The Presets’ Julian Hamilton reflects on the past and looks to the future

Julian Hamilton is all about making music that is enjoyable to him.

When he and Kim Moyes, the other half of electronic music heavyweights The Presets, were creating their latest album HI VIZ, they went through an intense creation process. Over the course of a few years, the pair amassed more than 50 potential tracks. To cut them down, it was a matter of realising which were the most enjoyable to them.

“We just thought back to our earlier work when it was really rocking and energetic, thinking about our shows and things we really like performing live,” Hamilton tells Music Insight.

“We thought we’d pick all the bits that make us want to jump around and put it all together – make an album that feels like a big party mix.”

With that in mind, Hamilton is looking forward to the band’s national tour, which kicks off in Fremantle on June 13.

The live Presets experience is all about crafting both a musical and visual feast.

“We want everything to be hyper real, loud and high visibility,” Hamilton says, throwing in a cheeky plug for the new album.

“We try to present a lot of energy and good vibes. We put a lot of effort into the light show, the visuals and the content on the big screens.”

Largely constructed on synthesisers and computers, performing the tracks live is as much a new experience for the creators as it is for the audience.

“When we get to the rehearsal room and we’ve got Jim on the drums and us singing, and we’re running around singing things, playing synths, it’s like, ‘Wow, this song sounds great played live!’”

It’s tough for Hamilton to pin down any one aspect of the album that he’s most proud of. Instead, he likens the process to flying a plane – a smooth landing being the proudest moment of all.

“Making the record, there were so many little moments that were tricky or just difficult things – little problems that needed to be solved, lyrics that needed to be tightened up, or beats that needed to be made better,” he says.

“Sometimes it feels like you’re not going to land the plane, and you just crash.

“On other days you think ‘Nah, I think we’re gonna land this thing, everything’s gonna be alright’.”

The Presets have been around for 15 years now. Over the years, Hamilton has had little time to reflect on the journey. If he were to give the Julian Hamilton from 2003 any advice, he wouldn’t provide any grand nuggets of knowledge, just a grounded request:

“Remember to enjoy it, because when you’re having this crazy success, when you’re walking down red carpets and winning awards, and you’re flying to Japan the next day and you’re tired, sometimes it’s hard to stop and think, ‘Hey, this is really awesome!’ because you’re working so hard. I mean, Apocalypso came out 10 years ago; it’s almost like it’s taken a decade to be able to look back and enjoy the moment. When you’re in it, it’s like you’re flying along and your feet aren’t even touching the ground.”

In short, just enjoy the ride.

HI VIZ is due for release on June 1 via EMI Music Australia.

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HI VIZ Tour Dates

Wednesday, June 13 – Metropolis, Fremantle

Friday, June 15 – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide

Saturday, June 16 – Forum Theatre, Melbourne

Sunday, June 17 – Forum Theatre, Melbourne

Thursday, June 21 – UC Refectory, Canberra

Friday, June 22 -Waves, Wollongong

Saturday, June 23 – Enmore Theatre, Newtown

Wednesday, June 27 – The Tivoli, Brisbane

Friday, June 29th – NightQuarter, Gold Coast

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