With the release of their massive new album ‘Confident Music For Confident People’, Sugar Bones of the electrifying band Confidence Man sat down with Rabbit Radio’s Emily Hollitt to talk about the album, the supporting tour and everything in between!
RR: Let’s start by talking about your new album ‘Confident Music For Confident People’. How does it feel having that out in the world?
SB: It feels great. You know, it takes a lot of time to sort of get everything finished and then you sit on it for a while, so once it’s actually out in the world it feels great. It’s like giving birth or something.
RR: Perfect, and I see you guys are headed off for that album on a MASSIVE tour. Which shows are you the most excited about?
SB: Um, I don’t know like there’s so many good ones, I really couldn’t say. There’s a few in Europe like Primavera and one in New York, Gov Ball. There’s a bunch of festivals that have just been sort of bucket list festivals that I’ve really wanted to play and like getting to do all these is super surreal and awesome.
RR: And which ones are the bucket list ones?
SB: Definitely Primavera, Gov Ball in New York and um Pukkelpop in Belgium? That’s another really good one. But yeah, there’s a few.
RR: So all of them?
SB: Yeah all of them!
RR: Speaking of your life shows as well, your Splendour set was hailed as one of the most exciting of the entire festival. A lot of your energy and appeal comes from the live sets you do as well. How much, would you say, when you write your songs, are influenced by how they will be translated live?
SB: Um, funny I think that’s a good question. I don’t think we really think about it that much when we’re writing. With writing, we’re sorting of just working on making the song as good as it can be and yeah we never really seem to think about how it’s going to be live and then we sort of get the song finished and then, once it’s done, we have to sort of make the live stuff around it. So yeah, it’s pretty much two separate processes.
RR: Yeah, that’s really cool! And how do you come up with your concepts? Do you start with the music, do you start with the lyrics, do you start with the idea or do you just kind of, see what happens?
SB: Usually we’ll just got lists of stupid song names that we just sort of work through so it could just start from a single world like “Bubblegum” or something. But other times we have like a little groove or something that sort of kick starts the whole song. So, it is a bit of a mix but usually we just start with a bunch of stupid song names, that’s the best point.
RR: That’s really cool, love that! So, your sound is very unique and very particular. Like, if I heard one of your beats start playing I’ll know it’s one of your songs. Where do you sort of draw inspiration from is there an era, are there some artists or has it just… happened?
SB: Um, yeah, kinda all over the place. Like, a whole range of stuff like dance music from probably like the last four decades pretty much. Yeah, a whole range of different things. Everyone’s got pretty similar tastes that are into a whole bunch of different artists so yeah it’s pretty much all over the shop. A big mix.
RR: Perfect! Another interesting question with things I’ve noticed about your songs. With the current climate of the industry at the moment, there’s a lot of stuff happening for women. Your songs, with a lot of them I find, unless it’s just part of the ‘confident’ brand, can be probably translated to being pretty empowering like ‘Better Sit Down Boy’ is literally putting men in their place. Is that an intentional thing?
SB: Yeah, it is a bit. Like, Janet is obviously a very strong woman who’s, you know, pretty much the front of the band, and yeah, we want the songs to be empowering for everyone, really, but it’s the guys that sort of need a bit of a talking to right now. So, yeah, we sort of like to push the envelope there which is probably necessary.
RR: Love it! As well as that, you and Janet have a very particular way you dress. Is that drawn from anyway or have you kind of just gone for gold with however you feel like on the day?
SB: I think Janet sort of had strong ideas at the beginning about what we’re gonna look like and dress like and we’ve just kind of developed it a little bit. But yeah I think the main thing is like ‘naughty cute’ is the driving principle behind all the outfits.
RR: That’s probably the best way to word it ‘naughty cute’ I love that. Along with that, your music also really differs from a lot of other music nowadays like most of the stuff you do is spoken rather than sung. What kind of mixed reactions have you gotten?
SB: Yeah we’ve had a whole range of different reactions. It’s mostly more about the girl power stuff but musically with people, with the album out now, get to see a bit more of the range of what we do. Yeah, which is definitely another nice thing about having the album out is you can get a better grip on what you’re doing. But yeah, that just sort of comes from a place of wanting to do things a bit differently as well and sort of deliver something that’s a bit more about the attitudes and sort of seeing a perfect scale of something.
RR: Yeah, perfect! And you guys, as well, particularly after the Splendour set, kind of just jumped up. You guys were everywhere pretty quickly. How did you kind of adapt to that level of rapid change?
SB: Well, I guess, I don’t know, we had to just sort of embrace it I guess. It’s pretty exciting when something like that happens. And, the initial thing was at Golden Plains, which is a big Victorian Festival, I think a month or two before we did Splendour and that’s the one that sort of went really crazy sort of out of the blue and, um, it sort of made us sell a bunch of tickets for the tour we had after that. And that was just super unexpected but yeah really exciting and all you can do really is just embrace it.
RR: And I guess you’re having to do that a lot as well with your personal life. Do you find a lot in your life has changed or do you still feel pretty much the same but just a little busier?
SB: Yeah, no, I think definitely things have changed a bit. It’s nice to know that I might actually be able to make a bit of a career out of music and not just happen out of a side interest kind of thing. Like, we can focus and spend all our time on it which is really exciting. But, yeah, I guess like I still feel kind of the same. Just, like, lucky.
RR: Yeah, Perfect! Now we’re gonna kind of break away from all the album questions and do some fun stuff because I’m sure you’ve probably talked about your album every day so much, which isn’t a bad thing ya know. So, I’m gonna ask, would you rather have a head the size of a massive watermelon or the size of a ping pong ball?
SB: I guess a big head. I’d probably want a big head. It’s gonna be hard for people to like, ya know, hear or like make out your face much if it’s the size of a ping pong ball. So I’d go big head!
RR: Perfect. And would you rather, if you had to get in a fight with one animal, would you rather face a mouse sized bear or a bear sized mouse?
SB: Ummm, I would have to say… a mouse sized bear? Because you could just, kind of like, put it inside a jar and put some holes in it and half like a little friend there.
RR: Perfect! And would you rather only have thumbs or big toes?
SB: Ahhh… Thumbs, I guess/ That’s what really got us where we are today as the human race and yeah I think they’re probably a bit more useful than toes overall.
RR: What’s one weird fact about yourself that no one really knows?
SB: I’m like a shy guy. I’m like a shy person. I’m not actually, like, overly confident, in life. Nah, just joking, I am. I can’t do that, that’s off brand apparently.
RR: What’s your most secret guilty pleasure song?
SB: Um, guilty pleasure song is probably Toxic by Britney Spears?
RR: Absolute banger!
SB: Probably one of the greatest songs ever written.
RR: Probably the greatest song ever written!
SB: Yeah, yeah I’d back you up on that, that’s probably it.
RR: I love it. If you weren’t in one of the hottest bands right now, what career path do you think you might have followed?
SB: Ummm, I would probably be like in a bush shack somewhere playing the banjo on the front deck.
RR: Brilliant career path! Umm, if you had to say there was one album that influenced your life the most, which album would you say that would be?
SB: Ooh, I don’t know! That’s a really hard one. Probably something that really showed me a lot of good music. Like, you know those compilations from back in the day? Like “Hits 2013” or something on CD.
RR: Yeah, Hits for Kids, they were my ones.
SB: Yeah they had like a bunch of great tracks on them like they had The Flaming Lips and old Madonna stuff and I think Jeff Buckley was on there? Like, I just remember this one CD that showed me like 7 great artists that I still love today.
RR: And what’s your all time favourite movie?
SB: All time favourite movie? I really like ‘Dead Man’, a Jim Jarmusch film starring Johnny Depp and Neil Young did the soundtrack and yeah it’s just all my favourite things in one spot.
RR: Perfect! And, do you have a secret celebrity crush?
SB: Um, a secret celebrity crush. Hmmm…. Um probably, uh, Penelope Cruz?
RR: Fair, absolutely fair.
SB: Yeah, she’s pretty much classic beauty right there.
RR: And you’ve played at a fair few massive festivals and stuff all around the place. Have you ever felt completely star struck by somebody else?
SB: Yeah! We were lucky enough to meet Gillespie from Primal Scream, a great English band that’s like a real big one for me and like the rest of the guys and we’re on the same label as them in the UK, Heavenly Records. Well, they were with when it all kind of started with that big beat rave stuff. But yeah, they were playing at a festival in New Zealand and yeah I got to meet them and yeah I probably sounded like a complete idiot because it was a slightly start struck moment.
RR: That’s so good! And you also play all around the place at a lot of different places. Have you ever had a kind of really weird interaction with a person that’s just kind of stuck with you?
SB: Um, I don’t know. There’s probably been so many it’s hard to like remember an individual one. Like, you meet a whole bunch of people. Usually it’s great but every now and then you do get super awkward run ins when you least expect it. But yeah I couldn’t tell you a single one because there’s been so many.
RR: How do you kind of deal with that because I guess you’ve got to kind of keep up this persona as well with your image. Do you just wing it or?
SB: Yeah, just wing it. Just keep talking. Smile and nod… and slowly walk away.
RR: Perfect! And what’s your favourite thing about being a part of Confidence Man?
SB: I guess just being lucky enough to travel all over the place and make people feel really good out on the dancefloor and, yeah do it with a bunch of really good friends so, yeah, it’s pretty great!
RR: Perfect! So I guess we’re nearly at the 15 minute mark. Do you have any words of wisdom to send the listeners off with?
SB: Um, love life and live love.
RR: Thank you so much for you time!
SB: Thank you so much for the call!
RR: Perfect, seeya!
You can check out the full interview with Sugar Bones or listen to the new album 'Confident Music For Confident People' below:
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