Following the release of their third studio album, Australian four-piece Cub Sport – vocalist Tim Nelson, his husband Bolan on the keys, Zoe Davis on guitar & keyboards, and drummer Dan Puusaari – have just completed a European and UK tour, including a sold out show at London’s Omeara. If you missed out then you should quite rightfully be feeling the FOMO – the evening was mesmerising, honest, empowering and energetic – but all’s not lost – they’re back later in the year to play Scala.
We caught up with Tim to discuss the new material, coming out again, and what to expect from their return to London:
Congratulations on an incredible, SOLD OUT gig in London last week. How was the evening for you?
Thank you so much! It was one of my favourite shows we’ve played. It’s a bit surreal selling out shows so far from home and seeing people singing along and connecting with it in such a special way. We feel incredibly grateful.
The evening begins with Unwinding Myself, a vocal only track which completely silenced the room. That must be quite a daunting task..?
I do feel exposed opening up the show with Unwinding Myself but I feel like that’s the power of it – there’s nowhere to hide. Feeling the energy of a whole room silently sharing in that vulnerable moment can almost feel trance-like. It has almost become a ceremonious opening of what we bring through our set.
The track also acts as the opener to the album. How important is creating an album to you, rather than a collection of tracks?
I feel like the the selection of songs for an album and the order they’re in can unveil even more beauty and power in the individual tracks – they’re the types of albums that I become obsessed with.
I approach writing as a limitless experience where it can sound and feel like anything and take any form. I never really plot out or plan how I want an album to take shape. I feel like having an open approach to writing allows for a vast selection of songs with a common thread of purity in inspiration. What makes a great album for me is an energetic link between songs rather than a specific sonic continuity.
Cub Sport — the album — is your third studio album but first self titled, was this an important decision? Does this feel like the most Cub Sport album to date?
I feel like I’ve stepped into my identity and learned to love and respect myself and my creativity – this album definitely feels like a reflection of that, so it felt right for it to be self-titled. It definitely feels the most Cub Sport. For me it feels like our true arrival.
The albums follow the story of the relationship of yourself and Bolan, and as well as the lyrical content the music’s changed too — from the indie pop of the debut, to a more brooding, experimental sound on Bats, and the more upbeat, euphoric, r’n’b tinged recent third album. Does the sound reflect the lyrics and the mood within the band at that time, or is that separate and more of a group effort?
I feel like the songs are very much a reflection of the periods of my life that I’ve written each album in, both lyrically and sonically. I love the growth and what feels like a journey from self-doubt to self-acceptance to self-love.
Come Out — from Cub Sport — was described at the gig as another coming out track, and accepting yourself as well as your sexuality. Have you found this to be a feeling shared by others who’ve had to announce or accept their sexuality?
Yeah people are really connecting with that song and I think that’s because feeling like you need to fit a certain societal expectation is a universal feeling whether you’re cis, trans, gay, straight, or anywhere in between. A girl came out to us as bi at the merch table after a show we played last night – a realisation she said she properly came to terms with while we were playing Come Out. I love being able to play a part in these realisations becoming more of a celebration rather than it feeling like a crisis, which was my experience when I started to realise I was attracted to the same sex.
Have you found that your coming out in the spotlight has helped others?
It’s been said many times but when you see someone unapologetically being their true self it gives you permission to do the same. Being ourselves and being proud of our story is inspiring other people to be proud too and it’s something we’re so grateful we get to share.
Party Pill is a gorgeous account of your relationship, but for every inter-band relationship love song there’s a The Winner Takes It All. How much did the future of the band have to come into the decision of the relationship?
I think we both knew that admitting our love for each other and being together wasn’t going to jeopardise the band. And even if it was, you can’t let fear of the unknown stop you from living in love – whether that’s being with the person you love, being open about who you are and loving yourself, changing career to do something you really love – it’s easy to let our fears hold us back from love but being conscious of choosing love over fear is a powerful shift.
For fans who attended the Omeara date, or those who couldn’t get ticket, what can be expected when you return to Scala later this year? (I’d LOVE to hear I’m On Fire and Temporarily.)
We’re so excited to come back to London in October and play our biggest headline show by far at Scala! We’ll be playing even more songs off the new album when we return as well as some favourites off our first two albums.
You started out as an independent band and have remained that way, what advice would you give to other bands struggling to make a break, and contemplated going DIY?
Yeah! We started our independent and self-managed then signed a record deal and management deal before we put out our first album, then returned to being self-managed and releasing through our own label for our second and third albums. I think my number one piece of advice to any artist would be to be yourself and trust your intuition. Look inward not outward but in saying that, never pass up the opportunity to meet, discuss and learn from others. The more advice an perspective you can get the better but at the end of the day it has to feel right for you.