You may have caught The Presets at legendary performances at Coachella (in both 2009 and 2011) or at Treasure Island Music Festival and a sold-out Terminal 5 at CMJ 2012. Their live show has seen them perform across hundreds of venues around the world, top festival bills from South Africa to Colombia, and winning accolades and awards along the way including Best Live Band for the InTheMix Awards 2012, and nominated as Best Live Band at this year’s ARIA Awards (the equivalent of the Australian Grammys).
They are now on tour in the United States, hitting all the major markets with the rest of the Check Yo Ponytail crew. It's a tour that they designed from the ground up, from the lighting to brand new live versions of some of their biggest songs.
We had a chance to talk with Julian Hamilton, one half of the duo before he left on tour. Take a read:
So your US tour is about to kick off. What cities are you most excited for?
It’s actually kind of funny, we often look forward to some, and they end up being not so great. And then the one’s we weren’t expecting much from, end up being the best. So we try not to look forward to any- and just focus on having a good time.
How did the partnership with Check Your Ponytail happen?
Franki is an old friend of ours, we’ve actually played many of his parties over the years. He was one of the first people to book us at parties in the United States. He was working on a tour with some other bands, and he was nice enough to invite us along, and that’s how it got started.
Do you think the dance music climate has changed in the United States since the last time you were here?
It absolutely has changed. The first time we were in the US was like 2006 or 2007… Obviously since EDM has taken over with such a vengeance, it’s so huge, it’s almost the pop music of the day. Things like Detroit techno, Chicago house, and even disco and all these other strong US traditions, they are all part of it, but we are definitely seeing a huge influence by the mainstream.
You've built this live show from the ground up? What can US fans expect to see in this new tour concept?
It’s a whole new show, a completely new setup. It’s going to sound a lot different than what fans are used to. There’s a lot more electronic instruments now, like electronic mallets, caps, drum triggers and synthesizers. We also have a whole new lighting set that we built for the show. There are all these crazy LED lights in front of us and behind us. We like the idea of building a set, or stage- we always try to do something a little more.
You’ve released two singles so far this year “Goodbye Future” and “No Fun”, are you going to be debuting more new music on this tour?
We’ll be playing new songs, but we’ve also gone back and reworked a lot of our old stuff. I guess these days, pretty much any new song we’ve released, any new track that we’ve made, you can hear it on SoundCloud or Spotify. So we like to go back and remix the tracks so that we can surprise the fans with something they haven’t heard before. Sometimes they like it, or sometimes they like the original better- but there will definitely be some new sounds.
When you debut a track that your fans have never heard, do you use their response to it to make changes before you officially release a studio version?
There are a lot of influences, a lot of things going on in your head as an artist and certainly how fans react to certain sounds is one of them. Obviously when we are making music, there are a lot of little funny things floating around our heads. What would we like to hear on a show? What do like to hear in a club? What do we like to hear when we go on a run? There’s no knowns, and no unknowns. You can’t go thinking about it too much, but certainly reaction is an important part of it.
When can we expect the album?
Were in the studio, making new tracks. Hopefully we’ll have an album out early next year. It’s still early days, but we are really having a lot of fun making some new music. Every time you put a new record out, it’s like you can check a little box saying you’ve done it, you created it, and then you can move on to the next project.
The Presets Tour Dates:
11/6 - New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina's *
11/8 - Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Festival (The Presets Only)
11/9 - El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls #
11/10 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater #
11/12 - Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl #
11/13 - San Francisco, CA @ Warfield
11/14 - San Diego, CA @ North Park Theater #
11/15 - Los Angeles, CA @ Regent #