Tell us about your other bands, and their relation to the Presets (historically and currently). Why just the two of you and what are the pros and cons, musically and otherwise?
MOYES: The band we were in before, Prop, came together when we were at music school. It had five members who were all studying either classical or jazz. The main instruments of the band were vibraphone and marimba. We had two drum kits, a Fender Rhodes, three synths, bass guitar and at times a big, old double bass that we called “the tree.” It’s the sort of band you would expect from music students — intense, learned and filled with wide-eyed ambition. The Presets is kind of the opposite to Prop in many ways. Having so much gear really limited the amount of touring we could do, and musically the Presets is more immediate as opposed to Prop’s long and winding instrumental improvisations. While we tried to be as democratic as possible in Prop, a lot of the decision-making was left to Jules and me, and when we had a few musical ideas that the rest of the boys didn’t quite understand, it became apparent [that Jules and I needed] to start a new project. Hence the Presets was born.
Since then we have played in other bands together and separately, been involved in the productions, writing and recordings of other peoples projects. It’s important that we get time away from each other to explore things outside of the Presets and keep our musical relationship fresh.
Kim, you have what I think of as “rolling” style, sort of fluid and organic. Is this just your natural way of playing, or did you pick it up from someone?
MOYES: I had a couple of great instrument teachers growing up. One is the principal timpanist in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Richard Miller. He taught me this great fluid style with all these overexaggerated arm gestures that help project sound and get the body into a sort of circular rhythm that he defines as “Funky,” like dancing on the drums — kinda makes sense that the person defining the beat has gotta be dancing if he/she wants to get everyone else dancing. Now it’s just a part of my natural style. He also taught me that everyone has their own unique musical voice, and it’s important that you give yourself a chance to be heard. I liked that idea, it helped me realize some sort of freedom (and made me completely independent and hence, unemployable).
Julian, at the Henry Fonda a few months back, some jerk threw a paper cup or something and hit Kim. If looks could kill, that guy would be a burn mark on the floor, and Kim played with a particular, glaring intensity the rest of the show. Is he scary to work and travel with?
HAMILTON: Not at all! Of course, he has his dark, intense moments (like everybody), but he deals with the rigors and stresses of touring way better than I do. Unfortunately, because Kim is sitting at the drums and I run around onstage, he makes an easier target than I do (and believe me — I’ve had many a bottle fly past me onstage).
Kim, tell us something equally bad (or good) about Julian.
HAMILTON: You better say something nice, Kim . . .
MOYES: Julian is a really great person. He is modest, considerate, sensible and incredibly funny. And he can dance like a motherfucker.
Kim and Julian, where do you see your music going? Where would you like to be in five years, 10 years, in music and in life? Or, just tell us about your favorite TV shows.
HAMILTON: Still doing this — just easier. It would be nice not to spend as much time away from home. Now that I think about it, it would be great to have our own chef while on the road in USA — the food in this country sucks you know! (My favorite thing to watch on TV back home is my football team, the Tigers, kicking some other team’s ass — and they don’t wear helmets and stop for 2 minutes every 30 seconds like you guys do here.)
MOYES: I think in five years I will hopefully have a couple of kids and a big, fat mortgage on some great house in Sydney. I will be going to the beach every day, even in winter. I will still be making music, maybe the Presets will still be going. Man, the Pet Shop Boys are still at it!
THE PRESETS | Beams | Modular InterscopeFor more information, check out www.thepresets.com. The Presets live at the Ex-Plex, March 2007
The Presets – Are You The One?
The Presets – Down, Down, Down