INTERVIEW: The Presets

Published in The Music (WA) | 11.12.13 | Issue # 18



As they evolve into the “grandfathers” of Australian electronica, The Presets are more concerned with releasing music for themselves rather than sales figures or awards. Daniel Cribb listens to the wise words of drummer Kim Moyes ahead of their appearance at Rotto Live.

It’s been a year since The Presets released their third record, Pacifica, and since then, drummer Kim Moyes has spent most of his time in dark studios, producing numerous records. With summer approaching, he’s looking for any opportunity to venture out and replenish his vitamin D, especially considering the two-piece are looking at getting serious about their fourth record next year. “I’ve never been to Rottnest Island and I’ve got a dear old friend from Perth who was my first housemate, he was always talking about it and I’m keen to check it out. We’re keen to get back to WA and do some shows,” Moyes says on the band’s Rotto Live appearance.

Although Moyes and vocalist Julian Hamilton are starting to write their new record, he isn’t willing to give any insight into the direction of the new record, but by the sounds of things, it may be because they’re not too sure themselves. “We’re sort of making more upbeat party stuff at the moment and I think we’re just enjoying that at this minute,” he tells.

They’ve managed to reinvent themselves with each of their three records, to the point where they almost sounds like a completely different act. Moyes confirms album number four will follow a similar trend. Once you’re done with something, you want to move on and just try the next thing, and whatever it is you need to get out of your system – like what we needed to get out of our system for Beams or Apocalypso or Pacifica – you look back at the album previously or the album you’ve just done and you think, ‘Right, I’ve gotten that done, what’s next’, while still trying to stay true to whatever the framework of the band is that you’re in. I think that’s the reason why no two albums sound alike, unless you’re AC/DC.”

Their debut record, 2005’s Beams, not only put them on the map, but was also certified Gold. It was three years later when they released Apocalypso, which went triple Platinum, when they become one of Australia’s biggest acts, so when it came time to pen a follow-up, the pair found themselves shrouded in pressure. “I think we felt there was a lot of pressure to deliver something of an equal standard. I think the scene around the time when we were making Pacifica was heading into a much noisier world, which we couldn’t really follow, so I think we were just trying to stay true to ourselves, make a record that we felt was of a high standard and also something that was not really expected.

Pacifica was just a hard album to make because of that added invisible pressure, which we shouldn’t worry about, but you can’t help it. While Pacifica hasn’t reached the same sales as Apocolypso, it certainly hasn’t done too badly; it’s certified Gold and I think we’re happy. Lots of fans out there like it, but as I said earlier, you can’t please everybody.”

Having taken a side step from the norm with Pacifica, that weight was lifted, which sees an excitement brewing within the pair as they approach album number four. “We’re more concerned with whether or not we’re going to like it, or is it legit; are we actually saying something that is sincere, are we actually saying something from the heart, and I think our struggles and our fears are more directed towards us making legitimate music. We want people to enjoy our music, and we don’t want to alienate anybody.”

Having thrown away the expectation of accolades for their work – no doubt they will still receive plenty – and not concerning themselves with what the rest of the industry is doing, The Presets are in a unique place. “I guess we’ll fit into the scene like grandfathers fit into a family; we’re getting older, we’re no longer fresh faces and we just keep doing what we do. I don’t think we’ve ever been concerned about fitting into a scene or any scene as such – when we started the scene was Jet and Wolfmother and The Strokes and all that sort of retro rock, and we were the odd ones out and then all of a sudden, electronic music exploded and we were no longer the odd ones out, for a moment there, we were very much the mainstream.

“I don’t really know what the scene is, I don’t really care what the scene is. The scene’s always going to be changing anyway and we’re just going to keep doing what we do and try to deliver high standards each time and hopefully people still want to pay attention to us.”

Daniel Cribb