Cub Sport are no longer just an indie-pop band from Brisbane, Australia. They have now well and truly become a band of a whole new generation, all over the world. Their supportive and huge fanbase originated from Australia and now extends to UK, Europe, America and Asia with theirs fans travelling on an important journey of self acceptance along with the band. Over the years we have watched lead singer Tim Nelson come to terms with his sexuality and fall in love with fellow band member Sam (Bolan) Netterfield in a very raw and captivating way. Their sophomore record ‘Bats’ really introduced a whole new empowerment and growth to their music and began the next phase of their career. Their self-titled third studio album has finally been released today and is a very intimate and empowering look into Nelson’s mind post-coming-out whilst he comes to terms with whats happening around him. The record heads towards a brighter synth sound that is reminiscent to the classic stylings of Savage Garden.
I recently chatted to lead singer Tim Nelson about the growth of the band between the recording of ‘Bats’ and this record, the vulnerability that this new sonical direction unravels and we discuss the band’s exclusive Spotify album listen party which was aesthetically held at a Planetarium. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: Reflecting on the creative processes between ‘Bats’ and your self titled album, what would you say are the biggest things you’ve learnt about yourselves as a band and as individuals?
TN: I feel like a big difference that has infiltrated our personal lives, the band and the creative process is developing a strong sense of self worth and learning to believe in ourselves more. For me, writing ‘Bats’ was a process of self acceptance that detailed the time just as I came out where as this next album is more about moving beyond the original traumas and fears that are instilled in you when you’re not living as your authentic self. So I think this new album for me feels like its about moving past self acceptance and into self love. And about learning to live out of love rather than fear. I think at a creative level it gave me a new confidence for everything and it’s resulted in a lighter feeling album.
TB: Yes, because this album definitely has more of a heavier synth experimentation compared to your early material.
TN: Yeah, for sure! I think a lot of that comes down to the collaborations we did on this record with the likes of Golden Vessel. In particular, the track ‘Limousine’. I feel like that is the biggest sonic shift which is so exciting to me.
TB: The collaborations with Golden Vessel did seem a little left field for Cub Sport, so where did they originate from?
TN: Yeah five of the songs are collaborations with Golden Vessel! So when I was working on ‘Video’ with Mallrat, she was like “I really feel like you would vibe with Golden Vessel”. So she introduced us and we ended up working together a bunch over the last year. Four of the songs were co-write sessions with him but ‘Limousine’ was a song he had written the instrumentation pretty much in it’s entirety and he had it sitting there and played it to me and I loved it straight away. I recorded the vocals over it in the studio and we were both vibing it so much, it was so exciting. But after it we were trying to figure out where that song would fit because it didn’t really feel like a Cub Sport song, from what I had in mind to what Cub Sport was at the time. But I played it on repeat on the drive home and was like “no, this song has to be a Cub Sport song”.
Now that it’s sitting in-between the rest of the collection of the record it really makes sense to me. Although sonically it is in different place, it does have the same energy that ties it all together.
TB: You’ve described ‘Party Pill’ as one of the albums most vulnerable moments on the record because it’s the first time you openly told your whole story. And there is a lyric in the song that says “he quit his job to spend the day with me”. So did that actually happen?
TN: Yeah! When we first started hanging out every day, I think he quit three jobs in the space of four months just so we could hang out for the day *laughs*.
TB: That’s super romantic! What was going through your mind when Bolan did that because that must’ve been pretty overwhelming for you whilst you were still trying to come to terms with who you were?
TN: I think I was just like “hell yeah, we get to spend the day together” *laughs*. I had never dated anyone or had any sort of relationship that was more than just friends so I didn’t really have anything to compare it to. And I didn’t really have any perspective on how intense and amazing what we already had was. I don’t think I really recognised it for what it was at the time, it was just this funny thing where we were like “omg you don’t have a job anymore and we’re hanging out” *laughs*.
TB: Your premiered the album last week at an exclusive Spotify Fans First event at the Brisbane Planetarium. So that experience must have been pretty cathartic and nerve racking to sit in a room full of some of your biggest fans listening to the album for the first time whilst watching a beautiful space presentation?
TN: I was incredible! If I knew I was going to be able to show people the album for the first time in that way when I was writing it I don’t think I would’ve believed it. There’s so many things happening at the moment which are literal dreams come true. And to experience the album for the first time like that with some of the people that believe in us the most was so incredible.
TB: My favourite track on the new record is the very vulnerable ‘I’m Not Scared’. There’s a line in the chorus that goes, “I won’t pretend that I don’t feel you there, cause lately I feel you everywhere. There on my skin, like I’m breathing you in”. It’s a very romantic line that has a hint of heartbreak and understanding to it. So what’s the story behind this track.
TN: ‘Im Not Scared’ is kinda about connection to the universe around us. Over the last year when I’ve been working on this album I’ve been feeling more and more connected to everyone and everything. And I feel like that has started to go beyond the physical realm and I’ve become so much more open to the energies around me as well as the energy that I’m putting out. I feel like there is so much more to the universe around us and this song is my interpretation of what came to me when I was thinking about it all. It’s a song about feeling everything around you and not being scared of the concept of the world and our lives being more than just our bodies that we are inhabiting for this lifetime.
TB: The album begins very stripped back and raw with the acapella track ‘Unwinding Myself’, so what was the idea behind opening the record this rawly?
TN: ‘Unwinding Myself’ was another song that flowed out of me quite spontaneously. I just opened up a recording session and pressed record and started singing. I recorded it in three sections by pressing record and then stopping it to listen to what I recorded and then pressed record again and did the same thing. After I done that I went to record some synths on it but realised I was kind of singing in between keys so unless I detuned the synths it wasn’t really going to represent what I wanted it to. So I took that as a sign that it should just be an acapella song.
I recorded that just before ‘Bats’ came out and I remember we had a listening party for the record just before it came out and after it finished I put on this track and was like “I think this song is the start of the next chapter for Cub Sport”. So I sort of already had it in my mind that this was going to be how the next album opened. I had moments where I started doubting if people would pay attention to a nearly three minute acapella song so I thought about trimming it down to make it more consumable. But something I’ve been really working on over the last year is to not make decisions out of fear. And I felt like those ideas I was having was coming from a place of fear so I decided to keep the whole thing. I think that song is really about relaxing into my true myself and letting all the fears and blockages in my self conscious fade away. And I really think it sets the tone perfectly for the journey that this record is.
TB: Your last Australian tour was a massive, celebratory affair that saw you bring a massive production and atmosphere to life. So for your upcoming Australian tour you are playing even bigger venues, so how are you planning to step the live show up again this time round?
TN: Dan has already been putting together plans for it and it’s going to be huge *laughs*. I’m so, so excited! We are in Sydney at the moment doing some press things for the album and we are staying right near the Enmore Theatre and I hadn’t actually been there before so we went for a walk around it and it it just keeps going *laughs*. It really hit me in that moment just how big this tour is. It’s going to be life changing for us and hopefully people come along.
TB: The new album hears you going towards a bit of a new sonical direction, so have you thought about reimagining any of your old songs for the live show with the new dreamy synth sound?
TN: I think we will probably keep all of the songs in the same form that we’ve recorded them. I think the songs we still play from ‘This Is Our Vice’ like ‘Come On Mess Me Up’, ‘Only Friend’ and ‘Runner’ were like portal songs for us as a band to show us where this whole journey was headed. I think in that context, songs from the album and songs from this new record still fit together quite beautifully.
TB: And what new song are you most excited or nervous to perform live?
TN: We started playing ‘Party Pill’ and ‘Limousine’ live over the Falls Festival tour and they were both really amazing to play. Especially ‘Party Pill’, that just feels really special. But I’m excited for the whole album really! I think ‘As Long As You’re Happy’ is going to be a pretty special one live too. i’m excited to play that to people.
TB: What’s one feeling that you want people to walk away from the new show feeling?
TN: Uplifted and empowered! I really want the freedom that we’ve come to feel within ourselves to be a contagious thing that people feel when they come to experience the show. I think when you see someone not holding back and just being their whole self, it gives you permission to do the same. And I think the more people that embrace everything they are, the more people they are giving permission to do the same.
TB: Last time we properly spoke you guys had just got engaged, and we were still in the process of the whole plebiscite. But now you guys are married. So it must have been so empowering and cathartic for you to see so many people support you in that moment after fearing for so long who were as a person?
TN: Yeah! It is continually mind blowing to me the amount of love that comes our way. It’s something we definitely don’t take for granted, especially spending so many years feeling like we had to hide because people wouldn’t be accepting of who we truly are. It really has been an incredible and empowering 18 months. I hope that people look at how supportive people are being to us and it helps make the people that necessarily don’t feel as comfortable in themselves yet to see that there are people who will love and support them when it’s the right time for them to come out or to embrace themselves in a more public way.
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I am going to say a couple of sentences and you just say the first thing that comes to mind
TN: *Laughs* Okay, I will see how quick I can be!
TB: Our pre-show pump up song is…
TN: A vocal warm-up *laughs*.
TB: The emoji the best describes our new album is…
TN: Probably the rainbow!
TB: Oooh, nice! I was kind of expect the stars emoji!
TN: oh yeah true! Can we have two?!
TB: Yeah, I will give it to you *laughs*! Pineapple on pizza is…
TN: Good if it’s your vibe! I like it from time to time.
TB: The messiest member of Cub Sport on tour is…
TN: Maybe Zoe! But I feel like everyone is pretty good.
TB: This morning I…
TN: Went for a walk and got a coffee.
Cub Sport 2019 Australian Tour
Sat 6 April – The Tivoli, Brisbane (U18’s Matinee)
Sat 6 April – The Tivoli, Brisbane (18+)
Fri 12 April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)
Sat 13 April – Festival Hall, Melbourne (All Ages)
Thu 18 April – Metropolis, Fremantle (18+)
Sat 20 April – The Gov, Adelaide (All Ages)