Cub Sport’s musical journey has been unfiltered, genuine and pure. From their debut album “This Is Our Vice” right through to their fifth studio album “Jesus At The Gay Bar” (out now) they’ve delivered honest truths, and a liberating escapism. Embodying a joyous celebration of queer love, this new record couldn’t have come at a more important time. 

“Jesus At The Gay Bar” is a retrospective body of work that captures a youthful commentary to the first moments Tim Nelson met his now-husband and band member Sam Netterfield, as well as the loved-up reflections of being a newly married couple. The up-beat collections of songs are intended to be danced to with tears in your eyes as you experience that pure euphoria. And with all the hate and negativity that is being show to the LGBTQIA+ community, and in-particular to our trans family right now, it’s never been more important to amplify art like this. 

I sat down with lead vocalist Tim Nelson to discuss the joyous energy behind the record, the important and poignant timing of its release, and share some of the intimate stories behind this record. Check it out below;

THOMAS BLEACH: We are five albums into your journey and we’ve made it to “Jesus At The Gay Bar” which is a freeing and unashamedly love record that soundtracks your queer experience through pop-dance bangers. Thinking back to the Tim that was writing “This Is Our Vice” – how much do you think this record would mean to him, and how much do you think would it surprise him?

TIM NELSON: Oh god, I could literally start crying about it. I don’t think I could have even imagined that it would be possible. I think I’d be extremely happy and proud, and very surprised at where it could go, like in confidence and in the elevation of everything musically as well. But yeah, at that point in my life I really didn’t think that I would ever tell anybody that I was gay. So like now to be genuinely so happy that I’m gay and for it to be something that I actually am so proud of, I couldn’t have imagined it.

TB: I remember seeing you live at the Caxton Street Festival in 2016, and looking back at that live performance compared to where you’re at now with the growth in your confidence, you can tell that you’re so much more comfortable in your own body now. 

TN: Yeah, it’s been a massive transformation. Caxton Street Festival was just after I came out. Like literally within weeks. I was so conscious of the way that I dressed and the way that I carried myself. I didn’t wanna do anything that made me look too flamboyant, too queer or whatever. There was always this thing of trying to figure out how I could hide myself, while at the same time trying to connect with people. There’s still further to go, but getting to this point has just been like a very cool thing to experience.

TB: This album has unintentionally come at a very important and poignant time, and the name and date has already unintentionally provoked people online. Has this reaction solidified just how important it is for us as queer people to keep amplifying our stories and others? And how pride time is still a protest to this very day? 

TN: Oh, absolutely. I feel like there’s so much further to go, and obviously our trans family within the queer community are seriously under attack right now. It’s never been more important to be visible. I feel like it’s been said so many times, but when you show up in the world as your true self and present yourself outwardly, like the way that you feel on the inside, it gives other people the confidence to feel like they can do the same and to feel more comfortable in their skin.

It is such a scary time, but I think we just have to keep pushing forward and try and embody queer joy at the same time.

TB: This body of work is very cohesive and it feels intentional in the way that it needs to be listened to from start to finish. So what was the first and last song written for this record? 

TN: I think the first song written was “Beg You”, and then shortly after that was “High For The Summer” and “Hold”. And the last one I wrote for the album was “Magic In You”.

I feel like I really had to attune myself to the energy of the music and how the songs sat alongside each other, and how it felt like listening to it all together. I wanted it to be a really smooth and cohesive listening journey, but I wanted it to be also exciting and not predictable. Sometimes when people think of cohesive they think that all the songs have the same sort of sounds and vibe, but I feel like on this album each song is its own sort of world and sound, and it’s an energy thing that makes it so cohesive rather than it being like kind of like all painted in the same colours.

TB: Were you slotting the tracks into the track listing while creating them?

TN: Oh, absolutely. From the first demo I’ve brought each song into the track list and then listened to the whole thing. Working out the sequencing and just like imagining the possibilities is one of my favourite things about the process. And I feel like that kind of informs some of the production decisions in finishing the songs as well.

TB: “Zoom” is a song that perfectly captures the pure love that charges through this whole record as well as a sense of youthfulness. Can you explain the creative process behind this track? 

TN: “Zoom” is one of the songs on the album that I did entirely on my own, right here in the studio where I’m sitting right now. Of all the songs on the album, it was the most teary one to create. I think it was because it was so much about looking back at where I was. The intro to that song is about the first time that Sam and I ever had an interaction. We were in year eight and he had just moved to my school. We were at Westfield Chermside during the first weekend after school went back, and I was standing at Boost Juice and recognised him from the other side of the booth. I went around the side and spoke to him for the first time. And for both of us that moment of seeing each other is such a vivid memory and literally like a movie moment. It feels like it was in slow motion with a light shining down on Sam or something. 

From then on I would literally get home from school and just zoom in on photos of Sam, and I was just obsessed with him. It was my dream for us to be together. And I think getting to write this song and knowing that everything I wanted from when I was a baby in high school worked out was super emotional. It obviously wasn’t this smooth journey where it just happened. There were eight years in the middle of trying to come to terms with everything, and I guess building the confidence to go against everything I was told growing up.

TB: Listening to “Hold”, I would say that this is one of your most intentional pure-pop tracks to-date. From the repetition of “say it a little louder”, to the vocal delivery of “baby it’s hurting”, it genuinely feels like a giant pop song.

TN: I would agree that it’s one of the biggest pop songs that Cub Sport has ever put out. It was actually the first song I ever wrote with my friend Nat Dunn. My vision for this album was to create a succinct 10 track pop album. And I remember the day after we first wrote that song we were up at Noosa and that night Sam and I were walking along Sunshine Beach listening to this demo out of my phone and being like… “I cannot believe that this gets to be a Cub Sport song”. Especially because in 2020 we had just put out “Like Nirvana”, which is a very introspective, experimental, ambient rock album. So listening to this straight up pop song and being like, yes, this gets to be part of the next era, was just so exciting.

TB: Let’s chat about “High For The Summer”. This is a huge club anthem, and it’s a collaboration with Shamir who is an absolute icon. What was the collaborative experience like with Shamir on this track? 

TN: “High For The Summer” was again first written right here in this room with Max Byrne aka Golden Vessel, and we wrote the whole song except for a second verse. I had collaborating with Shamir on  a manifestation list for a little while, but I knew I wasn’t going to try pursue it until I felt like I had the right thing. So yeah, I sent a pretty early version of this song to them and I just said I felt like they’d be really amazing on this song. And then I literally got vocals back from them a couple of hours later on the same day. I couldn’t believe it. We had just picked up Missy and Evie from being groomed and we were in the car on the way home when I got sent the version with the raw vocals, and I remember listening and getting goosebumps.

TB: I feel like you’re a very introspective person. So does collaboration come naturally to you in a lyrical sense? Or do you find yourself trying to write ideas first before you go into big sessions? 

TN: When I have a writing session with someone else I don’t really go in with an idea cause I like to be open to the possibilities of what can happen. I can write my own ideas on my own, but having the opportunity to have a fusion of different people’s energies is really exciting. 

In saying that for Cub Sport I do usually write all of my lyrics myself, but on the collaborations with Nat Dunn we co-wrote some of those lyrics together. She has this unspoken understanding and energy that feels quite natural with her. But because I am very introspective and I usually write about genuine personal things to me, I get pretty protective over what the message is because it feels so important to me and I want it to be fully aligned with my genuine experience. 

TB: When I listen to your discography, the feeling I get overcoming me is genuine and overwhelming love. It’s unfiltered and pure. It’s a rare thing but I can assign a different song with each relationship I’ve been in that captures the pure love I had for the person without a negative attachment.

  • “Chasin” – my first relationship. He was in the closet. I was recently out and it was youthful and pure.
  • “Butterflies” – This intoxicating love that was fast, fun, and a lil dangerous. But I was so in the moment. 
  • “Party Pill” – My longest relationship. He lived off Stafford road and there was a real “oh I am actually in love” feeling there.
  • And “Best Friend” – My most recent relationship. He felt like my best friend soulmate. No judgment, just pure love. I still smile and think of him when I hear this song. 

TN: Oh, that’s so beautiful. I’m literally getting goosebumps hearing that. Thank you so much

TB: I know that all these songs are about Sam, but is there a moment on this record that feels like the ultimate dedication of this love for you in this moment of time? 

TN: I feel like with “Zoom” and “Keep Me Safe” I’m finally getting to celebrate that love and the early parts of it that at the time were shrouded in shame and secrecy. So I’m so stoked for little me and little Sam who had these complicated feelings on the inside. It was perfect, but it was also so complicated trying to hide that from everyone. And then “Always Got The Love” feels like it captures the joy of getting to be together now. 

But for the record, not every song on this album is about my relationship with Sam. Like “Hold” for example. I don’t want people to listen to “Hold” and read into the lyrics and think that Sam did something to me. That one is one of the few times I’ve written about something that was going down around me. 

TB: You’ve always written so intimately. Have there been any moments that you’ve been surprised that other people have connected so deeply?

TN: I love that different people connect to what sometimes feels like random songs, and songs that aren’t necessarily our big singles, but it becomes so important to them. I think a really special one was releasing “Confessions” because that felt like my most revealing writing ever, and was some of the hardest things to say out loud. I remember when we put that song out and the amount of dms I got from people saying it made them feel so much more understood with their own journey of sexuality, identity and gender expression. So that was really special.

TB: Your live shows have always been these intimate yet theatrical affairs that celebrate love, emotion and music. So when you look towards the live show identity for this record what colours, lighting, theatrics are you envisioning? 

TN: I feel like it’s going to be a big level up from what we’ve done before. I think I’m getting to a new place on this journey of confidence and feeling comfortable in my skin, and I feel like that is gonna be reflected in the performance.

I also feel like these songs kind of call for that as well. Even by making this album and knowing the sort of performance that these songs require has pushed myself out of my comfort zone a bit. But I’m so ready for it. I kind of want the whole show to be quite a surprise to people, but there are some beautiful things in the works. 

TB: This album is sonically very upbeat. When you look back at your discography are there any past album tracks you’re excited to bring back out on the road, or songs that you want to bring into a new creative vision, because I can imagine songs like “Best Friend” fitting in so well. 

TN: “Best Friend “will definitely be in there. And then we’ll obviously play all of the favourites like “Come On Mess Me Up”, “Chasin’” and “Sometimes”. But I also want to have a moment in the show that’s dedicated to “Like Nirvana” with songs like “Be Your Man”, “Drive” and “Confessions”. I’m still kind of putting the set together and figuring out the way that it’s gonna flow. But yeah, I think it’s going to be very special and will touch on every era of Cub Sport. It’s going to be our Taylor Swift Era’s Tour *laughs*. 

“Jesus At The Gay Bar” is out now. Purchase HERE.

Cub Sport Australian Tour

Friday 18 August – Hindley St Music Hall, Adelaide

Saturday 19 August – Astor Theatre, Perth

Thursday 24 August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Thursday 31 August – Tanks, Cairns

Saturday 2 September – Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane

Friday 8 September – The Forum, Melbourne