ‘Hello’, that they recorded with DJ and producer Martin Solveig, has taken the world by storm.  ‘Hello’ has been used in commercials and television shows such as 90210, The Vampire Diaries, and Gossip Girl.  It peaked at number one in a number of European countries and also reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart in the United States.  They have collaborated four times on Martin Solveig’s 2011 album “Smash” and there is no denying the chemistry between these two musical acts.

The Knocks, who opened for Dragonette, are an electronic duo from the Lower East Side of New York City consisting of Ben ‘B-Roc’ Ruttner and James ‘JPatt’ Patterson. Not only do they produce their own original music but they also have made remixes for other big acts such as Katy Perry and Britney Spears.  Their song ‘Dancing with the DJ’ reached number 1 on both the Hype Machine and Japan’s iTunes.  We caught them when they were here just a couple of weeks ago as one of the musical guests at the Made In America Festival which was hosted by Jay-z and Budweiser.  [Click HERE for Made In America pictures and review]

Dragonette made a great decision with their openers for their fall tour because The Knocks always put the crowd in a great mood and get everyone dancing.  We’re a big fan of theirs after catching them at Camp Bisco back in July and then again at Firefly Music Festival. We had a chance to chat with them prior to the show and you can check out that interview right here:

The Knocks didn’t waste any time getting Union Transfer into the groove by opening their set with the song ‘R.O.Y.L. (Rest Of Your Life)’.  It was a great way to kick off their show and made the crowd feel like they were in for a special night, especially with lyrics like ‘I promise you that you’ll remember tonight for the rest of your life’.  The good vibes continued with their 2012 summer anthem ‘The Feeling’. This dynamic duo followed it up with live mixing of some fan favorites like ‘Funk Soul Brother’ by Fatboy Slim and ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ by the Killers, which had the crowd chanting ‘I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier’.  They ended their live mixing with a song by Philadelphia native Diplo called ‘Pon De Floor’, which has been a big club hit for awhile. By this time the crowd was dancing and The Knocks kept up the energy by playing ‘Blackout’ and ‘Learn to Fly’. To conclude their set, they played two of their biggest crowd pleasers, which coincidentally are our two favorite songs of theirs, ‘Dancing With The DJ’ and ‘Brightside’.  Their lyrics about not caring if the sun comes up because we are dancing with the DJ and singing with me one more time fit perfectly with how the crowd was feeling.  The only thing that disappointed us about their set was that it had to end.  By the time The Knocks left the stage, everyone was yearning for more music that they could dance to.

Even though The Knocks had a great opening set, it became very clear who most people came out to see.  When the lights dimmed after the break between sets, the bar area quickly dispersed to floor level and the size of the crowd by the stage seemed a lot larger than minutes before.  Dragonette decided to open with their risque 2007 song ‘I Get Around’ to the delight of their fans.  We didn’t know much about their music before tonight but quickly understood their appeal when we saw the way lead singer Martina Sorbara commanded the stage.  Not only did her unique voice capture our attention but so did the way that she engaged the audience by working the whole stage and getting so close that you felt like she was part of the crowd.  By the time the song ‘Live In This City’ came on, the whole crowd was energized and clapping along.  After this song, Martina told the crowd about her last show in Philadelphia and how there was barely anyone there.  She was trying to figure out what the name of the venue was that she last performed at and a couple people were yelling out “Johnny Brenda’s”.  She clearly could not understand what they were saying so she called it “Johnny Brownbuzz” which got a chuckle from the local hipsters in the crowd.

For the next song, the lights were turned down low and red lights filled up the stage.  You knew she meant business when the jacket came off and she started singing ‘Limousine’ and ‘Pick Up The Phone’.  Towards the end of the song ‘Pick Up The Phone’, they incorporated the Cyndi Lauper classic ‘Time After Time’ which the crowd cheerfully sang along to.  After this song, Martina picked up her guitar and transitioned beautifully into ‘Fire In Your Shoes’.  Then they started singing some songs off their new album, such as ‘My Legs’ and ‘Run, Run, Run,’ and an old favorite ‘Easy’.  Once they finished ‘My Work Is Done’, the bass started thumping and the lights were flashing.  Everyone knew something big was about to happen and as the anticipation was rising and rising, the beginning of their biggest hit ‘Hello’ started playing.  This was definitely the climax of the night, with everyone singing along and jumping to the music.  They played a couple more songs and left the stage, with everyone wanting more.  To the delight of their fans, they came back out for a two song encore.  During this encore, Martina told the crowd that she bought a collapsible bicycle in Philadelphia and named it ‘Phyllis’.  She said that she will bring it on her tour bus and take a picture with it in each of the other cities she performs in (and everyone can follow the travels of ‘Phyllis’, her version of the traveling gnome online).  This news was met with applause. By the end of the night, Dragonette had made two new fans of their live show over here at Independent Philly.  Although Dragonette just came to say ‘Hello’, a piece of Philadelphia will be with them forever.

[Story by Lee Min Yeong]

You can view a full photo gallery of the show below (click thumbnails to enlarge):

Interview with Jamie Shields of The New Deal

After twelve-plus years of pioneering the sounds of “Livetronica” (along with bands like The Disco Biscuits and Lake Trout) and touring all over the world, The New Deal is treating fans to one last string of shows before going their separate ways in January 2012.

Their final four U.S. shows will be played in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York.

The Philly show, on December 28th at the Theater of the Living Arts, promises to be a special night for The New Deal and their loyal fans: a celebration of their long career, and a final goodbye, all rolled into one.

To get some insight on the band, we spoke with keyboard player Jamie Shields about The New Deal’s humble beginnings, their successful career, and what’s next for him, Dan, and Darren as they go their separate ways.

Independent Philly: Who came up with the name “The New Deal”? Does it hold any special meaning for you?

Jamie Shields: It holds very special meaning as our ability to come up with a name out of nothing at all. We weren’t really a band when we came up with that name. In fact, we played our first concert and had a record before we were even a band. We were sort of this lose combination of a bunch of people and we were playing in Toronto at some sort of cover bar, playing some acid jazz covers (Darren was in charge of that band). Sometimes I sat in, and sometimes Dan sat in. Dan and I have been playing in bands together since we were 13. Then one time the combination of people wound up being Darren on drums, Dan on bass, and me on keyboard (because the guitar player didn’t show up). No one was really listening at these gigs so we just sort of said “let’s just make this up, no one really cares so let’s just have some fun.” And when we were doing this, we said, “You know what? This sounds pretty good. Let’s go do this at a real bar, at a real venue, and let’s hear how it sounds there.” So we did that and probably six people showed up (who were our friends) but we taped it because we wanted to hear how this impromptu thing sounded, and we listened to it and said, “This is great, let’s put this out. Let’s make this a CD.” So we had our first record, before we even had a band or a band name. At that point we were like, “We’re going to have to a) title this album and b) name the band.” So we just kind of threw a bunch of names out, and figured this was kind of a new interesting musical progression (for us at least), it was like nothing we’d really heard before, and it was new to us, so we were like “Sure, The New Deal sounds great to us!”

IP: Is it true that you never loop any of your keyboard tracks, and play all of the repeats live?

JS: All true, all 100% true. We play everything live. Our drummer now has sort of brought in an e-pad of electronic drum sounds on stage but everything we play is being played with our hands, or our fingers, or whatever. There’s nothing that’s looped and nothing that’s predetermined before hand. I mean, we’ve never had a rehearsal and we never have a set list; we just kind of go up on stage and start playing and it would be a little hard to have preset sequences and stuff if that’s our approach because our approach is so sort of organic and natural.

IP: You’ve played shows and festivals all over the planet, what is the largest crowd you’ve ever played for?

JS: That’s a good question. I would probably have to say it was in Coachella at the Coachella Festival. I imagine it was probably about 30,000; somewhere along those lines. I couldn’t count them all, I only got up to about 1,200.

IP: Do you prefer the large scale shows or playing at more intimate venues?

JS: There’s very different mindsets for both. The larger scale shows have a real intensity to them, maybe because they are so big and the crowds are usually so in to it. There’s a whole lot of electricity that’s going on throughout the venue but I find, personally speaking, for the smaller shows, there’s less of a demand within myself to try to, quote/unquote “Rock the House.” And when we play the smaller shows my mind’s a little more free to wander and like I said, because we improvise so much I kind of just want to be able to go wherever my mind takes me. Usually I’m able able to do that at the bigger or smaller shows, but I find that it’s a little easier for me at the smaller shows to be able to do some stuff like that.

IP: After almost thirteen years as a group, you’ve decided to call it quits at the end of this year/early next year. What’s next for you, Darren, and Dan individually?

JS: I’m very busy right now. I write a whole lot of music for TV, commercials, and film, so I’m pretty busy with that.

Dan, the bass-player, he’s really busy with a band called “Dragonette” which is his band, and they’ve had a number of hits in Europe and in The States and stuff, so he’s pretty busy with that. That’s with his wife Martina.

Darren is very busy with all sorts of musical stuff. He’s running a bunch of musical endeavors out of Toronto, although I think he’s going to be moving to L.A., but I mean that guys is never without a gig, he could pick a million bands out there that would want to have him. He could easily be on the road successfully touring within five minutes.

IP: Does the knowledge that you’re playing your final shows together add something to the experience at your current shows? Can fans who have seen The New Deal before expect anything different from this final run?

JS: Well the shows are always different because they’re improvised. In regards to them being special, yeah, they’re going to have a special feeling to them for sure. We’ll probably be pulling out some tunes that we’ve never played or that we’ve rarely played, and bringing back some of the older stuff that we haven’t played in a while. You know these shows are more of a “Thank You” to our fans for sticking it out and sticking by us, and enjoying all of the music we were able to put out. We have a pretty strong relationship with our fans and we wanted to be able to get out there one last time and just say “Thanks,” and show it in a musical manner as opposed to just saying it.

IP: If you were a fan, putting together a Top-5 list of “The New Deal” songs, what would be on it?

JS: Well from the fans’ perspective I would probably put on it: “Gone, Gone, Gone” “Technobeam” “VL Tone” is pretty popular, “Blame Yourself” we always get a lot of requests for that, and probably a song called “Deep Sun”. Those are probably the top-5 fan favorites, at least that I can think of.

IP: Let’s do some quick word association… First thing that comes to mind…

IP: How’s your slap-shot?

JS: My slap-shot is okay, I’m concerned about my Toronto Maple Leafs slap-shot. I was at the game on Saturday night in Buffalo and it was just disgusting. The amount of penalties, and the inability to get it out of our own end, ugh it was just the worst. And we had such a nice start to the season and even a nice middle to the season and now we’ve lost like three out of our past four of something, rough; you can’t do that.

IP: If you could relive one of The New Deal’s shows over the past decade-plus, which one would it be and why?

JS: It might be our last show of our tour in Japan last year in Tokyo. That last show was pretty special. I mean it was sold out and there was a line around the block. And this is a band that doesn’t have any hit singles, and this is a band with no singer, and we were headlining our show in Tokyo and it was just a magical experience. I would relive that every day if I could.

IP: How often do you bring in a vocalist?

JS: We have some tunes on our records that have vocalists on them and in Toronto just the other night, we had Dan’s wife Martina (she’s sung on a couple of the records) and she came out and sang a track. And there are about three or four tracks out there that are pretty popular, fan favorites as well, that have vocals. We do instrumental versions of them but if the fancy strikes us we’ll bring someone out, but if it doesn’t we’ll just stick to the three instrumentals off of “The New Deal”.

IP: Tell us something that would surprise or even shock our readers…

JS: That my second serve in Tennis is surprisingly good.

We hope you will all join us at the T.L.A. on December 28th as Deathwaltz Media presents this extraordinary night of music with The New Deal and Sonic Spank.  You can buy tickets online, at the T.L.A. box office, or enter our contest to win tickets for you and a friend!