The Presets are a pair of avant-garde Aussies who, while forging a musical path that wouldn't be unfamiliar to acts like Daft Punk, Nine Inch Nails, and the Faint, don't mind dragging disco along for the ride. Julian Hamilton (production, keyboards, vocals) and Kimberley Moyes (production, drums, programming) met in the early '90s as students at Sydney's Conservatorium of Music. Both were there to study classical music, but as they delved into the great composers, neither could forget an extracurricular love of '80s pop: the Smiths, Pet Shop Boys, Björk, New Order. So instead of abandoning their passion for music's lighter side, they bonded over it, composing music at school by day and dancing to acid house by night. Eventually, they joined the band Prop together, cranking out several albums of experimental instrumental music that won them critical plaudits across Australia. The Presets were born as an offshoot of Prop — when Hamilton and Moyes wanted to remix a track with harder electronic edges, they did so under the Presets moniker.
In 2003, with a distinctively spiky disco-dipped sound and several years of collaboration boosting them, they released a demo; the influential Aussie label Modular wasted no time adding the Presets to its roster. A first EP, the relatively hard-driving Blowup, featuring guitar work from Silverchair's Daniel Johns, arrived the same year as the duo first hit the Australian stage circuit. In 2004, the mellower Girl and the Sea, whose title track was featured on the TV show The O.C., was released, and 2005's Down Down Down, the disc that established the Presets as a band worthy of Euro buzz, followed. With momentum on their side, the Presets also released Beams in Australia in 2005; in April of 2006, a month after it found favor with electro-freak-loving British fans, Beams lit a path into U.S. record stores. The pair returned in 2008 with a darker, more refined sound on its follow-up, Apocalypso, which would go on to become the first dance album to win the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Award for Album of the Year. Their third album, Pacifica, arrived in the summer of 2012, reaching number three on the Australian charts. It was followed by a major tour of Australia and a handful of U.S. festival dates in 2013. The bouncy single "No Fun" arrived a year later, alongside an EP's worth of remixes. The propulsive "Do What You Want" arrived in December 2017, followed two months later by "14U+14ME," both in advance of the Presets' forthcoming LP. ~ Tammy La Gorce