Four years have lapsed since Australian electronic dance duo The Presets last released a record. In the time since 2008’s Apocalypso went three-times platinum in their native land, both drummer-keyboardist Kim Moyes and singer-keyboardist Julian Hamilton became fathers.
Understandably, the two now have less time to work on music or even be active in the club scene that spawned the band. Moyes and Hamilton met in 1995 while studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The Presets were formed after the two realized they shared a darker edge of electronic music.
Their third collection of songs, Pacifica, was released a few weeks ago. Moyes took some time out of his day – 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Australia and 3:30 p.m. Monday in San Francisco – to answer questions a few days before flying to America for a two-week run of shows that includes a Friday gig at The Independent and a Saturday set at the Treasure Island Music Festival.
This will be the farthest away they have been away from their children and significant others for so long.
TBB: You used to go clubbing all the time but aren’t into the scene as much right now, I heard. How’s fatherhood treating you?
Moyes: It’s not that we’re not into the club scene. We just don’t go out that much. I really get a kick out of a lot of music that is made for clubs, and I make a lot of that music. Your priorities shift when you become a parent and we’re running a band as well. When I’m on tour, I get more opportunities to hang out in clubs because we’re playing in clubs all the time and DJing at after-parties. We’ve been off the circuit for such a long time that we haven’t really had a chance to experience the clubs. Parenthood has been great. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve got a great little boy. It’s going to be a bummer to leave him for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, we live in the day and age of Skype. I get to see him all the time.
TBB: What is the significance of Pacifica for the album title?
Moyes: I guess it kind of is like an idea of peace or a sort of distant land that we arrived at; something loose like that. Honestly, the album title was kind of inspired by the artwork. It’s a sort of a reference to where we’re from, being close to the Pacific Ocean.
TBB: I heard the track “Ghosts” gave you a sense of direction for the album. How so?
Moyes: It was one of those songs where…we became simultaneously excited about the ideas that were present in it and the uniqueness of the combination of ideas; like, the very fast, up-tempo techno feel and sea shanty-esque sort of vocal delivery. It just really sort of hit a nerve in us. We strive to get this feeling where we’re really excited about the music, and this was one of the first ones where we felt like we really achieved a really great artistic statement with it.
TBB: You both built recording studios at your homes, and much of this record was written by emailing songs back and forth. Why did you do this way?
Moyes: It gave us a little more luxury to experiment….Moving houses and having kids and all that sort of stuff; we were finding it difficult to keep on top of our workload, so the advantages are you can work at any times if you want. You can spend time messing around in the studio and maybe coming up with things you wouldn’t (otherwise) come up with when two of you are there.