Duo still do it their way
Marching to the beat of their own drum has been the secret to surviving 15 years at the top of their game for Aussie electro dance pop outfit The Presets.
“Our MO (modus operandi) has always been to just make music we like,” the duo’s Julian Hamilton tells Insider.
“We have years of stuff we want to make. I guess we’ve never really followed the styles of the day too strongly. We never made a trap album and we never made a dub step album. We’ve always just tried to make Presets albums so maybe that is why we have still got some kind of career.”
The Presets — Hamilton and Kim Moyes — released their fourth studio album, Hi Viz, on Friday. It is a “high energy house party” album.
“It has never been hard to keep things fresh,” explains Hamilton, 41.
“We love making music and we are full of ideas, that is the easy part. I guess the hard part is finishing stuff. Usually we make too much content. There’s 60 versions of what we want and we could probably release a triple album of that one song if we wanted to. Coming up with the ideas is the easiest part.”
The pair met in 1995 as students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music but The Presets didn’t become an official thing until 2003.
They’ve since earned themselves seven ARIA Awards from the previous three albums — Beams, Apolcalypso and Pacifica — and are regarded as leaders in electronic dance music.
Hamilton has also worked on side projects, including with Daniel Johns on Silverchair’s Young Modern album, as well as artists The Sleepy Jackson and Bluejuice.
More collaborations are likely.
“I love collabs because every time I’m in a room with Daniel (Johns) or Flight Facilities or Flume or Dan Sultan or Megan Washington or whoever, I always learn so much,” Hamilton says.
A run of shows is in the works to support the release of Hi Viz, including a stop at the Enmore Theatre on June 23. A trip for shows in the United States is also on the cards for September.
Live shows, Hamilton explains, is where the music comes to life.
“We can spend weeks and months and even years making records in the studio but it doesn’t really come to life until we are on the stage where there is light and flashing strobes and it is sweaty and people are having a great time,” says Hamilton, who has two children with SBS news reader Janice Petersen.
Asked about the recent death of Swedish DJ Avicii, Hamilton says he understands how the industry can be overwhelming.
Avicii, real name Tim Bergling, had battled personal demons and took his own life at the age of 28 in April.
“If you are a young act and you blow up and suddenly you’ve got a team of 20 people around you and you don’t know where your passport is and you don’t know how to buy clothes because you’ve got stylists and you are playing to huge crowds every night with adoring fans, it is not good for the brain,” Hamilton says.
“Thankfully it didn’t really affect us in that way because we came to it a bit later but I see it all the time where you see them go nuts and it is really hard when you see things slow down for those bands or those DJs.
“You’ve got to have a pretty strong sense of self to negotiate the highs and lows and sideways turns that a music career can take.”
THE PRESETS’ HI VIZ IS OUT NOW
Kim Moyes (left) and Julian Hamilton.