The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection has a number of well-worth-checking-out shows coming up next week (including Purity Ring at Union Transfer, Wax Idols at Boot & Saddle, Birdy at the TLA, and Colleen Greene at Kung Fu Necktie), but none that we’re more excited about than Cub Sport, who will be headlining MilkBoy Tuesday, June 7th, for opening night of their first US tour in two years. This March saw the release of, This is Our Vice, the debut LP of the Brisbane quartet. The album is a satisfyingly strange amalgam of sounds, a soulful, whimsical, and poetic take on electro-pop, equally indebted to R&B grooves and folk-pop songwriting… I recently got a chance to chat with Cub Sport songwriter/vocalist/keyboardist Tim Nelson about their first full-length and how Cub Sport are planning to spend the rest of 2016.
Izzy Cihak: So you’re about to return to US stages for the first time in about two years. Are there any cities you’re especially excited to play, or just get to visit or revisit?
Tim Nelson: Everywhere! It’ll be great revisiting cities on the east and west coast and we’re really excited about driving through the middle of America – it’s such a beautiful country and it’ll be our first time visiting a lot of places.
Izzy: What have been some of the highlights of the band for you in those past two years? For that matter, do you feel like a significantly different band than you were then?
Tim: The highlights of the last two years have been signing a record deal and making/releasing our debut album. Now we’re just super excited to get out and bring the album to the live stage. We feel like we’re the same band but we’ve definitely grown up a bit in the last few years and feel like the music reflects that.
Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to This is Our Vice, whether from critics, fans, or just friends?
Tim: *Language warning* When we first released “Only Friend” as a single back home in Australia, a fan from Adelaide commented, saying we had, “Changed the game and fucked it right in the pussy.” A bit rough but gave us all a good laugh.
Izzy: What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences, both musical and otherwise?
Tim: The most significant influence for the album would be the people around me during the time that I was writing. I met some really inspiring people and it gave me a lot to write about. Musically, I was listening to a whole mixture of things during the making of album: Arcade Fire, Blood Orange, FKA Twigs, Lorde, Sky Ferreira, Leonard Cohen. I think our album landed somewhere in the middle.
Izzy: And do you have any influences that you don’t suspect any of your fans would guess?
Tim: I think the most surprising influence would be Leonard Cohen. Sonically we’re at different ends of the spectrum, but his lyrics have been a real inspiration for me. He’s so honest and clever with his writing and you can hear how genuine the songs are in the way he sings them. That’s something I’m always striving for.
Izzy: I’m kind of infatuated with “I’m on Fire,” which sounds like twee disco or something… Like, it could’ve been the B-side to “Electronic Renaissance” by Belle & Sebastian… How did that particular track come about… and hopefully that assessment wasn’t insulting?
Tim: I hadn’t listened to that Belle and Sebastian song before – I like it, so thanks! I started writing “I’m On Fire” years ago before Cub Sport existed. There have been various versions of it kicking around for the last four years or so – we felt like it had potential but we were never really into it. When it came time to do the album we played around with the arrangement and got it to a place we were finally happy with. It’s one of our favorites to play live now!
Izzy: I’m super excited that you’re kicking off your US tour right here, at one of the city’s best venues, MilkBoy. What can be expected of the live show this time around?*
Tim: So are we! We love coming to Philly so it’ll be a great way to kick off the tour. We’ve mixed up our set a lot since the last time we toured the states. This time around we’re playing lots of songs off our album, This Is Our Vice, and we’re throwing in a Talking Heads cover too!
Izzy: Finally, what are you hoping and planning for the second half of 2016? Anything you’re especially excited about after these US dates wrap? Or is it just more touring?
Tim: After our US dates we’re heading home to Australia for our album tour over there. I’d say the second half of the year will hold more shows and probably more recording!