The Presets’ latest tour will be their first dedicated national sojourn since traversing the countryside in 2009 on the back of the duo’s 2008 hit record, Apocalypso.
Since then, Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes have appeared at the odd festival and trotted their way all over the world. But a break was needed, a decision made all the more easy by the fact that they both became parents. “Yeah, we are both new dads, relatively speaking, and we had been touring pretty much nonstop for six years, so we had holidays,” says Moyes.
Artists being artists (and restless to boot), their sabbatical afforded the pair just enough time to switch off before new ideas began to form for their third record, Pacifica.
“We started thinking about where we wanted to go with this and came back fired up,” says Moyes.
“We knew deep down that we needed to move forward with this project and given the current climate that we were in then, and now, in terms of dance music and the popularity of things like EDM (Electronic Dance Music) we were really conscious that we had to do something more, and different,” he says.
Explaining how he and Hamilton felt like they were “kings of their domain” there for a while post-Apocalypso, breaking down new sonic barriers for their current project was nonetheless a little daunting at first.
“We wanted to push it a little bit further and by doing that we found a new palette of sounds that spoke to both of us,” says Moyes. “And with just the two in the band this takes a little bit more work, but we collected a mass of 20 songs we thought were really good and then shortlisted, cut them, and the rest made it to the album,” he adds.
It’s all new material here too, with The Presets writing and recording with a renewed sense of resolution. There are changes in direction, tempo, lyrics and the actual delivery of lyrics by Hamilton, while Moyes’ dexterity on a number of instruments hisses through.
From the soul-tinged It’s Cool to Ghosts (a track composed by Hamilton about fatherhood), the sound of this new material tends to be quite varied in comparison to anything the pair has recorded previously.
“It’s Cool was kind of soulful and downbeat and was written in 2010 around the time when Julian was a new father, and the song was in the ‘dropzone’ between putting his kid to bed and it’s very much in that parental sort of sentiment lyrically,” he says.
So it’s more a lullaby than a loose electro-jam? “Yeah and even a bit creepy in term of its mood,” quips Moyes. “But I think that’s more to do with just how we make music.
Ghosts, meanwhile, is a song that is shaped by a motley patchwork of influences. From merengue (a style of Dominican music and salsa) and hints of a street dance style called ‘footwork’ from Chicago, it’s complemented by Hamilton’s sea-shanty styled vocals.
The Presets didn’t want to turn their backs on all that they had realised thus far, but knew they had to be progressive in a saturated market and convey “something that no one else was delivering” – sales and charts being the furthest things from their minds.
“It was all about the quality and maintaining certain standards that would help us in reaching longevity in our career,” says Moyes.
And of the tour that the band are about to embark on? “We are keen to get stuck into it,” urges Moyes. “Obviously playing our own shows is a bit different to festivals – we can play longer sets and take the audience on a little bit more of a journey of sorts.”
The Presets play February 11 & 12 at the Enmore Theatre.
Tour dates: thepresets.com
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