Sydney electronic duo The Presets set a new standard every time they release an album.
From Beams (2005) to Apocalypso (2008) and Pacifica (2012), Kim Moyes and Julian Hamilton have proven time and time again that they aren’t afraid to mix up their sound.
And as a live act, this “dance music” duo is without peer.
"When we don’t play for a while we feel a little dusty, like we need to brush off the cobwebs."Kim Moyes
But their fourth studio album is proving to be a headache. It has been four years in the making but is still very much a work in progress, Moyes tells Weekender.
“With the first two records we didn’t think too much about it and just let it happen,” he explains.
“With the third record we felt a lot more pressure because of the success of Apocalypso. We also put pressure on ourselves because a lot of dance music can be quite generic and we were trying to think of ways to do it differently.”
They are pushing themselves even harder this time around.
“We’re hoping to make something very visceral and very fun but for the first 18 months of working on the album we found that we were making very melancholic electro-pop,” Moyes says.
“It was kind of dour and very beautiful but too overly emotional and it was just pouring out of us. It was almost to the point where we thought we had to purge this for a while before we could get to the music that we really felt like we should be making.
“We did put a lot of pressure on ourselves, I guess, but you know what’s going to happen? We will release this album after, like, four years and then two weeks later someone on Instagram will be like ‘When’s the next one?’.”
Playing back-to-back festival gigs for the rest of 2017 might help to get the creative juices flowing. As Moyes says, it is where their music “comes to life the most”.
“We’ve always tried to create an environment for people to let themselves go and really enjoy themselves. When we don’t play for a while we feel a little dusty, like we need to brush off the cobwebs.”
Newcastle fans will be able to see The Presets in their element at This That Festival on November 4. The line-up also includes Zeds Dead, Alison Wonderland, Tash Sultana, The Preatures, Thundamentals, Carmada, Motez, Paces, Elk Road, Luude, Crooked Colours, Winston Surfshirt and Hucci.
This That prides itself on its food offerings and organisers say “there won’t be a dodgy Dagwood Dog in sight”. Instead, there will be Japanese street food, curated cocktails, small batch breweries and wineries. Newcastle’s Hunt & Gather market will also be on-site.
In addition to chill-out zone “The Other” is The Imaginarium, which is described as “part dance party, part art gallery and part cinema”. The Imaginarium combines Ribongia’s energetic live instrumentation and musical prowess with EGO’s surreal production and audio-visual performance. It debuted at Tasmania’s Faux Mo, Mona Foma, earlier this year.
Moyes, who has performed at Coachella twice, and at Glastonbury, loves the festival vibe.
“It’s a place for people to gather and combine and share their energy and the music amplifies it,” he says.
In the meantime, though, the pair will continue to work on that elusive fourth album.
“If all things go to plan we’d really love to see it out next year,” Moyes says.
“Every album you make has such a different feel, not just the material but everything around it. The time spent working on it has been so different from any of our other albums and it becomes frustrating but you’ve just got to give in to it. It’s got its own sense of time.”