Confidence Man’s exuberant frontwoman Janet Planet only has one mode: Full Send. Her band has announced a 42-date international tour, an album is about to be released and their streams are skyrocketing. Post COVID (mostly) things escalated quickly.
“Everybody wants to throw down,” says Planet (real name Grace Stephenson). After two years, her adopted home of Melbourne has finally emerged from a COVID cocoon and she’s on her feet. “My motto is: do it now. It’s also overwhelming because it’s like doing everything now.”
Fresh from some costume fittings for Confidence Man’s forthcoming album tour, Planet is emitting an eager, boys-wait-til-you-that-shit glow. In a single 40-minute Zoom chat, she mentions getting drunk 11 times, taking shrooms while writing the second album, Tilt, and insinuates that they had some very big nights with Noel Gallagher (more on him later).
Planet is flanked in the group by his singer/dancer/viber Sugar Bones and musicians Clarence McGuffie (Jungle Giants’ Sam Hales, also her real-life fiancé) and Reggie Goodchild (Confidence Man’s main songwriter and Logic Pro expert, also her real-life brother) .
Both McGuffie and Goodchild stole their stage names right off gravestones. That’s about as much as we can get from them: Janet and Bones are pretty much the frolicking, contorting stars of the Confidence Man show. She gives us a glimpse of a new outfit: “While gardening, I had the idea for a new stage costume. I started using the wooden pegs as mini-mechanical shoulders and did a few jerky movements.”
It sounds a lot like David Byrne stop making sense, NME says. she nods.
“The problem is that I can only do one song at a time in these new outfits. I have a million ideas like this; like revolving floors,” she says. “Now I’ve got some money, you can’t hold me back. It’s dangerous, you don’t want me to have too much money.”
“I feel like there’s an edge to the pop music we write. It’s weird and shaky.”
Confidence Man was born out of a creeping suspicion that members of The Belligerents, Moses Gunn Collective and Jungle Giants might have more fun — and more success — with an upbeat, slightly cranky band made up of a sexy front-line duo and two shadowy characters consists of hitting in the back.
Formed in Brisbane in 2016, they followed the above battle plan and were quickly signed to UK label Heavenly Recordings for their demos.
Confidence Man’s career went from zero to turbo very quickly. The quartet had an unlikely break at the 2017 Golden Plains festival when McGuffie and Goodchild wore black beekeeper headgear as Bones and Planet threw shapes forward and tricked 10,000 people with snake spells into deep during the breakdown for “Boyfriend (Repeat)”. to duck. .
Planet held back the revelers like William Wallace brave heart before leaping into the air and yelling “Down!” when the band resumed. The crowd formed and just like that, Confidence Man became the talk of the weekend.
Then came the setback.
In the bad ol’ days, before triple j hosted their Facebook page, Confidence Man were big poppies mowed down with a scythe after lackluster footage of Splendor in the Grass surfaced with the caption: ‘This is Australia’s best up and coming live band ?
The answer was a resounding no. “If that’s for the best…then we’re screwed as a nation,” was the most popular comment.
But Confidence Man licked her wounds and got on with the work, releasing “Confident Music For Confident People” in 2018, which featured caustic dance-pop tracks “Don’t You Know I’m In The Band” and “Better Sit Down.” brought out boy’.
Scornful keyboard warriors couldn’t stop the tour dates. European shows led to an eventful night at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound, where they emerged as nobody and won over a crowd of 15,000 frothing Spaniards at 2am.
They released the stopgap “Does It Make You Feel Good” in 2019 and hit the road again – then the coronavirus stopped everything.
It was a good thing, we’re a little surprised to hear Planet say it.
“We’ve been touring non-stop. The label said, ‘Where’s the album?’ We had no time. I realized that I’ve been playing these songs for almost six years,” she says. “I wanted to bring in new costumes and make new songs. I had accumulated ideas.”
So they all moved into a house in the Victorian suburb of Thornbury with one goal: to write the album.
It was a wild time, Planet recalls: “We were all on JobKeeper; Everyday was 9-5 jamming…then we got drunk and jammed at night. It saved us, we had something to strive for.
“Without that, we would have gone insane. The other thing that saved us was DJ sets here and there,” she adds, laughing.
“[Noel Gallagher] recently sent through: ‘You guys support me at all my shows! Can’t wait to hang out!’ I’m like, oh no – I’m getting so down and embarrassing myself.”
TILT, out April 1, takes its cues from the resurgence of high-energy ’90s rave – a sound that’s currently resonating with those who think a speeder is long overdue.
“I feel like there’s an edge to the pop music we write. It’s weird and it’s shaky. It’s pop on the brink,” says Planet, dropping the album title with a serious expression. “The motto of the album is to combine this gentle, feminine energy with this hot, feminine energy.”
‘Angry Girl’ is an example of the latter, Planet Snapping”All I see is red, from the chain, from the drugs.” She mixes the two on ‘Break It Bought It’: “Keep your hands to yourself because if you break it, you’ve bought it.”
As Planet says, “It’s aggressive and bossy and, you know, takes the lead.”
Confidence Man will take the bangers on their Australian album tour in August, backed by the Korean-Australian rap crew and the other hard parties from 1300. But before that, they’ll be playing the UK’s Glastonbury Festival for the second time. “Finger fingers Noel [Gallagher] introduce us to the stage,” she says. But even if he doesn’t, he has them as special guests when he hosts the Margate Summer Series in early June.
“Noel still texts me all the time,” Planet says cheerfully. “The other day he sent through, ‘You guys support me on all my shows! Can’t wait to hang out!’ I’m like, oh no – I’m getting so down and embarrassing myself. He still goes hard.”
Speaking of rock star friends, NME asks Planet to confirm the rumor that Confidence Man has a recording of The Edge of U2 playing the tambourine they plan to use. She makes us even better.
“Noel and The Edge are actually both hidden somewhere on the record,” she says, then pauses. “I’m not supposed to talk about it. You need to research the YouTube comments.”
300,000 Glasto fans are waiting for Worthy Farm – but Planet is already thinking about the next thing for Confidence Man. “Part of our charm is that we are who we are. We still have real pop ambitions to do a full pop album; I think we could get away with it and still look cool,” she muses.
“I guess we’ll be sold out pretty soon. We were born to sell ourselves, to be honest.”
Confidence Man’s “TILT” is out April 1 through I OH YOU/Heavenly/PIAS. They tour the UK in May – with a stop in Glastonbury – and Australia in August
https://www.nme.com/features/music-features/confidence-man-album-tilt-3186127?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=confidence-man-album-tilt Aussie party starters go all out on ‘Tilt’ on their ‘weird and wonky’ sophomore album