Presets to play Newcastle Panthers

REWIND to 2008 and Sydney duo The Presets were the definition of Australian dance music.

Songs like My People, This Boy’s in Love and Talk Like That became anthems, blasted from car stereos, played on TV and in pubs and clubs everywhere. 

So much so that the boys – Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes – even grew a little tired of their self-described ‘‘in your face’’ music, taking time away from relentless recording and touring to make music their own way.

In 2012 they released their much-anticipated third album, Pacifica, which shows off a more mature, varied sound. 

Next month the duo hit the road for their first national tour in five years.

You went to Byron Bay before making Apocalypso. Did you get away to write Pacifica?

This album was made entirely in Sydney. We’re both parents now so we can’t really pack up our studios and waltz off to the Byron Bay hinterland and make records any more. 

We’ve got to pick up kids from pre-school and all that sort of stuff.

Was the four-year gap between the records a conscious decision, or a consequence of having other responsibilities?

I think it was probably a bit of both. Even since Beams [2005 debut album] we hadn’t really stopped doing the touring and album cycle and the Apocalypso thing was really hectic. We kind of felt like we were really in everyone’s faces almost to the point of being annoying, so it was a little bit of a conscious decision to take our time with this record. And also we’ve never really had the luxury to do that before.

We were really into the idea of just going back to the drawing board and making music for the hell of it and not making singles or albums. From then on we naturally built up our speed of working and then it got to a point where we really wanted to get something together and it just materialised.

It’s not as easy as that sounds, we had other things on in our lives as well, but these things just take as long as they take. We could have squeezed out an album much earlier than we did, but I just don’t think what we had we were that proud of it. So we waited until we got to a stage where we were really comfortable with what we had.

Pacifica has more subtle vibe than Apocalypso. Why so?

The musical climate we were in for Apocalypso and from about 2007 was really aggressive, kind of brutal dance music and not subtle at all and I think when we finished that album there were some acts where it was becoming ridiculous from our point of view. Then we started to get interested in things that were a little bit more soulful like deep house and just music that’s groovier and not music that is constantly beating you over the head and demanding your attention.

That sort of music is great and really flies off the page but this album and the music that we made is more inviting. You have to really want to get into it. We’re proud of it and we like it, I’m not sure if we’ll make this sort of album again but it was definitely the album we needed to make for this time.

Was the approach different to recording Pacifica?

It was totally different in a few senses. For the previous albums we were working in little bedroom studios and on laptops. Whereas for this one we built our own studios and bought new gear for recording and new machines for making music.

We tried a few different things. We spent a few months trying really experimental things and seeing what we could get out of thinking differently. I think it somehow released whatever our perception of ourselves was and we were able to make Pacifica.

Did you wonder how the songs on Pacifica would be received by crowds?

 Yeah, yeah totally. I think we always try to make music that has a little bit of participation element to it and I think when we did the Parklife tour [in October] the album was really new and I was quite surprised how well people knew the music even then. Recently we got to play at a little concert at the Australian Open and even having six months under our belt, the difference from Parklife to now – they really knew the songs and were doing all these actions [laughs]. So we’re really looking forward to this Aussie tour.

The Presets play Newcastle Panthers February 10 with support from Parachute Youth and Light Year. Tickets at oztix.com.au and moshtix.com.au.

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