Confidence Man: 'We're chasing a feeling rather than a genre'
- Cheri Amour
- 4 May 2020
Aidan Moore, frontman of the Australian genre-bending outfit, speaks about finding freedom and delivering a universal message to fans
'I've got the Scottish blood in me,' says Confidence Man frontman Aidan Moore from his couch back home in Melbourne. 'I grew up with all the folklore so I always feel a weird connection to Scottish people.' Moore, who makes up one-quarter of the Australian dance-pop giants, is speaking fondly of his sunshine-chasing Gran who spends her time between Ayr on Scotland's west coast and down under in Australia. But it's not just Granny Moore who's off on jet-setting adventures.
Since Confidence Man gaily bounced onto our stereos back in 2017, they've taken in everywhere from the shrines of Japan to house music-loving havens in the heart of Paris. In fact, Moore is fresh from a ten-day writing trip as plans for the band's much-anticipated second album unfold. Joined by a motley crew of chart-topping writers – Irish poet Simon Carmody of the Golden Horde; producer and one-half of electronic duo LAMB, Andy Barlow; and the New Radicals' Gregg Alexanders (the man behind Sophie Ellis Bextor's 'Murder on the Dancefloor') – the group holed up in Barlow's studio for a songwriting session in the very location of our first encounter with Confidence Man, last year's Great Escape Festival in Brighton. Despite a roster of top Aussie acts taking over the festival's Saturday afternoon, the band's Deelite-infused dance party certainly left an impression.
Firstly, Confidence Man remains one of the only acts at a showcase festival to dedicate some of their precious 30-minute set to a costume change. 'That was an executive decision,' Moore explains over the phone with an abashed laugh. 'We're trying to do work on the, you know, rip one arm off and then the other but we haven't got the budget yet.' Then there's the fact that Moore, or Sugar Bones as he goes by on stage, never saw himself as much of a dancer – a fact that seems mind-blowing when you consider the band's notorious live shows. 'When the idea was suggested that we were gonna start synchronised dancing with no instruments, I was just terrified,' he admits with another nervous chuckle. 'There's no way in hell.' Only, of course, alongside fellow vocalist Janet Planet (Grace Stephenson) and bandmates Reggie Goodchild and Clarence McGuffie, that's exactly what came to pass. 'I'm still kind of confused when I look back at it all but somehow it happened,' he recalls. Somehow, across multiple time zones, Moore is now topless in front of thousands popping a champagne cork as the sugary sounds of notorious single 'Bubblegum' blast out.
Confidence Man's beating heart – the sassy, schoolyard interplay between Moore and Stephenson – was actually born out of the Aussie psych scene that gave us Tame Impala and Pond (the pair previously performed together as part of Moses Gunn Collective). What started as a lazy Sunday muck-around quickly became something with a bit more clout. The hedonistic liberation the band conjures up with their just-shy-of-Eurovision co-ordinated costumes is all part of their inner vision. 'You're at a festival. You're a few drinks deep. You feel good but what do you want at midnight?' And with that, Confidence Man became the answer to the best after-party we could hope for, and everyone is welcome. Moore admits that's the beauty of their songwriting. 'We're not stuck in a box trying to write a certain style. We're chasing a feeling rather than a genre.'
That feeling is in full-force across debut Confident Music for Confident People. Singalong anthem, 'C.O.O.L. Party' summons up a frat-fuelled Friday night as if you're there by the beer kegs and bowls of cheese puffs, while 'Don't You Know I'm In A Band' finds Moore dripping with Right Said Fred's sultry attitude ('We wanted a piece of that'). After all, Confidence Man has strutted into the electronic music scene fairly naively with their rudimentary beats and gay abandon turning what could feel like a very polarised space into an all-access, inclusive love-in. As Moore wryly points out: 'Being able to make it a universal message rather than an egotistical message is fun, even though you do it in the most egotistical way.'
Against a backdrop of political division and uncertainty, Confidence Man is spreading the arms-flailing, hip-swinging kind of joy the world needs right now. And that's something to write home to Granny about.
Confident Music for Confident People is out now on Heavenly Recordings. Confidence Man's April tour has been rescheduled to September.