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Cub Sport chat musical independence, Darren Hayes, and their amazing fan-base

Over the past number of years, Brisbane outfit Cub Sport have developed a relationship with their fans seldom seen in modern music. It feels like one big family where the band gives as much to the fans as the fans give to the band. It’s quite beautiful, really.

So before Cub Sport return to Australian shores this new year at Beyond The Valley, we caught up with frontman Tim Nelson to chat about his fan base, being an independent band, and working with Darren Hayes.

Before they take the stage at Beyond The Valley over new years, we caught up with Cub Sport frontman Tim Nelson for a chat.

HAPPY: Hey Tim, how’s it going?

TIM: Hey! Yeah, it’s all going well.

HAPPY: You just got back from Europe, right? How was the tour?

TIM: Yeah, we’ve been back for about a week now. It was a really nice tour. I think it was our favourite tour so far.

HAPPY: How did everyone respond to the new music?

TIM: It was a really lovely response. We sold out our biggest ever headline show outside of Australia in London. That was really amazing.

HAPPY: And that show was on the same date you put out your new single, right?

TIM: Yeah it was.

HAPPY: What was it like releasing a new single on the other side of the world?

TIM: It was really cool. There were a bunch of people who had already learned it and were singing it, which was awesome.

HAPPY: Well you’ll be bringing the track over to Australia over new years. For me, there’s a real sense of contentment in the song. Is that how you view the track?

TIM: Yeah, I feel like that song was inspired by a feeling of contentment and joy. I feel like the track really captures that energy. It’s very gentle.

HAPPY: Is the single just going to be a stand-alone track, or will it be apart of something bigger down the line?

TIM: Yep, that’s going to part of our next album.

HAPPY: Oh, so the next album is already under way?

TIM: Yeah, I can’t really give away too much about it, but the next album is very much under way.

HAPPY: Was it a deliberate move to get cracking on the next album so soon after the last one? Or was that just how things worked out?

TIM: It wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision, but I’ve been writing songs over the past couple of months, and I’m really excited about the songs so I want to get them out.

HAPPY: Have you noticed any particular points of difference with your approach to writing this new material?

TIM: Ooh, well I worked on this new record while I was on the road… more so than I’ve done before. I guess that’s just because we’ve been touring a lot more. That’s been a new thing for me. I normally write my songs at home in my studio downstairs. So this has been a new experience, having been written at various locations around the world.

HAPPY: What effect do you think that had on the writing itself?

TIM: Hmm, that’s hard to say. It’s always hard to say what’s impacting the writing. There are so many different things that impact your creative output, from what’s happening in your personal life to what’s happening in the world. But the location has definitely impacted what’s come out of me.

HAPPY: Well back to the new single, the track features Darren Hayes, which is huge. How did that collaboration come about?

TIM: We actually had the song mixed and mastered and ready for release. Then I had this thought that Darren would sound so incredible singing it. I thought that I’d just message him, and see if he’d be interested in doing it. So I messaged him and he replied straight away saying he loved the song. It made him cry. A few days later, he sent across a recording of him singing the song, so we mixed that into the track, and it was out literally a couple of weeks later. It was a super last-minute thing, but I think it took the track to another level.

HAPPY: Yeah, it sounds amazing. But you and Darren were friends before this then?

TIM: Yep, I tweeted him a few years ago saying that I wanted to write with him. At the time, he was super busy working on other things in LA, but if he was going to write with someone, he said it was going to be me. So a few years ago, I invited him to our LA show and he came along. He came backstage after the show, and we chatted. We’ve been messaging since then. This was finally the right moment for us to collaborate on something.

HAPPY: What was it like learning that Darren Hayes was a fan of your music?

TIM: It was wild. Being a queer group from Brisbane, Savage Garden were such a huge part of the history of music in Brisbane, and the history of queer music in Australia. So it’s was quite special in that sense, but Darren’s voice is a voice I’ve grown up listening to. It’s still kind of a bit surreal.

HAPPY: Do you have a favourite Savage Garden song or album?

TIM: I think Truly Madly Deeply is a really special song.

HAPPY: Let’s talk about your most recent self-titled album. It’s been a few months now since you put it out, but the way I hear people talk about albums is that while their writing and recording it, it belongs to them, but the moment they release it, it no longer does. Have you found that to be true?

TIM: Yeah, in a way. I feel like once you can share it with other people, it really enriches what it means. It’s really quite an indescribable feeling, because you listen to these songs basically every day. Then once it’s out for the rest of the world, that’s when I start listening to the rest of the album. So each collection of songs defines a time in my life, and then it defines a different time in other peoples life. So I guess that’s where there’s a transfer of ownership. It’s a really interesting thing.

HAPPY: Have you noticed people taking your music and giving it a new meaning that you didn’t initially expect?

TIM: Yeah, I feel like that does happen. The one song for me that feels so different now is Chasin’. When I wrote that song, not very many people knew who Cub Sport were. We didn’t get played on the radio and nobody was coming to our shows. But now, it’s one of the biggest sing-along moments of the set. It feels like a lot of these songs were written in a really vulnerable place, and now it’s quite empowering.

HAPPY: You’ve formed a very special kind of relationship with your fans. I don’t think there are many artists with that strong of an emotional connection. What do you think it is about your band that you think has fostered that kind of relationship?

TIM: Yeah, I feel like we have such beautiful fans. We’re so fortunate that they care so much. I think it’s developed and strengthened because it is a mutual thing. We’re very aware that everything we get to do is because our fans are there supporting us. We don’t have a manager or label or anything, so everything that we achieve is coming from us and our fans. It feels like we’re all growing together. I feel very connected to these people that are connected to what we’re doing. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a very special thing that we’ll always be so grateful for.

HAPPY: It’s interesting about the no-manager, no-label stuff… because most bands start off with that situation out of necessity, but very few bands choose to keep going that way. Why did you choose that path? Do the fans play into that choice?

TIM: I think it comes down to the four of us in the band. We’ve all got a pretty specific vision of how we want things to play out. We’re kind of control freaks. We want to be in control of our own career. We like having the ability to change plans and follow our gut. We want to be fluid in the way we move forward. Of course, that presents a lot of challenges. It’s a lot to take care of. It’s a lot of responsibility, but it feels right.

Catch Cub Sport live at Beyond The Valley from December 28th to January 1st. Grab tickets and info here.


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September 16, 2019