In Conversation with Cub Sport

In all senses, Cub Sport really are like no other.

The Brisbane four-piece – formed of best pals Tim, Sam, Zoe and Dan – released their effortlessly dreamy second LP, BATS, back in September which tracked the timeline of frontman Tim coming out as gay and the beginning of a relationship with bandmate Sam. The ensuing surrounding buzz has been undeniable, more so with the now-engaged couple providing the queer pop we’ve long sought after as well as offering advice and support long-needed from music to young LGBTQ+ people.

In line with the release of their brilliantly aesthetically-pleasing video for Good Guys Go, Tim Nelson and Sam Netterfield sit down with us to explain the importance of honesty, how their second LP BATS stands up six months on and the impact of Australia’s vote for same-sex marriage.

Revisit ‘Cub Sport’s Tim Nelson Pens Letter On The Creative Impact Of Coming Out’ from last year.

Cub Sport play two nights at The Waiting Room, London on 8/9 May. Tickets on sale now from right here.

Going right back to the start of the band, how did you four meet?

Tim: Zoe, Sam and I all went to school together though we didn’t really hang out. I started writing songs which I wanted to use in a band after I graduated so I got in touch with them all, and Dan would we knew through other bands. We’ve been playing together ever since under a few different names and there’s always been that chemistry.

Do you think you could pinpoint the exact “we’re a band now” moment?

Tim: Our first single got picked up by Australian radio quite quickly so we had booking agents wanting us for shows almost immediately. I often feel like we weren’t always ready for what was thrown at us but that definitely felt like a pivotal moment for us all.

Did you set out to create an intentional vibe to BATS or is that something that naturally occurs across the album making process?

Tim: We never really go in with a set vibe or idea, I’ve just known that whatever I’ve ever written has been what I’ve been feeling. Songwriting really became a way for me to process everything that was going on in my life, like coming out as gay. We finally spoke about had been brewing for years and years and the lyrical honesty on these songs was kinda just coming out of me without me even acknowledging what I was even writing out. It would often be upon listening back months later that it would make sense to me what I had written.

Did you notice a shift in the dynamic of the band once you were able to be completely honest with yourself?

Tim: I’ve always done all the writing for the band and we’ve been pretty much inseparable for a decade as we’ve always been best friends. If anything, we now have a better understanding of our dynamic and why we are always together. The four of us being completely open with each other about everything has really strengthened us as a band.

And has that made the songwriting process any easier?

Tim: Yes, in a sense that I’m not hiding anything anymore. I’ve come out and said that I’m writing about my own life so now anything I put out is going to be linked back to scenarios from my life that people know about. It’s more a feeling of pressure now as anyone who listens to the songs can dig as deep as they like and figure out as much about me as they like.

Now you’ve had 6 months with the record out in the world, do you have the same connection to it as when you were making the album?

Tim: The response to it has been really special and exactly what I had hoped for. I wanted it to be an encouragement for anyone in a similar position, especially as I know that your early 20s can be some of the most confusing times in people’s lives.

You released a statement alongside O Lord which read, “When you have everything you’ve ever wanted, you have everything to lose.” What sort of things were you referring to with that?

Tim: Being able to express myself how I wanted to and being able to be honest with all my friends and family. Having such a positive response from everyone felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and everything had fallen into place. That quote has definitely come from an ingrained fear that I’ve carried with me for a long time.

Have many fans reached out to you directly for advice since coming out?

Tim: It’s been a lot of advice-asking and explaining their situations to us and I think it’s really good to be able to offer specific support on a subject that we have a good understanding of. We both grew up in quite religious environments and homophobia was the norm so we understand the shame and fear of it all and are able to explain how life really does get better once you come out.

Sam: We get messages pretty much daily. A lot of people tell us how we’ve encouraged them to be proud of who they are, and thank us for being open and honest about exactly what is going on in our lives.

It would be hard not to mention the recent Australian Marriage Law vote. As gay men from Australia, what was your direct response to vote from marriage equality via a postal survey?

Sam: It’s a bit of a mixed bag. A lot of people came out in support of marriage equality and it was great to see how many people stepped up to make everybody feel included. Then the flipside was people saying it’s definitely ok to say no. Our experience was pretty positive in that we were very open and clear where we stood.

Tim: We had already come out and we both have a great support network but the people it really impacted most in a negative way was closeted LGBT people and people from rural communities where it’s less progressive. The adverts and facts being presented from the against side were incredibly skewed and twisted and completely taken out of context which can only push you further from feeling comfortable enough to come out. But it was a good opportunity for us to use our platform and voice to speak. We knew people who were going to vote against marriage equality but then heard our story and changed their mind.

Do you find that there is an expectation as LGBT artists to speak up about social issues like this within your music and art?

Tim: It comes quite naturally for us so our story has felt relevant and a necessary thing to present with the music. Maybe now that we have taken such a stand that people may expect us to continue with it into the future but that’s totally fine as it’s who we are. With my writing, it’s about what is going on in my life but queer love in itself can be political.

Social media has obviously played a huge role in how new artists gain a fan following, with it seeming to me that LGBT listeners will take the time to discover and involve themselves with LGBT artists. Since coming out, have you found yourself with a new wrath of LGBT fans and listeners?

Tim: Definitely, and they tend to be the louder type, like the fan accounts on Instagram who tell us we’re part of #20gayteen. It’s awesome!

Photo Credit: Jennifer Embelton
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