The Presets

The Presets
The Presets

Hello Future

It can be hard work keeping up with the kids these days, as TROY MUTTON discovers from The Presets’ Julian Hamilton ahead of their shows at Capitol Thursday, May 8, and Groovin The Moo, Bunbury, Saturday May 10.

There was a time when bands like this week’s cover act RüFüS weren’t really a part of the Australian musical landscape – it was all pub rock and pop singers until acts like The Presets melded dancefloors and live music so succinctly that Australia is now recognised as one of the world’s most hyped electronic scenes.

So when it comes to discussing acts at opposite ends of the spectrum (one exploding following a killer debut album, the other still banging killer tunes out a decade down the track), it’s an obvious start point for conversation. “Well personally, it certainly feels very different,” considers an upbeat Julian Hamilton, waiting at the studio for partner-in-crime Kim Moyes to arrive and work on some new tracks.

“It’s super exciting, it’s moving so fast and there’s so many talented younger artists coming through… Not even coming through – they’re killing it. Guys like Flume who are just owning it. Or Ta-ku from Perth who I’m a huge fan of, doing amazing things and making cool music.”

Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, it’s an arena Hamilton doesn’t feel entirely apart of. “I guess occasionally when I read something about them or see some of their social media, it does actually feel like a world I’m not part of…  I’m really happy making the music that I make, and playing shows, doing projects and writing songs, you know, my musical life that I live in, I really love that.

“And it’s great and it’s very exciting, but it doesn’t feel the same for me, or like it was when we were coming through. I don’t wanna say it’s easier for kids today to be a musician, I don’t think it is. I think there’s so much more competition now. Whereas when we were starting out, we had a record deal and it was hard to get record deals, so we got a bit of a leg up. But I’m super impressed with the next generation of artists who are coming through.”

Both Hamilton and Moyes have children, and Hamilton openly admits he’s not even on Facebook, but fortunately Moyes has those things covered. “I will say that Kim is probably a bit more up on the social media than I am. I don’t want to make it look like there are two cavemen here. It’s just me,” he laughs.

Regardless of their social media capabilities, 2014 sees The Presets in good form – earlier this year saw the release of certified banger Goodbye Future, and they’ve just hit Groovin The Moo with a revamped live show. “We’re totally redesigning a lot of different things and re-doing the instrumentation as well. We’ve been doing the same show and the same set up for five or six years now, and yeah it’s a real different show, a much more techno-focused show, a lot of electronic instruments on stage, no live drumkit anymore, it’s quite a different thing,” Hamilton explains, adding they’re looking away from the festival stage and back to the club for inspiration.

“I guess club music and dance music is what we’ve always enjoyed and what we’ve been creating over the years. We’re kinda just trying to streamline the show and make it a lot tougher and techno sounding. And we’re really enjoying it.”

And while kids may have kept them out of the nightclubs til the wee hours a bit more than used to be the case, their hearts will forever remain with techno. “We still love techno… Whilst I don’t listen to it as much in nightclubs I still like zipping around in the car listening to it. It’s not the kind of music I put on when I’m cooking dinner obviously, but I still love that kinda music and it’s very inspiring for what we do as The Presets.”

A decade into their career and it’s things like revamping the live show that are keeping the Sydney duo on their toes, along with their upcoming series of shows with the Australian Chamber Orchestra no less, called Timeline, a trip through 42,000 years of music. “It’s weird, we’re working on [both the live show and the ACO shows] at the moment… And it’s very different worlds.

“But I guess for us it’s all music and we really enjoy it all, and the main goal for both projects is to make it entertaining. You know at one of them there’s hopefully gonna be kids dancing around in the mud, and the other one has people in seats listening quietly,” he jests.

Yes Hamilton and Moyes may be getting older and more prone to sitting in seats listening quietly, but the beat doesn’t stop when you’re The Presets…kind of. “It’s looking pretty blank in our calendar at the moment, but that’s just because our manager hasn’t bombarded us with stuff yet. But I know we’re going to be headed on some tours over to Europe and the States in the second half of the year. And there’ll be plenty of new songs and all sorts of bits and pieces. I’m hoping it won’t be just me sitting around doing nothing, I’m pretty sure it won’t be. I won’t be doing social media,” he jokes, before adding, “Maybe I’ll get time to do a crossword or something old school.”