OZZFEST, THE DANCE-ROCK EDITION: Cut Copy vs. The Presets @ Webster Hall

THE PRESETS pretend to be koala bears

[Photo by Harold David]

We ran pieces on the Presets and Cut Copy earlier this year to emphasize how much we dig their respective takes on danceable rock tunes. In the months since, self-titled has found the former’s Apocalypso album to have actual staying power due to such standouts as “This Boy’s In Love,” “My People,” “If I Know You,” and “Anywhere,” a sleek techno-pop comedown to a peak hour LP that mixes bits of EBM with everything we love about old Depeche Mode.

That said, some of Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours record makes us want to drive off into the sunset with all windows dropped and the darkness starting to creep in.  “Lights and Music?” “Hearts On Fire?” Those are some serious singles, right there. Are they enough to help Cut Copy triumph over their Modular mates in a live setting, however? That’s what we decided to determine at the second and final night of the bands’ stay at New York’s Webster Hall …

CUT COPY in Technicolor

AIM IM with Arye Dworken
12:13 PM
Andrew Parks: to get things started, did you expect to like the presets or cut copy more based on their records?
Arye Dworken: i expected to like cut copy more because their music is pretty accessible
12:15 PM
Arye Dworken: and i’m not totally in love with the presets albums
Andrew Parks: some of the singles off the presets’ new one are really solid though, like “this boy’s in love” and “my people”
Arye Dworken: oh totally
Arye Dworken: my opinion is reversed
Arye Dworken: after seeing presets live
Arye Dworken: that was like a two man depeche mode show
Arye Dworken: pounding bass drum
Andrew Parks: i think theres also a couple hints that they could do moodier, ambient-almost stuff, like the longer track near the end of the record
Andrew Parks: i think it’s called “anywhere?
Arye Dworken: goth synth up the ass
Andrew Parks: depeche mode when they were good?
Andrew Parks: like violator-erA?
Andrew Parks: or when gahan started to think he was god?
Arye Dworken: i never thought depeche mode was ever bad
Andrew Parks: true.
Andrew Parks: never bad but they definitely had their moments
Arye Dworken: these last two records are boring
Arye Dworken: but i loved DM as late as Ultra
Arye Dworken: so now, I’m listening to the Presets in that context
Andrew Parks: right
Andrew Parks: and you like it more now i assume?
Arye Dworken: definitely
Andrew Parks: i DEFINITELY got a lot more into their new album after seeing them at bowery earlier this year
Arye Dworken: they had total control over their crowd
Arye Dworken: its impressive
Arye Dworken: i could even imagine them conquering a festival crowd
Arye Dworken: it would be nice for them to have a couple of other musicians on stage
Andrew Parks: well, they played to HUGE festival crowds in europe
Arye Dworken: the drum kit is a wonderful touch
Andrew Parks: like i said to you yesterday, they are australia’s number one group this year
Andrew Parks: in terms of sales and such
Andrew Parks: theyre also headlining a festival in december that daft punk headlined last year
Andrew Parks: to give you an ides of their popularity there
Andrew Parks: any favorite songs last night?
Andrew Parks: in the live context?
Arye Dworken: “My People” was great
Arye Dworken: especially when the crowd reacted with the shouts
Arye Dworken: you know that line where he sings “so let me hear you scream if you’re with me”
Arye Dworken: loved that
Andrew Parks: i also love the minor key synths that are like total nine inch nails nods
Arye Dworken: i hear that completely
Andrew Parks: except julian doesn’t sing about hating himself or the end of the world
Arye Dworken:
so weird to hear music in a totally different context after seeing them live
Andrew Parks: it didn’t hurt that modular somehow paid for a poor man’s version of radiohead’s light show for both bands
Andrew Parks: some serious blade runner type shit
Andrew Parks: who knows how they paid for that after losing millions in the past couple years
Andrew Parks: maybe they treat their budget like the u.s. treasury does
Arye Dworken: yeah, a pretty impressive light show. really in sync

[Photo by Play Vicious]

Andrew Parks: well, let’s get to cut copy
Andrew Parks: oyu didnt stay for their whole set
Andrew Parks: why?
Andrew Parks: i think the night was completely fucked in terms of the order
Arye Dworken: hmmm. yeah, i agree with you
Arye Dworken: you cant compete with the presets level of energy
Andrew Parks: cut copy is great at what they do, but tempo and intensity wise, they’re a definite appetizer for something as thrilling and loud as the presets
Arye Dworken: especially with a conventional rock band set-up
Andrew Parks: you missed one thing that kinda blew my mind
Andrew Parks: apparently, “hearts on fire” is a huge single to some people
Arye Dworken: cut copy is a bowery ballroom band – smaller venue, fun vibe
Andrew Parks: because the kids went NUTS when cut copy closed with that song
Arye Dworken: oh, really?
Andrew Parks: like front to back, downstairs to up
Arye Dworken: see, with cut copy, i loved the last album
Arye Dworken: this one peters out
Arye Dworken: its long and a bit diluted
Andrew Parks: some seriously good singles on it too, though
Andrew Parks: i think theyre more of a singles band, really
Andrew Parks: even on the last one, i liked “future” and “saturdays” more than the rest of it
Arye Dworken: yeah, those are the jams
Arye Dworken: and “going nowhere”
Arye Dworken: but they weren’t really so energetic themselves on stage
Arye Dworken: and it didn’t translate so well in that large venue
Arye Dworken: i got bored really quickly
Andrew Parks: right, and with the presets, i’ve could see them conquering a coachella slot down the road
Arye Dworken: oh, totally
Arye Dworken: consummate performers
Arye Dworken: its really rare to see an electro band command its audience
Andrew Parks: so i guess we’re in agreement that the presets won last night?
Arye Dworken: so often i see them checking their email on their laptops
Andrew Parks: right

[Photo by Chris Becker]

Andrew Parks: well, julian and kim are classically trained
Andrew Parks: which a lot of people don’t realize
Andrew Parks: julian also wrote some of silverchair’s recent singles
Andrew Parks: which are huge in australia as well
Arye Dworken: yeah. and i’m pretty sure with the next album, kanye will rap over one of their songs
Andrew Parks: anyway, they’re quicker to name check stockhausen and glass than depeche mode
Arye Dworken: and they’ll be the next daft punk
Arye Dworken: ha
Andrew Parks: not sure about that–they don’t seem to be the collab types
Andrew Parks: they have a perfect chemistry going for them
Andrew Parks: as a duo, thats priceless
Arye Dworken: wow
Arye Dworken: they look older
Arye Dworken: and not so hipstery
12:35 PM
Andrew Parks: who does?
Andrew Parks: the presets?
Arye Dworken: yeah
Andrew Parks: i guess
Arye Dworken: but why don’t the resonate with the justice fans
Arye Dworken: or simian mobile?
Andrew Parks: i think they have resonated a bit in europe
Arye Dworken: i didn’t see many dirty vest-wearing hipsters
Andrew Parks: yeah, not sure what their audience is
Andrew Parks: its interesting because the cut copy audience and the presets audience dont seem to be as linked as i anticpated
Arye Dworken: nope
Andrew Parks: figured this tour would be a great op for both bands to get the other’s fans
Andrew Parks: but people came and went for the one they wanted to see
Arye Dworken: they’re totally different sounds – even though the one cohesive theme is that modular bands are attempting to reinvent the embarrassing 80’s
Arye Dworken: by appropriating the cheese and making it fromage
Andrew Parks: except for in the case of wolfmother
Arye Dworken: dude, that band is the cheesiest around
Arye Dworken: this “euclyptus” song on the presets record
Arye Dworken: very much feeling it
12:45 PM
Arye Dworken: anyway, I need to run off
Andrew Parks: no problem
Andrew Parks: thanks!
Arye Dworken: good show. pleasant surprise
Arye Dworken: [aryedworken signed off]