Interview: Kim Moyes of the Presets

The Presets return to Seattle on April 14th for a headlining show at Neumos. I saw them last year on their tour with Cut Copy and was blown away by the power of this band. They’re one of my favorite groups and you should check them out live. I talked with drummer Kim Moyes this week about music, videos and a little bit about massages.

Q: Did you get any type of break between your tour with Cut Copy and this one?

Kim Moyes: We had a bunch of festivals back home for our summer. That was just weekends and stuff and then had the whole month of January off. Then we had to go back into the studio and work on our new live show for this tour. We had enough time off to get fired up again.

Q: How did the rest of your tour with Cut Copy go?

KM: It was really fun. We did our first ever tour in Australia with them as the Presets so it was really fun to kind of come full circle in a way and do it over here. They’re like brothers, it was just hanging out with really great friends and probably having too much fun most of the time.

Q: I was at the Seattle show – it was amazing.

KM: Oh cool, that was actually particularly fun that night.

Q: Is it frustrating for you not to be able to dance as you’re playing your music?

KM: I’m definitely getting my dance vibes expelled through my arms and legs. I’ve just got some different moves.


Kim Moyes @ the Showbox, 2008 – photo by Dagmar

Q: Is it your older brother, Kris Moyes, who has directed some of your videos?

KM: My younger brother – 2 years younger.

Q: What’s it like having him bossing you around? Is it weird?

KM: Yeah, there were a couple of moments in the My People video where his directions were getting a little bit uppity and I was about to turn around say, shut the fuck up. Get him in a headlock and give him a Chinese burn. He’s a lot more talented than I am and has done amazing stuff so I can kind of bite my tongue.


Directed by Kris Moyes

Q: I’ve been listening to your solo work and really enjoying it. Are you going to do more?

KM: I am. It’s more about time than anything else. There are a few different things I am interested in. I’ve been doing this club thing for awhile and I’m not sure what I want to do first. They’re going to be a lot different, a bit more ambient, something to make your day nicer instead of something that you put on to take drugs to. I finished a club track the other week – it should be coming out in the next couple of months.

Q: Do you remember what the first music you bought was?

KM: A seven-inch by an Australian band called the Machinations. Kind of 80s pop. My mom bought me some stuff. My first record on vinyl was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. I used to take a lot of stuff off my sister, who’s six years older and she had all these great things like the Smiths, Madonna . . . My friends at school had Public Enemy and Run DMC. We used to swap tapes. It wasn’t until I was older, like twelve or thirteen that I really started buying records.

Q: When you were a kid what did you think about doing when you grew up?

KM: I always wanted to be Indiana Jones. I always wanted to be my heroes in movies. I don’t think I had a real firm grip on reality. I got completely entranced by drumming and by the time I got to that age where I was buying music I knew what I wanted to do. I just wanted to play music. I did everything I could from that point on to make it happen.

Q: What kind of drummers did you like listening to?

KM: I just liked the drummers from the bands that I liked. It was always for something that had nothing to do with the drummer. I liked a pair of boots someone was wearing on a record cover or something completely irrational and superficial. I do have a couple drummers I really like. There’s Tony Buck from an Australian band called the Necks. He’s amazing. Do you know Dirty Three? [He mentions their drummer, Jim White too].

Q: I was reading in an interview that you like to make music that punches listeners in the face.

KM: And then caress you gently. Tie you up, whip you and shove your thumb down your throat.

Q: What do you like to do besides making music?

KM: There’s not really anything else I can do besides music. I like to go to the beach, read and cook. I used to surf and skateboard but I don’t have much time for that now. I like to get massages – I always have a knot at the base of my neck from drumming.

Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?

KM: I’m reading about settling Australia and the convicts London didn’t want. It’s a weird history. The truth is very murky. I am 90% sure that both sides of my family were convicts. My mom’s side of the family made it a point of saying they were settlers. They loved the Queen and traditional things. At Christmas it would be boiling hot but they’d make a roast. There’s not much out there on my dad’s side of the family.
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Check out more of my photos from their Showbox appearance here & here.

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Happy Passover from Joy Divison & 20 Things to Do with Matzah!

Happy Passover! Here’s a festive song by Joy Division for you: Passover. This is one of my favorite Joy Division songs – it’s on Closer.

And 20 Things to Do With Matzah:

I like matzah. I also like that shirt the woman is wearing in the video that says Kosher on it. If you know where I can get one email me.

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show preview: the redwood plan tomorrow @ Chop Suey

As soon as I heard KEXP’s song of the day  “Something to Prove” from The Redwood Plan, I went online to find their recording. The self-titled EP was available, and though I knew they’d most likely have some for sale at their upcoming show(s), I couldn’t wait and ordered it right then. It arrived just a few days later and I highly recommend picking it up at Thursday’s show at Chop Suey or ordering it when they sell out. The energy, intensity and enthusiasm that floored me at their live show are all there.

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The Redwood Plan is getting lots of well-deserved press. I was stunned at their March 7 show at The Sunset, which aired on KEXP’s Audioasis. Lesli Wood is a powerful force with vocal chops that match her beautiful voice. Add the fact that she’s actually got something to say, possesses mad guitar and keyboard skills, and throw in some of the finest musicians in Seattle to create the rest of the band, and we’ve got something very special.

Jamie Hellgate is a devastating bass player. I am a puddle at her feet. Drummer Betty ST and guitarist Sydney Stolfuss round out The Redwood Plan’s perfection. I feel sorry for The Redwood Plan in one sense – they’ll never be able to be in the audience at one of their shows. If you’re not on their stage, you should certainly be in front of it, ready to dance.

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The Redwood Plan play Chop Suey Thursday April 9, with Team Gina and Chupacabra.

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Interview: The Heels (see them this Friday w/ X!)

I joined local rockers The Heels in their cozy practice space on Capital Hill for a chat early Saturday. They open for X this Friday at Showbox.

The Heels are:
Paula, guitar and vox
Shelly, guitar and vox
Mikhel, bass and backups
Heidi, drums and backups

Paula: It’s story time!

Amelia: I’m actually a little bit out of the loop with The Heels right now and would like to know what’s going on. I know you’ve got an exciting show next weekend.

Paula: We’re playing with X on April 10th and we are super-excited about it. We wanted to play with them since last year and when we heard that they were coming around again we said hey we want to play with them!

A: And that’s all it took?

Mikhel: Personal tryouts – I had a personal tryout.

Shelly: Was that on a couch?

Paula: No – we joke. We have known the band peripherally and my band before played with them years ago and we are friends with their manager and we know some people that were able to help us when we asked and so they said yes.

A: That’s excellent

Paula: I know!

A: I think The Showbox will be a great venue for you – have you played there before?

Paula: I have not.

Heidi: I have not.

A: Has everyone here been in bands before? I actually don’t know a lot about the history of The Heels. I’m interested to find out how you came together as a band. Mikhel, I know you’re a more recent addition.

Mikhel: Yeah.

A: We don’t need to get into the history of that, but it’s a great dynamic now and I’d like to hear a little about how you all came to be The Heels.

Heidi: Kirsten, the old bass player and I were in a band called The Hot Rollers together. When we quit that we both knew we had to get into something else. So Kirsten was like, hey, this chick just moved up from California and she’s a guitarist and singer and we should see if she wants to play with us. And then Shelly…

Shelly: I was nine months pregnant and I came baby in belly.

Paula: So it’s been three years… Three years in May.

A: And then when did you come into the picture?

Mikhel: A little over a year ago.

A: One of my favorite songs is “Pink Eye”. True story?

Heidi (laughing): No!

Shelly: That would be a good true story.

A: I wonder if you all write together. What’s your process for coming up with what we hear in the audience?

Heidi: For awhile there, it was Shelly coming up with choruses and then I’d write the rest of the lyrics and build the song around the structure of the words. But then more recently we’ve been coming up with the riffs and then I’d put the words to it.

Mikhel: It’s pretty collaborative. There’s no sole songwriter that says, ok, here’s today’s song.

A: The shows I have been to I’ve noticed you have really fun fans. Loyal fans. Hopefully some of them will read this. What would you like to say to them?

Mikhel: Stop stalking us. (all laugh)

Heidi: I like Maker’s Mark!

A: We’ve all been to shows where there’re few audience members. I would think that with a band like The Heels, there’s so much energy… is it harder to play when there’s not much of an audience?

Shelly: We’ve got a 30 minute set.

Paula: I think we play for ourselves regardless of the amount of people that are there. You just play your show. I always think that even if there’s one person standing there, I want them to walk away thinking, Fuck! That was awesome!

Heidi: I can’t remember which show it was, but someone came up to us and said they liked watching us because it genuinely looked like we were having fun.

A: Paula, there was a show I was at where you called all of us in the audience sluts, and that was really great. Is your onstage persona an intentional thing or is it driven by alcohol or…?

Paula: I don’t know what’s going to come out of my mouth onstage.

Shelly: It’s the Red Bull!

Paula: It’s true. There’s a certain feeling I have onstage that I am way different than in my regular day-to-day and it could be a combination of alcohol and having a guitar is huge too – it’s powerful. And I’ve got a microphone and I can say what I want! So yeah! We are all whores!

A: Ok – so you’re sticking with that.

Paula: Yeah!

A: Fantastic. How do you view the current Seattle music scene and your place in it?

Heidi: We are clearly underappreciated.

A: I’m going to agree with that.

Paula: There is a lot of variety now in the Seattle scene. A lot of music to choose from and I think anytime you get people coming to your show to see you, you’re lucky because there’s so many different offerings in the city at one given time. The Crocodile’s open, The Comet… there’s so may different venues where you can see music. The fact that they came to your show and are choosing to see your music is really something.

A: Thanks for your time! Anything any of you would like to add?

Shelly: Come to the show!

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Photos: Travis @ the Showbox. Tuesday Night: White Lies

I took photos last night at Travis’ Showbox appearance. Many more to come and a few are over here too. I am also posting photos from new Back Beat Seattle contributor Nicky Andrews, who sent me some really lovely photos!

This was my third time seeing Travis and I can’t wait to see them again. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this band.


Fran Healy – Photo by Dagmar


Dougie Payne, Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop – Photo by Nicky Andrews


Dougie Payne – Photo by Dagmar


Fran Healy – Photo by Dagmar


Fran Healy – Photo by Nicky Andrews


Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop – Photo by Nicky Andrews

Check out more of Nicky’s photography here.

Tuesday April 7th sees Brits White Lies playing at Neumos. I have been waiting to see this band for nearly a year.

And if you missed it here’s White Lies on David Letterman:

Those rose petals are amazing. I hope they have those Tuesday night.

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