Music Q&A: Cub Sport

With a new album out and northern dates in the offing, Tim Nelson, lead singer of the alt-pop band from Brisbane reveals how he no longer shies away from life's challenges and problems

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What informs your music and songwriting?
It’s all inspired by life and the universe around me. I often find that the songs I write open me up and help me understand myself. It’s like I can sing and write about things before I’m really ready to acknowledge them but writing helps me learn and heal from things.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
It’s been a huge journey. We’ve grown a lot as a band and as individuals. When we started the band back in 2011 three out of four of us were closeted and struggling to embrace our true selves. Now Zo, Sam and I are all out and proud and our personal journeys have inspired the Cub Sport story and brought us to where we are today. You can look back at our songs and music videos and see the growth as we’ve learned to embrace who we are. I think that’s really powerful.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We just locked away the music video for our next single. It’s the first music video we’ve directed ourselves and we’re really happy with how it’s come together. We’re also putting together the visuals and lighting plan for next year’s shows, which is really exciting. I managed to get about half an hour in my home studio yesterday too, which was nice. I love to create whenever I can find the time.

What can fans expect from the new album?
It feels like the most confident Cub Sport record to date. It’s a journey within itself and I feel much lighter for having written and lived it. I hope that it can be a release for other people the way it’s been for me.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Do You Realize? by The Flaming Lips except I’m also really glad I didn’t because it has to be Wayne Coyne singing it!

What’s your best lyric?
Of the music that we’ve released, I think the line “I fell in love with avoiding problems and that was the problem” from Come On Mess Me Up is my best lyric. It perfectly sums up how I was living at the time that I wrote it. I’d avoid “problems” or any sort of challenge and let fears dictate the path of my life. Writing this song was one of my first steps in acknowledging that the way I was living wasn’t serving me or allowing me to fulfil my potential.

And what’s your worst lyric?
There are lyrics on our EPs that I don’t really connect with anymore. I used straight pronouns in some of my early songs in an attempt to convince myself and others that I wasn’t gay or whatever. Although those songs don’t resonate with me now, they’ve all been a part of the journey and I know those songs still mean a lot to some of our fans.

What’s on your rider?
Kombucha, vegan feta, hummus, corn chips, fruit platter, sparkling water. It’s a very wholesome vibe, lol.

What’s the best thing about life on the road?
Getting to see so much of the world with my husband and two of my best friends and getting to meet our amazing fans.

And the worst?
Being away from our dogs Missy and Evie.

Do you find British audiences different from Australian?
Not too different, no. There’s a really specific loving vibe among pretty much all of our fans and that feeling’s universal.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
It’s pretty surreal and amazing travelling to the other side of the world and having people tell us that our music has literally saved their lives. When we started this band I only dreamed that we could have that kind of impact.

You’re playing in Manchester in February. Why should people come and see you play?
The vibe at our shows is really special and it’s something that feels like it’s always growing and developing. There’s a lot of love in the room and I feel like we grow as performers with each show we play.

Cub Sport’s new album Cub Sport is out on 18 January. They tour the UK in February, including a date at Manchester’s Yes on 15 February. For full dates visit cubsport.com

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