The Presets conducted by Hugo Lunny  

The Presets Interview

September 2008

Australian duo, The Presets are taking the electronic/dance world by storm. After releasing their sophomore album, "Apocalypso," the Sydney based Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes have been touring the world in support of their heavily praised release.

The album has been so successful, especially in Australia, that the duo managed to outsell the likes of Mariah Carey and Madonna.

MVRemix managed to catch up with Kim while the boys were doing their thing in Barcelona.

MVRemix: As a child, what did you used to listen to and how did you first get into electronic music?

Kim (The Presets): I was actually thinking about this yesterday. I think the first electronic stuff that I listened to was pop stuff that was on the radio, like Dead or Alive, or anything produced by Stock, Aiken and Waterman. And then most of the stuff that I really listened to was live band sort of stuff I guess after that was Hip Hop; Run DMC and Public Enemy. Actual proper dance and techno wasn't until I was about 17; I started taping mixes off the radio... DJ mixes off the radio, half of it I didn't even know what it was. I started listening to that and eventually started finding out what some of that stuff was and buying it, then going to raves and stuff. But yeah, most of the stuff when I was a kid, especially in the early teens was The Cure, The Clash and Faith No More, obviously Nirvana and stuff like that.

MVRemix: You've mentioned a lot that you use electronic sounds to simulate rock and roll, is the next step to have live instrument versions of your songs?

Kim (The Presets): Well I mean I don't know about that, but we definitely do have a dream of having more people involved in the live show. Definitely in the next sort of development of the band... But whether or not they're emulating the electronic stuff, or it's completely electronic, or some other kind of permutation of that - that's still to be figured out. I guess we go for stuff that's a bit harsher electronically, and we've always liked that sort of stuff from The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. We've never tried to emulate rock stuff; it's more the energy of rock than the actual emulation of rock sound.

MVRemix: Did you have any formal teaching about chord progression and things along those lines, or did you learn it all by experimentation?

Kim (The Presets): Yeah, I went to music high school for Year 11 and 12 and did a bachelor of music at the Conservatorium of Music, so I learned a lot of that sort of stuff. That's where I met Julian [the other Presets member]. Our training was pretty formal and most of that stuff we learned in class, but I guess the stuff that we really loved we learned from listening to music and records and figuring it out. A lot of the stuff that we would go to today would be stuff we've listened to off records, not stuff we've been taught.

MVRemix: How many songs in total were recorded for "Apocalypso," and how many were left on the "cutting room floor"? The Presets interview

Kim (The Presets): There was 11 tunes on the record, and we recorded 13. One became a B-Side and one was completely discarded.

MVRemix: How much time do you spend in Australia these days?

Kim (The Presets): [chuckling] Not much at all. I mean we finished the album in January and left to do our first kind of tour in the UK in February. I'd say we've been back maybe a month or two since then.

MVRemix: If I'm coming to a Presets show, what is it that I'm going to experience that I won't experience simply from listening to your material on CD?

Kim (The Presets): That's hard for me to say. We put a lot of energy into making our music and also we put a lot more energy in... I guess for me personally, playing stuff live is when it really comes alive. There's something about the way that we make music that's really destined to be performed live. Just basically we put the show together in a way that's kind of a bit seamless, as if you were in a club. We try to mix the songs together as if we were a DJ, but we obviously perform our stuff live. I guess everything is just a bit more extreme; the highs and lows... Everything's just a bit more dramatic. I don't know [chuckles] I've never really watched our show; I've always been playing it. So I can only really tell you what it looks like from my point of view.

MVRemix: Which performers inspired you and helped you be able to deliver such a set?

Kim (The Presets): I think just obviously after watching years and years of techno acts and DJ's, we've been really into what they're doing but really sort of bored with the way it looks. A lot of it comes from that, that just trying to make it a bit more satisfying performance wise. I guess the bands that really do it for us are Soulwax and LCD Sound system. They're the sort of acts that have nailed what we consider ourselves to be a part of. For a couple years, we were kind of doing what we did and we only had a limited amount of material so mixing the tunes together wasn't really an option, but then we toured with Soulwax and saw the way that they did it. They did it a lot more differently than us, 'cause they even go so far as to remix their own songs and also play other people's songs while they're playing live. But yeah, just the general concept of what they did was like, "Yeah, this is kind of where we should be at." So yeah, that was definitely the main bands to inspire our live show at the moment.

MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la "Fight Club" - "If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight"?

Kim (The Presets): [ponders] That's tricky. I'm absolutely blanked on that one.

MVRemix: Which celebrity annoys you?

Kim (The Presets): You know what, there are so many celebrities that annoy me but I can't actually think of any right now. That's really terrible; I'm completely drawing a blank. I know I'm gonna fuckin'... I know I'm gonna hang up the phone and say, "Oh my god, I wish I would have said that person!" But [chuckling] I really can't think of anybody right now, and I'm not gonna just say someone for the sake of it. Maybe I can get back to you on that.

MVRemix: What's next musically?

Kim (The Presets): Well we're just touring for the rest of the year and then we'll probably have a break over our [Australian] summer for a month, over December-January. Then we'll probably keep continuing to tour until mid next year, and then we're gonna get stuck into making another record. I guess that's pretty much what's on the agenda timetable-wise. As to what's gonna happen actually creatively, musically, we won't know until we actually get that time to stop what we're doing now and get into it.

MVRemix: Do you ever find time to actually record on the road or is that not an option?

Kim (The Presets): We can do it a little bit on our laptops, but it's pretty much like a B-grade version of what we'd normally do, and it's a very different head space for us to be in. We're used to being in a studio with all of our familiar gear around us and also playing and kind of shutting off... You're in a bubble for however long you're in the studio and when you're on a tour bus and you've got your headphones on, looking at a program and trying to make music without hitting anything [chuckles] - it's a very different thing for us and its been a hard one to get our heads around. But no, we generally don't make music while we're on the road. But we have on the odd occasion.

MVRemix: Any more videos planned from "Apocalypso"?

Kim (The Presets): I think there is, but we're only just starting to talk about that stuff now. There's definitely gonna be another single. I don't know where the states or Canada is at in terms of where the singles are. I think that maybe you're behind Australia. But there's definitely gonna be a fourth single that kind of just got decided on recently and I assume they'll do a video for it.

MVRemix: Any last words?

Kim (The Presets): [chuckling] No, just keep being as fun as you are. We always have the best time in Canada, particularly Montreal. Vancouver's pretty good too, we've played there a few times and there seems to be... I don't know there's something about Canadian's and Australian's that's pretty similar. Sort of a colonial brotherhood...

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