“I’ve become way more confident in my creativity.”
In January, Australian alt-pop band Cub Sport will release their self-titled third album and it’s set to be their strongest yet.
2017’s ‘BATS’ saw vocalist Tim Nelson first publicly acknowledge his sexuality but it’s in their latest record where it’s set to be well and truly embraced. Having also now married keyboardist Sam “Bolan” Netterfield, it’s almost as if the band has been reborn with new confidence while remaining tightly-gripped on the boldness and energy that we’ve come to expect.
As the band gear up for the release of the new album, alongside a UK and Ireland tour in February (tickets here), we caught up with Tim to talk about their latest single ‘Sometimes’ (which is pretty damn good, btw) and whether the dynamic has changed at all now that he’s in a band with his husband.
First things first, what’s the story behind the name Cub Sport?
We started this band when we were pretty much kids and we called ourselves Cub Scouts ’cause we looked like babies. A couple of years in, we received a letter from Scouts Australia asking us to change our name, so we changed it to Cub Sport. It felt a little weird for a couple of years but I feel like we’ve grown into the name and it feels so right now.
How did you all meet?
We met when we were in high school. Zo (keyboardist/guitarist Zoe Davis), Sam and I were in school choirs and musicals together and we knew Dan (drummer Dan Puusaari) through other school friends. I’d been writing songs in school and wanted to play them with a band, so I reached out to these three to play a show with me and we’ve been playing together ever since!
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest single ‘Sometimes’?
I wrote ‘Sometimes’ in the midst of promoting our last record ‘BATS’. I was opening up about a lot of things for the first time in my life, mainly my queer identity and my personal struggles with learning to embrace my true self.
It was really amazing to see how being honest about my journey helped other people on theirs but it was a real adjustment getting used to making myself so vulnerable when I’d hidden that side of myself for so long. ‘Sometimes’ was inspired by that time and the huge array of emotions it brought on.
As the first body of work to be created since you and Sam got married, do you think this album changes any of the previous dynamics from your past work?
It feels like the perfect next step in the Cub Sport story. I feel like we’re always learning and being opened up to the world around us and the songs I write will always be a reflection of the period of my life from when it was written. ‘Cub Sport’ feels like it strengthens ‘This Is Our Vice’ and ‘BATS’ in the way they fit together as a journey.
The album explores themes of facing inner fears and living your truth. It’s something that seems incredibly welcome in today’s disorienting climate. Why is it so important to spread the message of believing in yourself?
Believing in yourself and loving yourself can transform your whole life. It took me years to learn to accept myself and then more time to learn to truly love myself, and it’s lead to a lot of positive changes in my life. When you stop living in fear and stop trying to please people who don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart, it allows the universe to bring you what your soul desires.
Is there any relation to the decision to self-title the new album? Would you say this is your most personal body of work?
It felt like the right time for a self-titled record. I’ve really harnessed my power and light like never before in this album and it feels like the purest my creative vision has been. Each of our albums has been very personal but I guess as I get to know myself more, there’s more to share so yeah, I’d say this album is our most personal to date.
If you could only use five words to describe the album, what would you go for?
Powerful, inspiring, warm, uplifting, healing.
Being an “out” musician is still a rare occurrence. How have things changed for you since being open and embracing your sexuality?
I’ve become way more confident in my creativity. I enjoy every part of being an artist and expressing myself so much more now. I’m a better performer, the songs feel more powerful and it feels like we have a real purpose – it’s an honour to be able to represent the queer community.
As an inspiration to many of your fans, which musicians inspire you?
Frank Ocean is my number one. His music hits me on a spiritual level and the fact that he’s queer makes me really happy.
You’ll be touring the UK early next year. How do you think Australian and UK crowds vary?
Our audiences are pretty similar around the world. There’s always a really loving energy amongst our fans and that vibe is universal.
What are you most excited about for your time in the UK?
We’ve really only played shows in London over the last couple of years so we’re excited to be hitting a bunch more places this time! We’re playing our first ever show in Ireland which we’re excited for!