With nearly twenty years of experience in their arsenal, The Presets are no stranger to the music world, with numerous ARIA awards and countless others to their name, along with being featured in triple j’s Hottest 100 for well over a decade. As the most recent countdown showed us, they’ve still got it, with their song ‘Paradise’ reaching a respectable #75.
While riding the wave of success with Raka, their new collaborative EP with Golden Features, The Presets are set to keep on hitting these waves by headlining The Drop Festival — an innovative, international music festival highlighting the best of music and surfing.
The Presets are, without a doubt, absolute legends of the Aussie music world, so it was no surprise that they were announced to headline The Drop Festival. Featuring great artists alongside them such as Boy & Bear, Ball Park Music, Allday, and many more, the festival is sure to be as intense as the waves that frequent the beaches on which it’s held.
Being only one month out from this killer festival, we chatted to Julian Hamilton (vocals, keyboards) of The Presets to hear about their plans for this incredible tour, plus a closer look at Raka.
Check out ‘Raka’ by Golden Features and The Presets:
Tone Deaf: You guys are just about month out from headlining The Drop Festival. How does it feel to be included on such a fantastic lineup?
Julian Hamilton: It’s great, yeah! We’re really looking forward to it. It’s a killer lineup. We’re really looking forward to playing these shows. We’ve got a few friends in the other bands, too, so looking forward to catching up!
TD: The Drop Festival is travelling alongside the World Surf League Australian tour. What do you think that combination will mean for the crowds and the towns that it stops in?
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JH: I’m sure the towns will be very beautiful. It’s going to be nice to go somewhere different, for sure. As for the crowds, if they’re anything like the surfers I know, they’re going to be up for a really good time. We’ll be doing some sick shows.
TD: What have you got geared up for the tour?
JH: Just our usual thing, really. We’ll get up and play our songs, and have a great time, and put out some vibes. Hopefully everyone jumps around and does what’s expected, [laughs]. Rest assured, it’s going to be a good gig.
Check out the 2020 lineup for The Drop Festival:
TD: You guys recently collaborated with Golden Features to release Raka EP. How did the idea of the EP come about?
JH: We’ve been fans of Golden Features and his music for years. Ironically, the first thing he ever released was a remix of us about ten years ago. We’ve been following his career and obviously he’s a major act.
Kim Moyes [drums, keyboards] and Tom Stell [Golden Features] got together one day and had a bit of a jam, made some cool beats, and they got along well, then I joined the party and made stuff with them, too. Before we knew it, we had a cool mix on our hands.
TD: When working with Golden Features, what was the process like? Did you go in with a sound you wanted to achieve, or did you just go with the flow?
JH: I went in with a sound I wanted to achieve, and I suspect that the others did, too, and they were probably all a bit different. That always happens — you go in and think you want to do one thing, and then you hear others and then it ends up being a combination of all three ideas. It ended up being the best of all the things that we do.
TD: How did this experience of collaborating differ from previous collaborations you’ve done?
JH: On our previous album, Hi Viz, we did a lot more collaborating with others and some instrumentalists, but in that case Kim and I were still in control. We were driving that and doing our shit. That was kind of our baby that we had to land and finish ourselves.
But when working with Tom, he’s such an amazing producer in his own life that Raka was his baby, as well, so this one wasn’t like just having a producer and a guest artist, it was three producers working together. It was really nice to have another offer their expertise, and to also have someone else to take some of the load of carrying the project in his head. Usually we have to do that alone, so that was really lovely.
Check out Golden Features and The Presets’ ‘Control’:
TD: What was your favourite track on the EP?
JH: Oh, goodness, the top one? I really like ‘Paradise’. It’s the sort of style of music that we have done from time to time with The Presets, but we don’t do a lot anymore — especially mainly with the singing…we’ve sort of stopped the singing. That was really enjoyable.
I guess that’s the fun thing about doing a collaboration is that you can try things that are a little bit out of your comfort zone or maybe adding things that you don’t do as much anymore. You can experiment and do different things and there’s not an insane amount of pressure like there might be when you’re doing it for yourself.
TD: One track, ‘Paradise’, was quickly heard in high rotation on triple j. How does it feel to see the tracks get so much love?
JH: It’s always awesome when people like your music. It’s really great, [laughs]. If people enjoy it and people want to listen to it, then that’s fantastic. We made the music that we want to make, and we make the music that we want to hear, and then if other people like it too, then that’s fantastic!
TD: Given the success of Raka, has it given you inspiration to work on a new album, or is anything already in the works?
JH: Certainly. While you’re working on stuff, and while you’re finishing an EP, or an album, or whatever, even then you start to turn toward the next thing. You think, “what wasn’t I able to do this time?” or “what would I like to try next?”.
So, yeah, Kim and I are already working on new music now. It’s probably too early to say if it’s a thing or not — often, we’ll make a bunch of stuff and it’ll just end up getting tossed in the trash — but we’re certainly having fun making new music. Rest assured there will be some new music coming up soon, but we don’t know what it is yet.
Check out Golden Features and The Presets’ ‘The End’:
TD: Once you guys finish up The Drop Festival, what’s the rest of your year looking like? Any more tours or plans?
JH: At the moment it’s looking pretty blank, which is nice! Since Hi Viz came out almost two years ago now, we’ve been touring pretty solidly here and overseas, and we’re getting to the end of our engagements. It’s a strange feeling to have a bit of a blank calendar in front of you.
We’ll probably knuckle down and get deep into making more music, and then hopefully be back on the road and doing more shows before you know it!
TD: The Presets has had very successful career for nearly twenty years from winning many awards to being featured in triple j’s Hottest 100. Are there any goals you’re still looking forward to achieving?
JH: Every time you’re making a new album or even making a new song, it’s like your life is starting again. Awards, sold out shows, or even platinum records are wonderful when they happen, but then when they’re done you just want to keep doing it and make the next thing.
Beyond that, there’s always music inside us that we want to get out, and it’s not always easy to do that. Sometimes making music is really easy, and really rewarding, but sometimes it’s tricky and complex and gut wrenching.
So, I guess the next goal is to continue to battle with this medium and try to make stuff that excites us. We’ve got the ideas in there, but we’re constantly trying to just nail them. The next goal isn’t hit records, or big shows, it’s more just, ‘can I make another good tune?’.
The Presets will be headlining The Drop Festival beginning on February 29th. The Drop Festival is also celebrating its first international leg of the tour this year, beginning in New Zealand on March 21st. There’s plans for dates in Brazil, Japan, Hawaii, Portugal, and France, so keep an eye out for details and check below for dates.
Check out Golden Features and The Presets’ ‘Paradise’:
The Drop Festival 2020
Boy & Bear
Ball Park Music
Saturday, February 29th
Saturday, March 7th
Saturday, March 14th
Saturday, March 21st
Auckland, New Zealand
Saturday, March 28th
Saturday, April 11th
Saturday, April 25th