Duo still do it their way

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER -

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.”


Kim Moyes (left) and Ju­lian Hamil­ton.

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