PHOTO CREDIT: Jennifer Embelton
I was not aware of the stories and emotions that infuse…
Cub Sport’s new album, BATS. Tim, the band’s lead, talks about how factors like his coming out affected some of the moments you hear – Chasin’ was the first song penned after that revelation. He talks to me about his relationship with band-mate Bolan (Sam); how the Brisbane gang got together – and how the music has developed since the early days.
I ask whether Cub Sport are coming to the U.K. and what the remainder of the year has in store; whether there is a song from the album that stands out in the heart – and how it feels knowing the band’s music translates (and is loved) around the world.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! Doing well, thank you!
My week is off to a good start. Just hanging out at home with my dogs Missy and Evie; listening to music; catching up on emails - chatting to you!
PHOTO CREDIT: @jameshmatthews
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name’s Tim - I’m the lead singer/songwriter in Cub Sport. We’re an independent Pop group from Brisbane, Australia.
Our music is dreamy/warm/chill-Pop with some R&B/Soul influences.
Can I ask about the band-name, ‘Cub Sport’? Is there a particular story behind that choice?
When we launched the band back in 2011, we were called ‘Cub Scouts’ but, after receiving a legal letter from Scouts Australia, we swapped out ‘Scouts’ for ‘Sport’!
We ran through hundreds of different options - but 'Sport' felt like the right vibe.
O Lord is your new single and pretty beautiful. Tell me how it came together and what the background is?
The recording process for O Lord was really spontaneous - I just opened up a recording session, pressed record and started singing into the mic. I followed the vibe from the intro; recorded in the synths and developed it further. This song really came to life when we developed it in the studio with John Castle. He pulled out (all of these) drum loops he had archived from the 1990s; cut them up and built the beat that you hear throughout the choruses/verse. It’s the perfect balance of a chilled vibe but with a certain exciting energy to it.
It took writing and recording O Lord for my own feelings to really make sense to me. I wrote it a few months after coming out - it was a really intense time of blended emotions of joy and fear - I was finally in a relationship with the love of my life and it felt like I suddenly had everything – but, what I didn’t expect, was the feeling of then having everything to lose.
It’s a confusing combination of feelings to convey but this song brought some clarity to what I was experiencing.
The track has gained coverage from sources in Australia and the U.K. Is it quite humbling knowing your music is connecting with reviewers/journalists?
The response has been so encouraging.
I felt quite exposed releasing this song and sharing the context around it - but the way people have empathised and connected with it has been really special.
I believe Chasin’, the next single, is coming soon. What is the story of that song and is there a reason Cub Sport are so productive right now?
Yes! Chasin’ feels like the start of the BATS story - it was one of the first songs I wrote that made it onto the album. I wrote it after coming to the realisation that I was in love with my best friend/band-mate Bolan (Sam). I had been away on a writing trip and missed Bolan a lot - I realised that I didn’t want to spend a single day of my life without him.
I had barely admitted to myself that I was gay - so there was a lot to work through. It felt like my life was kind of all over the place and I didn’t know what I was chasing in life or why - writing this song was a pivotal first step in being honest with myself and figuring it all out.
As for our productivity; I guess I write songs to process whatever I’m going through. When I’m writing/recording, I’m never in the mindset of ‘okay, I need to write a song’. I kind of (just) try to let my feelings flow - and I find that I’ve been more productive since becoming comfortable with this process.
BATS is the new album. Give me an insight into the types of stories and events that go into the album? I believe an inter-band relationship/love inspired one song?
A large portion of BATS is based around the development of my relationship with Bolan.
It starts at Chasin’ - which is when I started to acknowledge that I was gay and in love with Bolan - to processing those feelings (Look After Me); to finally acknowledging the situation a year later (Crush) and then coming out and getting together (Bats, Solo II and Banyo Blue).
The development of our relationship, in conjunction with the overarching feelings of uncertainty that have surrounded me throughout most of my adult life, resulted in an inspired, emotionally-heightened time in my life.
I feel like I’ve been able to channel that into this album.
PHOTO CREDIT: Savvy Creative
Is there a song from the album you all hold dearest? Which is the one that means most to you all?
Bats is a really special one for me...
I feel like it captures the warmth and energy of being in love - and I’ll be able to relive this exciting time forever through this song, in particular.
PHOTO CREDIT: Rovel Hagos
Your music has evolved since 2016’s This Is Our Vice. Have there been big sonic and creative shifts in the band? Do you think you have got more confident since then?
Yeah, there definitely has been a big shift!
I recorded and produced a lot of BATS at home - and I was much more meticulous about making sure the way the songs sound made me feel the way I knew they needed to. I’ve become more confident in my recording/production skills (though I’ve got a long way to go).
I’ve learned to trust how I’m feeling and use that as a guide.
Brisbane is where you are based. What is the city like for new musicians?
Brisbane’s a friendly place for new musicians.
I feel like there are plenty of opportunities to play and get experience. When we recorded our first demos; Bolan and I drove around handing our demo C.D.s out to every single venue in Brisbane - and that’s pretty much how we started getting gigs.
What tour dates do you chaps have coming up? Are you coming to the U.K. at any point?
We’re touring Australia in Feb./March 2018. We’re just locking away some U.S. dates - and we’re in the planning stages for a visit to the U.K. in 2018, too!
If you had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would it and why?
Frank Ocean – Blonde
It came out just after Bolan and I got together - and has become a really significant marker of that time for us (especially Solo). We’ve given each other Solo tattoos and there’s a song on BATS called Solo III - that is based around the significance of that song for us.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Follow your vision and don’t be discouraged if not everybody gets it. Stay true to yourself and believe in yourself!
PHOTO CREDIT: Samuel Neil
Christmas is approaching. Do you all have plans already or will you be busy working?
We’ll be at home with our families - and dogs - for Christmas!
We’re playing a festival called Beyond the Valley over New Year’s, which should be super fun. Schoolboy Q and Mura Masa are playing too - so we’re super-excited to catch them.
PHOTO CREDIT: Rovel Hagos
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
It’s just me…so I’ll choose four songs for ya?
E^ST - Life Goes On
Frank Ocean – Lens
Pool Shop - Can You Dream
HTMLflowers (ft. Banoffee) - Chrome Halo
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PHOTO CREDIT: Savvy Creative