CS EXCLUSIVE | Interview with The Presets
The Presets really need no introduction. The duo of Kim Moyes and Julian Hamilton have been pioneering their innovative brand of electronic music in their home country and all across the world throughout the past decade. It's gained them numerous accolades and an incredibly devoted fan base, all for good reason. From their stellar debut Beams, to the ARIA-winning Apocolypso, to the game-changing Pacifica, we can always expect complete originality and a creative perspective from their work.
A couple of weeks ago they kicked off their Check Yo Ponytail US tour alongside acts Chela, Le1f, Antwon, and CYP founder Franki Chan. Equipped with a new live show and celebrating their 10 year anniversary together with 10 years of IHEARTCOMIX, we're promised nothing short of amazing. Though the tour comes to a close this week, with their final run of shows in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, there's still time to catch the show. So if you haven't picked up tickets for tomorrow, November 13th, at the Warfield in SF yet, get on board here.
We were fortunate enough to have the chance to sit down with 1/2 of The Presets, Kim Moyes, ahead of the tour for a quick chat. As longtime fans of the duo, this was a huge honour, and we can't thank Kim enough for taking the time. Catch our exclusive conversation below, highlighting their fight to stay original in the current electronic landscape, the concept behind that awesome 'No Fun' Cube, crazy touring stories and more. We've also provided the brilliant ORAX remix of No Fun to soundtrack your read, and of course, don't forget to put on an Aussie accent while Kim's talking.
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Caveman Sound: So, you're in Sydney at the moment?
Kim: I am in Sydney right now, yeah. Just gone for my morning run, getting ready to start the day!
CS: Very nice, well let's get into it! You guys are celebrating your 10 year anniversary of The Presets this year, clearly a huge milestone, how has your approach to creating music shifted from the early days of Beams to what you’re making now?
K: Yeah, that's tricky to answer. You know, I think we're still really dealing with the same kinds of things we're trying to achieve with our music. Maybe we've got a little bit more equipment or we've got a bit more production, or more maturity — but essentially we're still trying to do the same thing and refine it even more.
Certainly these days it seems harder to make the music that we want to make, than it did back in the day (laughs). I think how we approached things back in 2003/2004 we were just kind of learning our production and had so much enthusiasm and energy, and making a track seemed to come together relatively easily. Now these days, the landscape with electronic music, it's so easy and accessible for people to make so it's hard to find the little nook or place for yourself to exist where it's only you, that it's original. So I guess we're pushing ourselves a lot harder these days to stay in our own world.
CS: Do you think it's more difficult to create now because of how established you are? Is there more pressure?
K: Definitely. I would like to say no, that it doesn't matter, but it totally does. There's lot's of things to consider I mean...one day we might wake up and not want to go write a banger. But to know that we're performing a banger at our show is what people want to see, you know, it's really what we've built our career around. So, yeah, there's that.
CS: Let's talk about the ‘No Fun’ cube you guys created in collaboration with Google Play earlier this year. We couldn’t get enough of it. How did you come up with the concept?
K: It was really simple. It was kind of more about a collaboration with the guys from Google here in Australia. We'd been talking with them for years about doing some kind of project, and then they approached us with this idea to do this six-sided music video, and it just happened to coincide with us getting No Fun off the ground. It just worked out that it would be the perfect little match. So, the actual concept of the six-sided video was from the Google creative team here, of course we provided the music, and we actually found the director who directed all of the videos, Barnaby Roper, who was someone we were really keen on collaborating with over the last year but the timing never worked out. So we approached him with this idea and he was really excited...it gave him the chance to make these six videos, which didn't need to be fully-fledge music videos in their own right but just an idea for each side, so it gave him a lot more freedom.
CS: Yeah, it was a very different way to approach absorbing a track from a listeners perspective.
K: Yeah, no definitely. I've been surprised how much people have gotten out of it (laughs). You know at first they did a sort of mock-up, to sort of show what they had in mind for the actual cube...this really rough version, with like a dude playing a trombone, and a guy rapping and a girl singing, and this other dude beat-boxing or something, and we were sort of thinking "what are we doing..." (laughs). But once we got a good direction, with music that made sense and the elements of No Fun on there, it was a lot more interesting than we could have hoped.
It's a funny sort of thing, the internet, what it breeds. I guess the most exciting thing is what people will do with it, you know, take the technology or platform and develop something even further out of it. But who knows, maybe no one will even touch it!
CS: Speaking of visuals, we hear you’ve got a new stage setup for your live shows. Can you tell us a bit about it, and the importance of the experience for your audience?
K: Yeah, we put together a new live show for a tour we did hear in Australia a few months back. We sort of rejigged the actual instrumentation and presentation of the music. And we also got a brand new lighting set up, which is a series of hexagons that sit in front and behind us, all controlled with video and lights. It's pretty interesting, so we'll be bringing that rig over with us for this tour in the US.
It's very important for us on some of the bigger stages, you know if you doing larger venues or festivals, you need to have a production element or lighting element to be able to have impact and reach the whole audience. But we find that sometimes with little shows it can be more dramatic and exciting to have very little production. But it depends you know, it can also be amazing to have like, a full on festival rig inside of a 1,600 capacity room.
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CS: On the subject, you’re about to kick off the Check Yo Ponytail tour. We read that you played one of their first parties back in 2006, which was around the same that Beams was released?
K: Yeah it was, we played the very first Check Yo Ponytail in LA, I think. And yeah! That was great, it obviously a long time ago. Beams came out in Australia in September 2005, and was sort of staggered as it came out throughout the rest of the world over the next year. So in 2006 we ended up leaving Australia for four months, and just hopping back an fourth between UK, Europe, and the States and just kind of grabbing whatever tour we could get onto. We ended up getting on some great tours.
The first one was with Soulwax through the UK, and then we bounced over to the States and did the Ladytron tour, and then we went back over to the UK and we did The Rapture and then The Rapture took us back to the States. And then in between that we kind of just did whatever we got offered (laughs), which meant some crazy things. Like I remember once we played a show in LA, then the next morning we flew to Berlin and we played a show there, then the day after that we flew back to San Francisco to play Folsom Street Fair (laughs). It was A LOT of that, just crazy. But yeah, the Check Yo Ponytail gig was in the midst of all that, so forgive me if the details are a bit foggy!
CS: Obviously you guys have built a great relationship over the years, what does it mean to be headlining the anniversary tour?
K: We've done a lot of shows with IHEARTCOMIX and Frankie Chan, he's just one of those guys that we have a healthy relationship with so we keep coming back. He's got so much enthusiasm and really loves doing what he does, he's a real lifer. It's great to know that he's still doing it, we're still doing it, and people are still interested in that!
CS: You guys are stopping through San Francisco during the tour, what's your favorite thing about playing in the city?
K: Oh well, we have to mate! San Francisco is like our second home!
Our favorite thing about playing in San Francisco, is the drive from the airport to the city. It's hell. When you need to put yourself through some kind of punishment, just drive at peak hour from SFO to downtown...(laughs)
Yeah no, San Francisco was one of the first places that really embraced us. Like I said before, we've played at the Folsom Street Fair a couple of times. There was also a group of people over there when we first started touring who really took us on board. I don't know what it is, just everytime we play there it's really great, we can't get back there often enough.
CS: Great to hear! Last question for you, you’ve put out two new singles this year, Goodbye Future and No Fun, does this mean we can assume there’s a new album in the works?
K: Yeah we're actually in the studio right now working on our new record. It won't be ready until next year, but yes, there's definitely a new album in works. Like all our albums, they're kind of different from each other, so this one's going to be it's own distinct flavor. You'll just have to wait and see!
We'd like to say a heartfelt thanks to The Presets for taking the time to chat with us. Stay in touch with all they've got going on below.