Four years after their debut Confident Music for Confident People, Confidence Man are stepping out with another record of bold ‘n’ brash dance gems which absolutely demand levity of spirit and humour. We spoke to Janet Planet and Sugar Bones about the sparkling TILT.
If you’re the one with the mic, you get to make the rules. You can fling the spirits of Dee-lite and Orbital in a blender and splash it out the window of a fast-moving car, if you want. You can make your own costumes and dance like a Penny Ford-possessed marionette if you fancy, too. You can even squeal “What’s your problem?!” with A+ anthemic delivery, creating a stand-out track on an album chockers with belters. Confidence Man have do all these things, but it’s that last one that resulted in the fantastic Angry Girl, a song which vocalist Janet Planet says was inspired by encouragement from bandmate Reggie Goodchild.
“Reggie gave me this big long microphone lead, and he’s like, ‘I realise I’ve played in all these bands over my life, and I’ve got to run around with a microphone and scream. You haven’t. I’ve been seeing you want to scream for the past six months. Go scream wherever the f-ck you want, I’ll put on a beat, and we’ll record some sh-t,” Janet explains.
“I was super drunk by this point. I was walking up and down the stairs, screaming, screaming, screaming. I kind of lost it for an hour, screaming ad singing everywhere. Then I came back to Reggie and he was like, ‘We have a sick song here.’”
The lyrics slot neatly into the brilliance across the four-piece’s second album TILT, where couplets like “With a face like that there’s no conversation/ With an a-se like that, there’s no hesitation” (Toy Boy) and an entire song of mistranslated French idioms (says Janet, “French people are gunna hate it; I can’t wait”), but it’s all about the four of them riffing, “We bounce off each other,” says Janet. “One of us will say something, someone else will say something else, and then we’re like, ‘That’s funny! Let’s put that in!’”
Amongst the fresh meat is some real pedigree. TILT was produced by Gregg Alexander of the New Radicals, who famously ended his band after one #1 track in 1998 and became one of the most successful and sought-after pop songwriters in the industry. Janet and Bones attest he’s a giant of a man (“Nine-foot-seven!” kids the latter), whose spontaneous approach to songwriting appealed to them straight out of the gate.
“It was just before Covid times when we first met Gregg,” says Bones. “We had no idea what to expect, but we knew of his big hit with New Radicals [You Get What You Give, 1998], and we knew also he’d written [monster hit for Sophie Ellis-Bextor in 2001] Murder on the Dancefloor, and [Ronan Keating’s chart-smashing 2000 track] Life is a Rollercoaster, and all these other crazy songs that we loved. We were super excited, and when we met him he was just this really chilled dude and we got along quite quickly. We’d play him a loop, or a beat, and he’d be there with his pen and paper – scratch scratch scratch, in a trance state – then all of a sudden after an hour he’d be like, ‘Aaah! Give me the mic!’ and jump up and lay down a whole song. He just kept rolling with it, and didn’t get too caught up in the details of the thing.”
After red-hot singles Holiday (late last year) and Feels Like a Different Thing (in January) came Woman, released on International Women’s Day (March 8). In its one-shot clip, Janet minces through a house party as she delivers the song’s central manifesto, periodically pausing to twirl her python-thick ponytail. The hair flip has always been a cornerstone of her repertoire, but these ones are undeniably next level. It may have been the bubbles. Says Bones, “I didn’t have to do anything as far as the [acting] side of it went, so me, Clarence and Reg were on bar duties.” Adds Janet, “I think we wet through 40 bottles of champagne – it was ridiculous! But I can do [the pony twirl] no matter how drunk I am.”
Bones adds reflectively, “You probably do it better when you’re p-ssed.”
Janet and Bones are of course purveyors of all manner of sparkling choreography. Leaving no stone unturned, they’re currently working on their tour moves.
“We were actually just working on a choreography bit before we were talking to you, and failing miserably,” Janet admits. “It’s the last song we have to choreograph, and we’ve been avoiding it because it’s really slow. I think we’ve cooked it – we made up too many dances! We put all [the songs] together and built a set sonically, and then we realised we have like ten new performance bits to make! We were freaking out about a month ago, but we’ve been slowly chipping away, pulling it all together. We just did a flip and almost killed ourselves! I’m not doing that again!”
“We nearly killed ourselves a few times,” says Bones, and Janet laughs: “It’s dangerous being in this band!”
TILT by Confidence Man is out April 1, including on JB-exclusive yellow vinyl (pictured above-right), via IOHYOU.