Flicking through the alphabetised racks of your local CD emporium you’ll find that releases from Australian electro wizards The Presets fit snugly between Pet Shop Boys and Elvis Presley. Could there be some weird universal synergy to this? The strident beat of the heart and the swagger of the hips: it’s at this musical cross point of emotive technological peaks and primal caveman rock that one finds The Presets.
In 2008 The Presets (Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes) came rocketing back into the fray with their sophomore album, Apocalypso. Ranging from expansive, emotive techno, to future pagan house and choral space funk, Apocalypso demonstrated the band’s undeniably canny knack for welding hook-laden pop to some of the most singular and exciting sounds of tomorrow.
In less than four years Julian Hamilton (vocals, programming and keys) and Kim Moyes (drums, programming and keys) worked their way up and out though the musical quagmire of Sydney’s club scene to become Australia’s foremost proponents of twisted electronic pop. They’re now one of the most talked about and in-demand live acts today with a catalogue of dance smashes to their name.
Julian and Kim had first met a decade earlier as tearaway students at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music: by day they were battling Beethoven, by night sweating it out in seedy clubs to the strains of New Order, Bjork and The Smiths. They’d also collaborated in the largely experimental band Prop, specialising in highly impractical exotic instrumentation and non-vocal excursions in noodle.
Signed in 2003 to Australia’s Modular Recordings (on the strength of demos which became their debut EP, the dark ‘Blow Up’) The Presets planted seeds throughout their hometown Sydney scene, which within 18 months began to reach germination internationally.
Things warmed up substantially for The Presets with subsequent releases ‘Girl And The Sea EP’ (2004), and their full-length long player Beams (2005), which spawned the dance floor monsters ‘Down Down Down’, ‘Are You The One?’ and ‘I Go Hard, I Go Home’.
So began two years of non-stop touring. From playing to clubs kids in Barcelona, New York and Istanbul, then to thousands of S&M leather daddies at the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, to over one hundred thousand people at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and every imaginable key festival in-between, Julian and Kim have covered almost every corner of the globe with their take no prisoners live show.
Along the way the band has remixed and been remixed by many of the modern dance music alumni. Additionally songs were picked up for use in hit TV programs such as The OC, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York as well as appearing on dozens of compilations.
All the touring, the music they’ve heard, the people they’ve met along the way, the parties and the tears, the trials and tribulations have borne their sophomore release, Apocalypso.
‘My People’, is clearly a call to arms party, and unmistakably Presets in its sentiment. Tracks such as ‘Anywhere’ and the new single ‘This Boy’s In Love’ are clean hits of pure, emotive techno that blossom with Technicolor ecstasy in their choruses. ‘Talk Like That’ and shoots straight for the pop heart while ‘My People’ and ‘Kicking and Screaming’ aim squarely for the dance-floor jugular. These unabashedly sharp pop songs are offset with tracks like ‘A New Sky’ and, which nudges the balance of the record ever so slightly towards a more abstract future utopia.
Apocalypso trips across a cosmos of sound, and self-assuredly succeeds in its ability traverse the belting soundsystems of the clubs of the world while also sounding like liquid moonjuice coming out of the speakers in your lounge room.
Apocalypso has taken Australia, and the world by storm. Accolades for the band and the album include six ARIA Awards (Album of The Year, Band of The Year, Best Dance Act, Best Video, Best Artwork), Triple J Network’s Album of The Year, the inaugural SMAC Awards Album of The Year,APRA’s Songwriters of the Year, Best Video for ‘If I Know You’ at the UK Video Awards as well as Triple Platinum Sales in Australia for ‘Apocalypso’, Double Platinum for ‘My People’, Platinum for ‘Talk Like That’ and Gold for ‘This Boy’s In Love’.