It's always a bold step for a group to self-title an album. Essentially saying "this is who we are" it's a statement they'll have to stand behind for some time.
For Cub Sport it's about embracing who they are, and beginning to move forwards.
The Brisbane alt-pop project broke out with second album 'BATS', a brave, transformative record that discussed singer Tim Nelson's process of embracing his sexual identity.
Moving beyond this, 'Cub Sport' - the album, this time - is a joyous experience, an alt-pop document of stepping out into the light, that isn't afraid to discuss some of life's darker moments.
Out in the opening weeks of January, Clash decided to track down Tim Nelson to discuss his Influences.
- - -
Leonard Cohen - 'Chelsea Hotel #2'
I grew up listening to Leonard Cohen in the car with my Dad and although at the time I didn’t appreciate his art for all that it is, revisiting it as an adult completely transformed the way I write lyrics. When I listened to 'Chelsea Hotel #2' in 2013, I was still years off openly identify as queer - there were so many hidden parts of who I was that I felt like I barely knew myself.
Hearing the lyrics "Giving me head on the unmade bed while the limousines wait in the streets..." I was completely drawn in by the candidness of the lyrics and I felt an immediate aching to be able to be so open.
That day I started writing our song 'Come On Mess Me Up' - it felt like the first time I truly let my guard down with my lyrics even though I didn’t fully understand the power and meaning behind the lyrics I’d written. Leonard’s openness and vulnerability gave me permission to express myself fully and helped me to stop writing as a character and start writing as myself.
- - -
Diana Ross - 'I’m Coming Out'
The joyous sound of this song is how coming out should feel. It sounds like a celebration - and a time where you start living life as your true self should be a celebration - it’s a huge step towards self-acceptance and living for your own happiness.
For most people, however, the experience is surrounded with fear and anxiety, the need to give explanations (where heterosexual people never need to) and an adjustment period of family and friends getting to understand the ‘real you.’
The first time we publicly announced that we’re queer was when we got to program a segment on Australia’s nationwide radio station triple j - we played this song and spoke about being queer and learning to be proud. This song will always represent the brighter side of coming out and being proud to be queer - something that’s continually becoming more intertwined with our message as a band.
- - -
Frank Ocean - 'Solo'
'Blonde' came out just after Bolan and I confessed our love for each other and came out, so the whole album became a soundtrack to the start of our lives together. 'Solo' really became a favourite, it hit us both of a spiritual level and it became our song. I ended up writing a song about listening to 'Solo', called 'Solo III' which is on our 'BATS' album - it’s about that era of our lives and the culmination of happiness at the same time as almost feeling undeserving of that love after a lifetime of being told that our love was wrong.
The stripped back production and vulnerability throughout 'Blonde' really inspired me, and like Leonard Cohen, it helped me to express myself in my writing and recording.
- - -
Solange - 'Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work'
I first fell in love with Solange when she released 'True' back in 2012. 'A Seat At The Table' is one of my favourite albums of all time and I was lucky enough to be front row when she toured it in Australia earlier this year.
We made eye contact a couple of times throughout the opening of her set - there was a real vibe - then during 'Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work', she came over to me, got down on her knees at the edge of the stage and sang an entire pre-chorus into my eyes. Our faces were less than 20cm apart and the energy was wild - I actually felt like I went somewhere else.
It was an experience that strengthened my belief in the power of music and energy and since then, I’ve had a few experiences from the stage where I can feel an individual in the audience’s energy and I’ll just channel everything in the moment to that one person - it’s quite an electrifying connection to experience.
- - -
The Flaming Lips - 'Do You Realize??'
I’ve felt so connected to this song since I started listening to it in 2012. It lifts you up at the same time as breaking you down - it’s like a beautiful surrender to the unexplainable grandeur and humbleness of our existence.
I saw The Flaming Lips live at a festival in Australia over the 2012-13 New Years. Seeing 'Do You Realize??' live was the first time I’d been brought to tears at a show - it’s remained a huge inspiration for me as a songwriter and as a performer.
- - -
'Cub Sport' will be released on January 18th.
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.