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.
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.
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.
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!
[Article by David Miller]