If you mix David Bowie (during his infamous Ziggy Stardust era), with Depeche Mode, and add a twist of Talking Heads, the recipe for result is one of Australiaâ€™s hottest electronic/industrial bands â€“ The Presets.
But, if you ask either band member: Julian Hamilton or Kim Moyes, neither of them will claim any of the aforementioned names to be musical influences; and the bands probably were never even been in their radar to begin with. But, those of you that are familiar with the avant-garde movement of the preceding post-punk bands will most likely appreciate The Presets sci-fi flavor. Coincidentally, their musical influence is deep-rooted in their classical music background, integrated with a passion for electronica.
Their sophomore album, Apocalypso, is set-to-be released on Modular Recordings this coming April. The consensus is that the album will be a must have for all die-hard electronica fans. The video for the debut single, â€œMy People,â€ is like a psychedelic odyssey from a very-low-budget Stanley Kubrick film, and the lyrics to the song are a reflection of their intense but waggish personalities: â€œSo letâ€™s head in your room lovely/Iâ€™ll follow/All around the world for you/And youâ€™ll find out tonight/ Oh itâ€™s a world of extreme.â€
â€œâ€œAll those guys on Ed Banger have kind of, ganged-up together and toured the world. [Itâ€™s as though they] have created a mobile touring disco-party. I think it’s really good for the most part â€“ it’s really smart.â€â€
Format: It seems as though a major of electronic bands in the spotlight are French. For instance, Daft Punk, Justice, and even post-punk bands like The Teenagers. With The Presets being from Australia, a completely different side of the globe, do you kind of, take notice to this, and, what’s your opinion on whatâ€™s happening?
Kim Moyes: We know those guys, they’re our friends. It’s like a full-on conscious, French revolution. Pedro Winter who is Daft Punk’s manager, started Ed Banger records, and maybe not The Teenagers, but all those guys on Ed Banger have kind of, ganged-up together and toured the world. [Itâ€™s as though they] have created a mobile touring disco-party. I guess it’s similar to what happened a few years ago when Daft Punk had broke through[in similar times as Cassius, and Air]. I think it’s really good for the most part â€“ it’s really smart. A lot of people are into it.
Format: Do The Presets place any onus on yourselves where this is concerned, being from Australia and wanting to show that you can rock just as hard as your French counterparts?
Kim Moyes: I guess we’ve always had to do that anyway because we’re so far away from everywhere else. I mean, it’s not that we have to try hard, but [our French counterparts] are just one part [of the music] scene; there’s so much room for other stuff. I guess the most important thing to think about, is that the standard is pretty high. So, if you’re going to take it seriously in any sort of genre of music genre, you just have to, I guess, be kind of good. We don’t worry too much about what [other people] do, we just focus on what we do, and make sure that what we’re doing is good, and our shows are good, and our standard is where we think it should be.
“I guess you go through a point [as youâ€™re growing up], and music means everything, and you learn a lot from it, and then music starts to change, and more quality comes into [your music taste] and then eventually you’re doing your own thing.â€
Format: If you could incorporate a different style of music all together into your sound, what would you like to experiment with and why?
Kim Moyes: I don’t know. It’s sort of hard. I don’t think we consciously even think about our style, itâ€™s just what we know and basically like. A lot of the times when you go to write a song, you think about trying to do it in a certain style, but it comes out to be completely different to what you initially would expect. So as much as I understand and appreciate that kind of question, I’ve kind of given up on that. [Mainly] because of, just too many years of ‘Okay, let’s doing this sort of song.’ Then a couple of days later, it’s completely different.
Format: I’ll take a chance and I’ll tie this into my next question then. If you look at a good example of what Iâ€™m trying to illustrate, look at Kanye West and Daft Punk collaborating, so, hip-hop and electronic coming together, essentially. For The Presets, what would you consider to be the ultimate collaboration?
Kim Moyes: That’s a hard one, because, I think we spend most of our time thinking about ourselves and not [so much] other people, weâ€™re sort of like, trying to shed their influences. It kind of goes against what we do. We like other bands, but we really are conscious of trying to forge our own thing [on to the scene]. I guess there are a lot of bands that sort of, start out like fans [of other bands] first and foremost, and a lot of the music they [may] do really is conscious of the bands that they like. Whereas, we like a lot of bands, but we find that more and more, we’re not [really] listening to music [in general] like we use to, because we’re not trying to dilute [our sound]. You know what I mean? [We want to] become more and more individual.
Format: It looks as though as you progress, especially when youâ€™re an artist trying to create, you find that you have to do stuff like that. Like, not listen to a lot of music, or watch TV, because you’re trying to cultivate your own sound.
Kim Moyes: Yeah. It’s almost like, not that much stuff really turns you on after a while you know? I guess you go through a point [as youâ€™re growing up], music means everything and you learn a lot from it, and then music starts to change, and more quality comes into [your music taste] and then eventually you’re doing your own thing. When [making music] starts to become a full-time job, it’s hard, because you’re doing music, you’re playing it [on the constant] and then on your down time, the last thing you wanna do is go put a CD on! You probably want to go read a book [or something]. When you start to really get into making music; you start to take it apart. Like, a chef doesn’t want to make a meal, and then sit down right away to eat it. You know what I mean?
Format: Has something ever happened to you, where youâ€™re, like, reading a book, or watching a movie, and then all of a sudden something pops into your head in correlation to what you’ve read or seen? Has it actually transpired it into a song?
Kim Moyes: Not really. I’d like to say yes, and there have been heaps of instances where something has inspired us, but I can’t actually give you one example in particular really. [Sometimes we have been inspired] watching movies. You know, you [feel like you] can actually finish [it] if you had like, a computer or something. You’d probably write a whole song. But yeah, that kinda ties into what we were talking about before, when you actually try to sit down to do something, it always turns out opposite to what you were trying to achieve.
Format: Thatâ€™s true. I came across some information that I want you to clarify. Apparently, in the past, you refused to DJ somewhere because of your â€œdistaste for Rock & Roll?â€ What’s that all about?
Kim Moyes: (laughs) There’s this kid who I kinda, took under my wing for a bit who was in high school and had to do work experience. I was producing a band. He was sort of, a friend of a friend friend, and he wanted to get into music. He came down to the studio a couple of times, and [he was supposed to] make the coffee and stuff. So, he comes down, and you know how on Wikipedia you can like, change anyone’s information? Yeah, he
did that for me. But something pretty similar to that had happened, but it wasn’t how he said it.
â€œIf you’re writing a song on a piano that’s one thing, but how you turn that into something that’s from outer space with just recording it, just by choosing sounds and using effects [is another].â€
It was when I was asked to DJ on this really tragic rock night. A few years ago, there was a little bit of a rock revival. Everyone wanted to put on an indie-rock night, and they would get bands to play, and DJ’s from bands to play. So I was lucky enough to be the DJ for this one night. I got up and I started playing this track disco track, and these people were running behind the disco booth and me screaming me saying ‘Play AC/DC! Play Rock & Roll!’ So, I basically picked up my records and said ‘I’m not going to sit here and take this shit.’ I guess when people get drunk they kinda loose their minds a bit. I definitely don’t have distaste for Rock & Roll, I actually really like it.
Format: I grew up listening to many forms of electronic music, but I also find the sub-genres can consist of a very â€“ monotonous sound. You are both classical-trained musicians, but music in general, is about experimenting. When making the transition into electronic music, was there any apprehension?
Kim Moyes: It was different, especially where the initial attraction came from. Obviously with our musical background in terms of harmony and melody you know, how the relationships are nursed, and even the history of music [itâ€™s ecclesiastical]. But when you’re talking about electronic music, a lot of it is almost completely devoid of that, and that makes for a really interesting sound world. It’s all been a really attractive thing to us, like synthesizers and the other worldliness of sounds that you can get from these machines and I guess just even the recording process. If you’re writing a song on a piano that’s one thing, but how you turn that into something that’s from outer space with just recording it, just by choosing sounds and using effects [is another]. So, it’s just sort of felt like a natural progression to complete our musical world by getting into that. When I was in [school] we didn’t start messing around with equipment and stuff until later on when we would do some composition courses and we actually had access to all that gear. It wasn’t a hard transition to make; it was just the next step. Like, once we’d done all that traditional stuff, it was like ‘Ok, so let’s get into the way that people are doing it today.’ I guess if Mozartâ€™s was still alive todayâ€¦
Format: He’d probably be into that too!
Kim Moyes: Yeah quite frankly. You know what I mean?
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