Electronic Dance Explosion
By Liquid Todd
Sydney-based duo The Presets have returned to America to tempt dance floors and alt rock radio playlists alike with its third studio album, Pacifica. After touring for a couple years after the release of 2008’s Apocalpyso, the band decided it wasn’t in a hurry to get to work on a follow-up album.
“We kind of finished touring the last record and we’d been touring for about five years straight really so we kind of wanted to have a couple months off,” said co-founder Kim Moyes. “We had kids. We moved houses. We built studios. A lot of things were going on. Then we kind of got back to it. You can’t force these things.”
For The Presets’ first single in four years the band decided to release techno-stormer “Youth In Trouble,” its take on the media’s obsession with trying to scare the crap out of adults with images of “kids gone wild.” Moyes calls it a “stadium track loaded with irony.”
“We really wanted to write a full-on techno track and I’d been deejaying this song a few years ago called Total Departure which used this audio trick called a Shepard tone,” Moyes says. “We wanted to bring that into a song.”
Named after the Californian cognitive scientist who invented it, Roger Shepard, a Shepard tone is a sonic barber pole; a tone that seems to go up (or down) infinitely without actually going anywhere.
“So we wanted to do something like that technically,” Moyes continues. “And a few things were going on in the media like the London riots and the typical thing about how we should be scared of the kids of today—how they’re doing all these crazy things. We just thought it would be pretty fun to poke some fun at the media’s portrayal of the ‘youth in trouble.’”
Modular Records has already released the second single, “Ghosts,” which comes with a well-executed trance remix by Adrian Lux and a whimsical bossanova version by German producer Senor Coconut. Both mixes feature the line “lost my minds in streets of neon” an idea which seems very much a part of this new album.
After finishing Pacifica, The Presets spent a few months putting its live show together before hitting the road on a national tour of their native Australia.
“We took a couple of songs from the back catalog we remixed and reworked them,” Moyes says. “Kinda bringing them up to date and spicing them up a bit.”
The Presets returned to America with an appearance at the Treasure Island Festival in San Francisco, and will do shows in New York, Boston, Montreal, Toronto and Chicago before heading back West to perform in Los Angeles and Pomona (Editor’s Note: At press time, The Presets’ show at the Fox Pomona was cancelled).
Maybe it’s because the duo takes its time making albums, producing only three in eight years, that it spends so many months on the road supporting them. The band toured for almost five years straight before the last break that preceded the making of Pacifica.
“It has its positives and negatives but it’s fun.” Moyes says. “We’ve been touring for a few years now so we’ve got friends all over the worlds. So we get to catch up with them and go to all our favorite restaurants and stuff like that.”
Since the band last played American electronic dance music has truly exploded, taking over the mainstream. Fronting a band that has long straddled the worlds of rock and dance has given Moyes a very thoughtful attitude about EDM’s current heights.
“These things come and go all the time and we’ve been doing this for long enough to see a few of these things come and go,” he explains. “And it’s all well and good I guess. We just try to stay focused on following our own path and stay true to our own elements.”
The Presets at Club Nokia, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 765-7000; www.clubnokia.com. Sat, Oct. 27. 8pm. $25-$31.50.