After COVID-19, lockdowns, and some rotten luck, Confidence Man is stepping out with a new record deal, and fresh tunes.
Announced Wednesday (Oct. 27), the Australian indie electronic act signs with I OH YOU, the red-hot label whose roster includes DMA’S, Jack River, Violent Soho and DZ Deathrays.
“We feel lucky,” frontman Sugar Bones tells Billboard. “We’ve always loved everything they’ve done. It feels like a really nice match for us. We’re stoked.”
The new deal comes ahead of “Holiday,” the first track lifted from Confidence Man’s forthcoming sophomore album.
Expect this “Holiday” to blow your hair back. “We’ve been wanting to try a ‘hands in the air’ banger forever. Everybody does. It’s quite difficult,” Bones explains. “But for some reason, this song has dropped out of the heavens.”
Self-produced, and mixed by Ewan Pearson, “Holiday” was “pretty much perfect from the get-go,” he notes.
Speaking over the phone from Sydney, singer Janet Planet describes the new cut as “Underworld meets M.I.A.” True, that’s an unusual vibe, she admits, “but for some reason it works.”
“Holiday” is due out Nov. 11. Confidence Man “embody everything an I OH YOU artist should,” comments label founder Johann Ponniah, “they make music we love, they’re ambitious, they challenge themselves and their audience, and they have an unwavering commitment to their vision. To officially welcome them to the I OH YOU family today is an absolute joy.”
I OH YOU, winner of best independent label at the 2021 ARIA Awards and an affiliate Mushroom Group, represents Confidence Man for Australia and New Zealand. The outfit remains with Heavenly/PIAS for U.K., Europe and North America and with Zync/Round Hill publishing worldwide (excluding ANZ).
Confidence Man’s as-yet unnamed second LP will be the followup to 2018’s Confident Music for Confident People, a 41-minute-long party-starter that caught the attention of groovers around the globe.
The LP won best independent dance/electronica album at the AIR Awards, and tracks from it were synced to campaigns for Apple and IKEA.
The following year, Confidence Man’s 2019 standalone track “Does It Make You Feel Good?” scored an NME Award nomination for best Australian song and they were shortlisted for best Australian band, a nod to their floor-filling powers.
Just as the act was ready to blow the barn-doors off, the pandemic arrived. And Confidence Man was grounded. The outfit did get away new music in 2020, the sassy “First Class Bitch,” though full-scale international touring was moth-balled.
“It was like three stages of grief that we went through,” explains Bones. “We felt like we were on the cusp, about to go on an epic tour, and then it all hit. The shit hit the fan. That was the first stage of loss. We worked through it, reached anger, and now we’re at the point where, ok, at least we’ve ultimately had the time to write an album in this endless lockdown.”
As borders reopen, and fans return to live shows, Confidence Man is ready to pick up where they left off. Australian tour dates are locked in, and shows across Europe and the U.K. (including the O2 Forum) are coming up.
“Luckily a lot of the opportunities that COVID crushed have been resurrected and 2022 and 2023 is shaping up to be another big step up for the band in the U.K. and Europe,” explains Stu McCullough, director and owner of Confidence Man’s management firm, Amplifire. “Some amazing shows opportunities to share soon.”
Planet is amped. “In the end, we were happy to have the gap because we actually got to write stuff,” she enthuses. “Everything we were meant to do in the past two years is now probably happening in the space of six to 12 months. So we’ll just have a very busy next year. We’ve got new costumes, and we’re getting ready to play new music which is awesome for us.”