Love from down under
Meet Cub Sport

Cub Sport's third self-titled album is out today. As with most albums of it’s kind, it signals not a new start, but the next steps in the career of the band, written without anything to hide; openly queer.

‘It feels like with that openness and identity comes an openness of creativity, and I kind of feel like it’s opened me up, not just to other people but to the entire universe. I just feel I understand my place a lot more now’.

Many of us today think that love and our careers exist independently: They spin on parallel axes, two of the most important aspects of modern society destined to only brush paths when you hear him stumble through the door and shout ‘honey, I’m home’ while your golden retriever scoots from under your chair at your desk, tail at full velocity.

For some, however, meeting the love of your life doesn’t result from a mutual friend’s drunk bumping of your heads, or the forwarding of a number from your mum with the message ‘this is Colin, remember I told you about him! Studied for 7 years, hard worker’ attached. As any of you who watch U.S. comedy shows will know, we all love an Office romance. Whether you prefer Jim and Pam, Dwight and Angela, Michael and Holly, even Kelly and Ryan (if what you love is a dysfunctional, hot-headed collision course to baby abandonment- no judgments), we can all agree; they make for great entertainment. This isn’t a story about a traditional office, but it is a story about love, chasing your dreams, epiphanies galore and of course, the one thing that unites us all: music.

‘So we started out released our first single at the end of 2011’… Australian Group Cub Sport’s lead singer Tim Nelson is guiding me through the band’s early beginnings. It’s the end of his day over on the other side of the world, but the start of mine, so as he’s crashing down on the sofa and taking off his shoes I’m nestled into mine with blankets and a peppermint tea- I have a cold, so try and talk as stereotypically British as possible. ‘We put out our debut album through our record label in 2016, and we got management on board around that release. I think we had a lot of personal growth to try and go through before we really understood both what we wanted to do as a band and who we were as people’.

This Is Our Vice came to much fanfare and started the band on the rollercoaster journey that would lead them all to where they are today. Alongside Tim are Zoe Davis (keyboardist/guitarist), Sam Netterfield (keyboardist) and Dan Puusaari (drummer). In musical styles, think classic indie-synth, Friendly Fires on heat, Foals let loose, with a Bloc Party edge at times that pumps into your veins and makes you want to drive right into the sunshine. It’s music made for a Hollister store, and I mean that in the most prestigious way. The angst, heart, and soul that radiates through, it’s clear to see, is genuine, and it soon becomes clear to see why- it’s been an intense couple of years.

‘I think it was through the process of writing our second album BATS,’ Tim continues, ‘that I started to be a bit more honest with my songwriting; and my bandmate Sam, who is now my husband, he was kind of picking up on what I was writing (that I was in love with him). And he was in love with me… we kinda had been since we were 17. We both had pretty religious upbringings so there was a lot of shame and internalised homophobia to work through before we were comfortable to really start living life as ourselves’.

‘Through writing that second album that put that [relationship] into motion, and halfway through that album while we were touring our first album Sam finally just said to me ‘I don’t want this to ruin our friendship but I’m in love with you, and I want to be with you’. I was like ‘yep, I’m on the same page’. We came home and came out to our families; I finished writing the second album in the month just after that, so we kind of put that album out and that was the first time I opened up about my sexual identity. It felt like a big step for us’.

Second album BATS is contemporary electronica at it’s finest, a shining light of hope through the struggles, challenges, and gambles of coming out and showing the world exactly who you are, with the odds putting everything personally and professionally at stake. Brooding, chilly, it delights, and the band shine for those who needed a bit of light at the time.

‘We put it out at a time when there were debates going on about Same-Sex Marriage here in Australia; it felt really timely because I think that the whole conversation had people asking a lot of questions about the record, and it kind of forced me to delve deeper into the record and a lot of things that I’d pushed away for my entire life. That in itself allowed a lot of growth and learning, which influenced our third album’.

‘For the second album, I had such a specific way that I wanted to express it compared to anything we’d done previously, because I guess for the first time ever I wasn’t holding myself back creatively, realising that I was queer. We went back to being independent and self-managed, and released it on our own label. It really connected with a bunch of people and became quite a meaningful release. For me, I feel like that album was a lot about self-acceptance and finding the start of the path to living our truth. I feel I really started to understand the importance of self-love and learn to let go of a lot of things in my subconscious that was holding me back. Along that journey we have picked up a following that we didn’t have at the start, it’s going really well in Australia and we’re really committed to seeing that grow around the world. Our plan is to keep going back until we reach global success’.

‘The album we released in 2016 kind of feels like the start of the journey, of living from fear and looking at the world as something to be intimidated. The opening lyrics to the first single we released on the album were ‘looking at the world is not inspiring, it’s intimidating’, and then the song off the first album that really connected with people here in Australia is called Come On, Mess Me Up. The lyric ‘I fell in love with avoiding problems’ I feel, paint the perfect picture of that time in my life where I would always take the road of avoiding things I saw as problems and facing my fears; instead of allowing love and the things I really wanted… allowing myself to go for that’.

And that brings us to Cub Sport, the third, self-titled album out today. And, I have to say, what a banger of a record it is. It brings everything that we’ve been missing since we all turned to EDM and Dance a few years ago; heart.

Lead single Sometimes is a punchy dreamcatcher that wraps you up in all of its synthy, almost-at-times-spoken-word web of self-reflection and introspection before belting into a fist-pumping chorus that effervesces the confident, no-fucks attitude of titans like Paramore. Tracks such as Limousine tackle the issues of identity and social media, with lyrics like ‘my emotions are tattooed, they’re on the internet’, casually slipping such topics through a sexy, sultry track that slicks around your waist and at times, could almost fit into a Glitterbox set. (This one is my personal favourite, at the moment). ‘I couldn’t slow it down now, not even if I wanted to, but all this _ I do, I do it for me and you’.

Summer Lover screams LGBT unfulfilled heartache as ‘I’ve never had a summer with another’ swims around ‘I’m gonna take you to the beach’, invoking those first chords of true love that you feel when you’ve found something truly special, something that stops you longing for paradise as it’s finally within arms’ reach. I won’t spoil the rest of the album for you, but I promise, like all things we wait for, it’s worth it.

‘We get a lot of older fans who’ve been with us right from the start, just saying how proud they are and I think it’s been a transformation of all the visual aspects as well as the music and live shows. It’s like we’re completely different and to who and what we were at the start’ Tim finishes. ‘I hope that our journey of growing into ourselves and flourishing, and embracing how we are instead of pushing it away, I hope that can inspire other people to be themselves. I feel like there are so many pressures to be a certain way and I hope our transformation as a band can inspire people to take a leap of faith and be who they wanna be.

We’ve got the album coming out soon, which is gonna be super exciting and we’re gonna be here in Australia for a couple of weeks around the release. Then we’re heading straight to Europe and the U.K., that will be the first part of touring for the record. I think that 2019 is going to hold a lot more growth and probably a lot more learning as well. We’re ready to take cub sport to the next level, and with all of our visuals and the state show, I feel like this next album is brimming with energy and I can’t wait to bring that to the live stage and the people that are connecting to the music.’.

Armed with art that’s going to be the soundtrack of endless road trips, awkward hand-holding and ‘accidental’ kisses, along with talent, charisma, companionship and true love, it seems that Cub Sport are finally emerging to their truest selves, in all manners. A lesson here to be learned? Be you, be more you than you ever thought you could be. And what does Tim think?

‘I feel like we can do it’.

Too damn right we can. Stream Cub Sport’s ‘Party Pill’, bellow.

Words by James Hawkridge / Photography by Jennifer Medinaar

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