Like a generation of soul and blues lovers before him, Josh Beagley had to get his funk fix from the import store, sifting through the monthly shipment to unearth rare gems such as Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit” or SOS Band’s “Tell Me If You Still Care.” Suffice to say that Adelaide was hardly a haven for funk and soul lovers. A bastion of Australian pub rock, with a healthy live music scene, there were literally no funk clubs or DJ’s in the early 80’s in downtown Adelaide. Yet scarcity of supply can breed obsession, and despite a childhood as a rock brat, with renowned piano-playing father Peter (Beagley) Head a cohort of Oz Rockers such as Bon Scott from ACDC, it was the funk and soul sounds emerging from New York and Minneapolis that began to enthrall.
“We would listen fanatically to whatever we could find and afford - albums like On The Rise (S.O.S Band), Prince’s “Controversy” and Patrice Rushen’s “Straight From The Heart” were worn thin, along with acts from the burgeoning UK Soul scene - Linx, Princess, Loose Ends, 52nd Street and even Haircut 100 were all big favourites.”
Growing up in the 70’s surrounded by musicians and hand-me-down gear - “I’d probably seen more gigs and concerts by the age 5 than most people do in a lifetime!” - Beagley started his own funk bands as a teenager, playing gigs through high school, before a move to Sydney in the mid 80’s saw the birth of SWOOP, probably Australia’s foremost funk act, who moved through several incarnations and degrees of success, including No.1 singles in Australia and Japan and many ARIA nominations, playing an energetic Sly Stone and Parliament-influenced funk pop.
Confection emerged from Beagley’s desire to revisit the sweet funk 12” sounds of the 80’s which inspired him, and with a few semi-formed songs ready he began working with vocalist Juanita Tippins on the recommendation of a friend. Several hours later “I Choose You” was finished and the Confection sound was born.
“We immediately hit it off an a musical and songwriting level, and Juanita’s voice was perfect for this kind of sound. Like a lot of singers with an Islander background, she has an innate yearning soulfulness - I think they all grow up on a steady diet of Donny Hathaway.”
Juanita originally hails from South Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island, moving to Sydney as a teenager and quickly developing a reputation as one of Australia’s foremost session singers, gracing albums by everyone from Sleepy Jackson, You Am I and Jimmy Barnes to Koolism, Sneaky Sound System and Jade McRae. With this great range of work she developed immaculate technical vocal skills yet can effortlessly deliver bucketloads of soul.
With a sound that harkens back to the classic producer-fuelled funk of the mid-80’s - think Jam and Lewis, Kashif, Prince, Petrus and Malavesi - but which still maintains it’s own distinctive modernity, Confection suddenly sound like a band in the right place at the right time.