MIAMI, FL, April 30, 2009 — “I think we were always attracted to that sort of infinite sound that you can create,” Julian Hamilton says, trying to define the motivating force behind his and musical partner Kim Moyes’ fascination with electronica. “There are only so many sounds you can make with a violin or piano. With synthesizers and samplers, you can create totally new worlds.”
As The Presets, Hamilton and Moyes are Australia’s techno dance duo extraordinaire, an export that regularly leaves crowds in the U.S., Europe, and beyond in a trance of dance punk and electronic fusion. Currently touring in support of Apocalypso, a record garnering them Album of the Year distinction at the Australian Recording Industry Awards last year, the pair have made the transition from studio to stage with the help of Shure SCL5 earphones and UHF-R® wireless systems.
“When we write our music — especially for this last record — it’s a very computer-based thing,” Hamilton explains, launching into discourse revealing how studio-bred songs evolve within a live atmosphere and vice versa. “The music takes on a whole life of itself, and after it hits the stage, it does step up in terms of energy. It’s a really explosive thing.”
In turn, Hamilton adds, the live experience feeds The Presets’ records, a natural evolution that Moyes confirms the existence of as well: “After we had toured with Beams (The Presets’ first album), we started to see the way people reacted to certain elements in the songs. Then we started to realize that those reactions were influencing the way that we approach the recording side.”
Onstage, the duo’s in-ear personal monitoring systems are used with SCL5 earphones. “As a singer, having your monitors in your ears is so much better than having a wedge in front of you,” Hamilton unabashedly states. “I remember we used to do shows, and there’d be live drums right next to me. I’d be trying to scream as loud as I could so I could hear myself through the wedge. It was like this war of attrition, to just kind of get through a show—beat down a show. Now with in-ear monitoring, I can actually be musical and sing softly if I want to, or sing loudly if I want to.”
“Definitely,” Moyes concurs again, weighing-in on his in-ear system. “It definitely helps me in terms of damage control after years of playing the drums with nothing in my ears. I always hated using ear plugs ‘cause the vibe would just die.”
When it comes to their UHF-R® wireless system, Hamilton’s weapon of choice is a Shure KSM9 microphone. “The first time we used it in rehearsal, it made the vocal sound so much better,” he recalls. “We actually realized we had to upgrade the computer system we were using because the vocals sounded so good. We were using an old sound card, and we were like ‘Oh man, we really have to upgrade, because suddenly this computer stuff sounds terrible’.”
Having toured extensively over the past few years, when asked what lies ahead, Hamilton jokingly replies “an early grave.” All dark humor aside, The Presets returned to U.S. soil in March with an appearance at Club Down Under in Tallahassee, Florida. A second stop at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami had the dance duo playing alongside Tiesto, Bloc Party, The Ting Tings, Carl Cox, Cut Copy, Deadmau5, Santogold, and Hercules and Love Affair.