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December 2020 / January 2021

Confidence Man are the most fun you're likely to have in 2018

A whirlwind of raw energy, boring old farts need not apply.
Published: 3:00 pm, December 26, 2017
Confidence Man are the most fun you're likely to have in 2018
Aussie pop oddities Confidence Man are injecting a sense of fun back into music; the charismatic half-elusive four-piece could well be one of the most exciting bands of 2018. Chatting while cooking bangers and mash after a day of making visa applications to tour in foreign countries, Janet Planet and Sugar Bones are infectiously upbeat.

Along with mysterious synth player Reggie Goodchild and drummer Clarence McGuffie, the group came together while living in a house share and playing in a bunch of different, psych-y, guitar-based bands. "They're all still going, but we wanted to do something that was a little more fun," starts leading man Sugar.
"Basically to please people at 2am on the dancefloor - that's the core purpose," Janet interjects; "from your granny to your mum to your cousin..."

"We wanted to, just for fun, make some music that was quite different to them all," continues Sugar. "And ConMan was what emerged from it." Janet Planet sums it up best, though, describing the band's formation as "a happy accident"; from the costumes to the "stupid lyrics". Though they didn't think it would work, the four of them decided to keep going with it - "even the weird beekeeper hats."

"pull" text="It's about doing stuff that is cool but in a bad way

Influenced by everyone from LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads to Primal Scream and Basement Jaxx, Confidence Man released a string of quirky singles with contagious choruses and infectious hooks last year - our favourite is 'Bubblegum', FYI. "We always seem to take from mass pop culture," Sugar continues, discussing the ideas behind their songs; "whatever's relevant for the young kids these days," he laughs.

"We seem to be good at taking a concept and making it absurd in some way," Janet continues. Their songwriting process is equally unusual: "we start with song names, which is quite strange… we all come up with different titles and bring them to a session and choose one to write about. The simplicity seems to work well, though."

It's a formula that's led them to record a debut album to be released on Heavenly Recordings in 2018. Written in their home studio, the four-piece retained creative control: "We did all the sampling, recording and live percussion ourselves - that was a learning process, figuring out what we could do as a band and where we wanted to put our sound," Sugar says.

Before the album's out though, they'll be back in the UK and Europe to play more shows. Describing their performance style as a mix of Scissor Sisters, Abba and Vengaboys, it's no surprise they were greeted by a lunchtime crowd of thousands at Glastonbury this year. "We try and bring the vibe – a lot of choreographed dancing and silly outfits," Janet adds.
"And a lot of attitude," Sugar confirms. "Just looking cool or making fools of ourselves. It's about doing stuff that is cool but in a bad way, basically.

Definitely more than just an Aussie phenomenon, Sugar and Janet think Confidence Man really clicked with the English audience. "Every show we played in the UK before Glasto just seemed to get more and more packed - they really like to party, too." And that's what it's all about for them - creating an upbeat party atmosphere. "The main thing is to bring a bit of the fun back to music and remind people it doesn't have to be a serious affair," Sugar suggests, "to remind them you can go to a show but not sit there and think too much about everything and just have a really good time."

Janet continues: "That's what we made the band for; essentially what we would want to go out and watch is what we do. We just thought if we went as far out as we could and pushed it then people would have no choice but to enjoy themselves!" And they're always thinking of ways to make the live shows even more of spectacle: "We could get some harnesses to fly us through the air," Sugar suggests, half-serious, "or how about strippers, synchronised horse dancing..."

Taken from the December 2017 / January 2018 issue of Dork, out now. Order a copy here.

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