The 2012 Parklife comes to an end in Adelaide this year and as many acts have already taken to the stages so far, festival headliners The Presets are still yet to bring their new album Pacifica to life onstage on this leg of the festival. I catch up with Julian and Kim for a quick chat about life in between Apocalypso and Pacifica, and an embarassing moment of mine at a gig of theirs back in 2009.
So how’s the Parklife tour been for you guys? We’re on the final day of it now…
Julian: Really good!
Kim: Yeah, really good!
J: It’s nice to be back doing some big shows again.
The Presets have been off the Australian circuit for some time now, how does it feel to be right back in the swing of things?
J: It’s nice! I mean, we could spend all the time in the world sitting in front of computers at home, making the music and that’s fun, but it’s a whole other level when you take it out on stage and actually play it to people. It makes a lot more sense when there’s people dancing and stuff like that, so it’s really nice.
How have you found the new songs to be going down now you’ve been performing them live for some time now?
K: Well a lot of what we do is pre-programmed, but we’ve extended things and stuff like that. They’ve taken on a bit of a different shape…
J: Even from the moment we started rehearsing them, they did. A few of the new songs off the new record, as soon as we started playing them; we were like, ‘Oh mad, this feels fun’!
Well on that, congratulations on the success of Pacifica…
I remember receiving an advance stream of it a few months back and thinking, ‘I can’t wait for everyone else to hear this!’. Thinking of where you were with Apocalypso and where you are now, how would you describe the progression that you’ve undergone, not only in music, but personally too?
K: Exponential! [Laughs]
J: I mean, four years is a long time for anyone and it’s been an especially long time for us. So much has happened, you know? Apocalypso was such a huge thing for us and making a record after all that was interesting! We also became fathers in that time, and that was huge. It’s been a massive four years.
Was there any sort of apprehension or hesitation after Apocalypso finally died down that you might not be able to match the massive response with the next record?
K: No – well, we weren’t really concerned about trying to match the response to it, we were much more concerned with making something that was really good and just trusting that the people who paid attention to the last record and the one before would pay attention to this one and maybe we’d make some new fans. At least we’d have music that we’d really believe in to play for the rest of our lives.
Definitely; just going off the immediate reaction to Pacifica, if anything, I think that it’s matched and gone beyond was Apocalypso achieved so far.
J: Yeah, people have been really kind; I mean, the AU Review did of course, and everyone’s been really kind! We’ve been thrilled with the response to it, we really love it. It’s nice when other people like it too! [Laughs]
What are the plans for the album now, in terms of touring – are you taking it overseas or continuing to tour it at home?
K: We’re going to the States pretty much straight away, we leave on Thursday. We’ll be back here to do a tour sometime early next year.
Cool stuff! In terms of The Presets’ live shows, you guys are known for putting on some pretty kickass live visual shows to accompany the music; was there any particular format you wanted to bring to Parklife?
K: Yeah, I guess we just wanted to evolve from where the last show left off. The last show was a big production with lights and big music and sounds, and we just wanted to keep that going! We added in some new songs, too.
J: I think we kind of hit on something that worked well too, last time, when we did the Apocalypso tour. We didn’t need to reinvent things too much this time round.
Both of you would have seen some pretty wild crowds over your time now as live performers; does that surreal buzz ever fade away with each tour like this one?
J: It doesn’t really fade away, I guess it does stay with you; at least the memory of it does!
K: We’re always trying to recreate those moments, or hoping that they present themselves! We’re starting to get them back!
I think that’s one of the great things about Pacifica, there’s a huge bulk of the material there that is so memorable for the listener. Whether it’s in a catchy lyric or a catchy beat, there’s something there for people to remember and latch on to…
J: Oh, thanks!
That translates so well to the live shows as well. I can’t wait to see what the new show is like, I haven’t seen you guys play since 2009.
J: Wow where would that have been? Oh yeah, the Thebarton Theatre! That was a fun show!
Yeah it definitely was! It was one of my first gigs back in Adelaide and I remember rocking up incredibly excited, even though I had injured my eye the night before, completely forgetting about the amount of strobe lights that were going to be involved!
J: They will heal you!
K: The healing power of strobes!
J: Light therapy!
All of that aside, it was one of the best gigs of my year – I can’t wait to see how the rest of this year goes for you both, I think it’ll be an excellent one!
J: Thanks so much!
K: Thank you!