Ever dreamed of making a music video for iconic electronic duo, The Presets?
Get in line, buddy. Every visual artist from here to Timbuktu has been waiting for a chance to work with the dance floor legends, and now Adobe is giving you the opportunity to shoot your shot. Longtime visual collaborator, Australian artist Jonathan Zawada, is taking a back seat for the creation of The Presets’ new ‘Tools Down’ music video. Instead, Adobe and The Presets are giving artists and designers the chance to submit their own work as part of the Lyric Masters campaign. All you have to do is pick your favourite lyrics from the song and design them. If they like it, you’ll be part of one of the biggest user-generated lyric videos of all time. If they don’t, you’ll likely never hear from them again.
We got on the horn with one half of The Presets, vocalist and keyboardist Julian Hamilton, to ask how the whole thing came about and if he had any insider info he could leak to help you win.
How did the Adobe Lyrical Masters project come about?
Adobe approached us saying they really liked the song ‘Tools Down’ and thought it would be really perfect for their campaign. We weren’t thinking of making a video for that song so we thought it would be a great opportunity for us to have a video made and see some interesting things created for it, so we said yes!
Why do you guys want to collaborate with young creatives to make a music video?
Kim [Moyes] and I spend all days in the studio making the music, which obviously is the most important aspect of The Presets, but then some of the most exciting stuff happens when we then collaborate with visual designers or video directors or lighting directors. They all really help bring our music to life in a whole new way and they always add another dimension to what we do. Of course, working with Jonathan Zawada is always an amazing experience, he’s almost like a third member of the band he’s added so much to the mythology and story of The Presets. But yeah, we’re always excited to work with new people to see what new angle they can add to our story.
Speaking of Jonathan, do you think he’ll be worried he’s going to lose his job after this project?
(Laughs) Yeah, he’ll be freaking out! No, no, we love Jonathan, and he’s the perfect fit for us. We’ve been working together for so long, I can’t see him getting turfed just yet. But, who knows, maybe he’ll get inspired by some of the stuff he sees just like we do by new music that we hear.
It’s going to be cool to see how people visually interpret your lyrics. Can you give us any insider info about whether you have any favourite lyrics you’d like to see in submissions?
Not really, but I guess even if I did, the whole point is that it doesn’t really matter what jumps out to me. It’s funny, I guess with all the music that we make, Kim and I have our favourite songs and our favourite bits that are sometimes different from each other. The cool thing about music and, I guess all art, is it doesn’t really matter about us; it matters about what the listener on the radio or someone on the dance floor feels. That’s when the connection is really made. So I guess after we compose the music and produce the music and release the music, our thoughts about it don’t really matter anymore!
That’s interesting, because there are a lot of artists that are very concerned with controlling the visual aspects of their music, too.
Yeah, you know, Kim and I are such different people and back when we designed our first EP with Jonathan 15 years ago or whenever it was, I remember he asked us, ‘Which photos and designs do you like best?’ And of course I liked A and I hated B, but Kim loved B and hated A! So ever since, we’ve just sort of let Jonathan decide what is best and just trusted him.
What kind of judges do you think you and Kim will be then?
I guess my general rule of thumb is if it doesn’t completely suck and someone else really loves it, it’s fine! So, you know, it’s very rare in the band that we have to scrap an idea. I mean if Kim and I are able to agree on the music and make music together, that’s the hardest part. Deciding on the visuals and everything is relatively easy once we’ve made an album.
It sounds like you’re a man who knows how to pick his battles.
Oh, totally, the art of diplomacy!
The track is off your latest album, Hi Viz. How has it felt touring the new music this past year?
It’s been great. It’s been really fun. We’ve been doing this band a long time and it’s been really lovely to get out there and connect with a new generation of fans, really. It’s been great to see our ‘faithful’ fans in the crowd, as well as the new ones. It’s always different. Some shows we’ll do in some cities or countries where it’s heavily slanted towards the old fans who haven’t seen you play in ten years, and then you’ll play at a festival the next week where it’s just all kids around 18 or 19-years-old who were five when we put out our first music!
Can I ask for your official comment on Hi Viz as a fashion statement?
It’s great. It’s funny, I mean the whole idea behind the album name Hi Viz, for me at least, was not so literal as like a Hi Viz vest—it was more a Hi Viz life, you know, living life with high visibility, living loud and proud.