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Chatting With The Kings Of Australian Electronic Music: The Presets


Chatting With The Kings Of Australian Electronic Music: The Presets

Harrison Schultz

In the midst of Australia’s exuberant music scene, brilliant acts are constantly popping up and blowing our minds. Several years back one act rose up and did more than just blow minds, they changed the electronic music scene in Australia forever! The Presets over the last few years have shied away from the spotlight as they tackled other projects, recently however, they began their return to the top and we couldn’t refuse the chance to have a vocalist Julian Hamilton!

It’s been a while since you’ve put any new music out and since you last ventured down to SA, what have you guys been up to since during this ‘hiatus’?

Yeah golly gosh, it’s been years hasn’t it! I reckon the last time we were there we would have been with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, goodness that must’ve been 3 years ago. We’ve been working on another album very slowly and taking our time with that which has been nice, we’ve been touring, we did tours overseas, we did other projects, Kim's been producing other bands, I’ve been writing other tracks for dance works, we’ve been doing lots of bits and pieces.

You’re going to be at Wine Machine in South Australia on December 9th, I’ve gotta ask, what was the enticing factor that got you there?

It was just a good gig, a good opportunity at the right time. We get offered a lot of gigs all the time and often they’re not really the right time or the right place or they’re not corresponding to what we’re doing. Now we’ve got an album we’re starting to do shows again so it seemed like the right time to come down and do another festival in Adelaide.


Have you spent much time in any of South Australia’s wine country before?

Not a great deal, my girlfriend-my partner used to work at the ABC in Adelaide so I spent a lot of time down there many, many years ago and we used to do little day trips down to McLaren Vale and places like that.

Last year people raved about the festival being intimate and have a great chilled out vibe, what’s the best thing about playing more intimate style shows?

We sort of tailer our shows to suit whatever the hell the situation is that presents itself in front of us. One day it might be playing a small nightclub to 100 people in South America somewhere, another day it might be playing to 40,000 people in a cricket ground in Australia. So, we just try and set up to play and adapt our performance to whatever is in front of us.

With new music in the works, will we be hearing any of that at Wine Machine?

I hope so, we’re definitely working on new material now so it’d be lovely to play some new material there…. Fingers crossed.

Will the new music be similar to the older stuff or will it be going down a new path?

Uh, no it won’t be (down a new path), but you know every album is a different album and different to the one before. Certainly, we’re really enjoying making some full throttled party music and I guess that’s a general vibe for some of the material on the record. We’ve really been having fun making that.

You guys are veterans of the Australian electronic dance-music scene, what inspired you both to create The Presets and jump into the music industry in the first place?

Oh gosh that’s a good question and that’s a long time ago as well. Tim and I have been making music now for, golly gosh, 20 years..over 20 years now and The Presets about 13 of those years. I guess when we started we wanted to make music that was dance music but sort of had an element of rock ‘n’ roll (so) to make really punchy club rock ‘n’ roll music. We were really inspired by The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and some of those kinda bands that make hard hitting but still groovy kinda club music, thankfully 13 years later we’re still able to do it.

Over those 13 years could you narrow down a few top moments for me?

Um, some of the more obvious ones, the times playing really big festivals or the first time we sold out a 300 seat venue, when we were first starting that was a big deal! Funnily enough I remember that Adelaide was a really tough nut to crack. At one point we played to 5 people and you know for a while there we sort of wondered, why do we keep coming to Adelaide? It’s so hard, no one really wants to come and see us. Then one year I can’t remember exactly what year it was, we headlined the Fringe Festival opening party and it changed, there were thousands and thousands of people there just going berserk and some kids were throwing solos (bins) around and getting in the solo bins and crowd surfing, it was mad! I think back to that show as a total highlight, that was the night that we finally broke Adelaide. Sometimes it (top moments) are just working in the studio and you get a new bass line or you solve a problem with a high-hat part, they can be highlights to, you know what I mean! So, there’s lots of different highlights to have along the way, it’s really been a career filled with many highlights I’m really happy to say.

With new music comes music videos and in the past The Presets have had a few amazing videos! Where has the musical inspiration for these been drawn?

I guess there’s some bands out there, it might not really be a music video thing but more a visual aesthetic, they take their visuals very seriously and have a lot of fun with the look, whether its videos, stage design or promo shots, all that kinda stuff. So, I think people like Daft Punk obviously, Apex Twin or The Knife, there’s some bands out there with some really amazing visual aesthetic and we try and hopefully do the same thing in our own weird Presets way.

One last thing before I leave you to it, it’s been great to see you guys supporting the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign on Facebook. What inspired you to want to put your voice out there?

Well partly because it’s just the right thing to do. We believe in marriage equality and we just want to get behind and support. We’re terribly disheartened by a government who simply refuses to do the right thing. The role of the government is to do this stuff for us, they’re supposed to do the right thing on our behalf, it’s our government, we vote for them and when they don’t, it’s terribly disheartening. (So now) We’re in this position with this survey vote, so we’re trying to get out there and encourage people to vote yes.

Thanks so much for your chat mate, we can’t wait to see you guys return to South Oz and play Wine Machine, it’s going to be great!

For everything Presets hit up their Facebook!

For Wine Machine tickets, get 'em whilst they're hot right HERE

Header image sourced: The Presets Facebook