Just as an ‘FYI’, they were still called Cub Scouts when we did this interview.
I think the most amazing thing I learnt from this chat with (totally adorable) Cub Sport lead singer Tim Nelson is that there is such thing as a McDonalds burger WITHOUT THE BUN. “You use cutlery, it’s sort of just like a salad. The lady always grills us because we don’t ask for cutlery when we’re ordering,” Tim explains. They order without the bun because Sam from the band is a coeliac and can’t eat bread.
I have been enlightened to the resourcefulness of coeliac sufferers and this tweet now makes more sense.
Ugh the drive through girl at McDonalds just said "back again."
— Cub Sport (@cubsportmusic) August 7, 2013
Okay we should probably talk about music. Their new five-track EP Paradise is delightful, youthful and uplifting Australian pop music at it’s best. However, the final song of the five is a mellow piano ‘ballad’ called Write You A Letter, which contrasts, however beautifully, from the rest of the EP. “I actually wrote and recorded that at the same time as we did Evie, so it was really before we even started Cub Sport. It sort of just came about from me playing the piano and writing lyrics that I thought would match the music,” Tim reminisces.
The whole thing was produced by Jon Castle, who did Washington‘s last thing. “Zoe went up to him at Washington’s gig in Brisbane because they had similar jackets on, and said ‘hey, look, we have similar jackets on’. Zoe is really good at just talking to strangers and all of a sudden becoming their best friend, so she gave him some demos and he really liked them and everything fell into place”. Recording ‘took place’ in some sort of shed behind Castle’s house. Sheds always seem to be where the best albums are recorded.
The guys played Splendour to one of their biggest crowds ever. “When we were setting up our stuff the tent was about one third full, and we were like ‘we hope these people stick around’, but by the time we got on stage it was overflowing”. Tim caught Lorde, James Blake and The National all from side of stage. Jelly.
Moving forward, Cub Sport are ‘branching’ out their musical ‘tree’ and collaborating with fellow adorable artist Chance Waters on a song for the alpaca selfie enthusiast’s third album which should be out this year or very early next. “My cat went missing at the end of last year. I wrote a song about it. It was kind of a bit funny compared to our other songs, it was a bit more R&B than our other songs, so when we were talking about collaborating I thought it could work quite well and I played with the structure and made some space for his verses. I’m really happy with how it’s come together. Hopefully that’ll be out towards the end of this year.”
They’re also just about to support Jinja Safari, who they first met whilst supporting them at UNSW’s Roundhouse in a free show in February “I’m excited to do some regional shows again, because it’s been awhile since we’ve done anything away from the capital cities on the East Coast”. They’re so excited to visit Margaret River – a place they’ve never been before – that they’ve booked to go a day early for a delightful bit of sightseeing.
Tours in the last 18 months, alongside the Jinja tour and accompanying show at BIGSOUND are now being complemented by ‘strategic touring’ overseas to start ‘building the story’ in other parts of the world including a slot at the UK’s Great Escape Festival a couple of months ago. They want to start doing it more, “at first it’ll be in little bursts, but at the same time we all have to juggle our jobs.”
The main reason this is all so impressive is the fact two-fifths of the band are working full-time at Tim’s mum’s orthodontic practice, Sam’s the oral health therapist there – but it’s still rather convenient because “Mum does the roster. So she gets us all the time off we need. It makes it really tricky for her, but hopefully it’ll be worth it.” It’s also impressive because Tim is still just 22 years old and if he stuck to his original plan would have been one year away from becoming a full blown dentist. Tim was in his third year of university when touring started to become a thing and the uni advised him to defer, which is probably smart yet quite brave. “It’s nice that now stuff is happening with the band, I know I made the right decision deferring uni and everything”. Tim’s aim is to turn the band into his career but he feels somewhat comfortable knowing he’s already a nose in with a fall back career – something he advises for other young artists who want to try and forge a career in the ‘cut-throat dog-eat-dog world’ of music. “It’s good to have something to fall back on, but if you’re not passionate about it, it can be a bit of a slog, I think it’s definitely worth putting a lot of work into music if that’s what you want to do”.