The Presets, aka Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes, have been a driving force in the Australian music scene since their 2003 inception. This year the duo is back with HI VIZ, their first album release since 2012’s Pacifica. I caught up with Kim ahead of their headline show at NYE In The Park (Dec 31).
The Presets have enjoyed an almost unparalleled longevity. While HI VIZ is their first commercial release since 2012, both Julian and Kim have been busy writing and producing records for artists like Flume and DMA’s, collaborating on a project with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and this year Kim has launched his own record label Here To Hell, alongside Melbourne’s Mike Callander.
The aptly named HI VIZ, released in June of this year, is a departure from the serene, melancholy sounds of Pacifica, favouring instead a sound the pair have dubbed “up for it, pub rock techno.”
The charging and celebratory ‘Downtown Shutdown’ features a gospel choir from African diaspora in Shepparton, rural Victoria, while the track ‘Are You Here?’ features DMA’s vocalist Tommy O’Dell.
Kim’s 2018 music ventures are refreshing to talk about, given Sydney’s current climate of nightlife restrictions, warehouse party crackdowns and festival upheavals.
The Sydney nightlife scene of the early 2000s, when The Presets had their start, sounds utopic compared to our city today.
“Julian and I had been ravers from the mid-90s, back then clubbing was very cerebral.
“There was a real hedonism at night in Sydney in the early 2000s, and in the rest of Australia, in fact. You could bounce around from club to club until the very early hours of the morning, and that energy really continued right up until around 2009, I think.”
“The nightlife in Sydney now is the most vanilla, watered down version of what it used to be,” says Kim.
Sydney’s electronic landscape has broadened greatly since early last decade, from both creation and consumption standpoints. Our music scene has been forced to innovate and adapt under harsh licensing and lockout policies.
Yet despite Sydney’s current reality, Kim maintains optimism. “I honestly feel like with every era, there are always people who are going to be compelled to make great music.”
HI VIZ is a testament to the diversifying and increasingly collaborative Australian landscape.
“There will always be music that people are attracted to because it feels like it speaks to their lives. The main thing is to devote yourself to what you really love. If you’re making something you love, chances are people are going to love it too,” says Kim.
Sydney is alive with artists and innovators who continue to create despite the circumstances. Hopefully policy makers will start to listen, sooner rather than later.
You can catch The Presets at NYE In The Park, this New Year’s Eve in Victoria Park, Camperdown.