Cub Sport’s fifth studio album Jesus at the Gay Bar is a sonically thrilling and epic love story, filled with queer joy and queer resilience. Cub Sport’s Tim Nelson sat down with Indie is Not a Genre to discuss their new album and their upcoming tour.
Kendra Cooper: There are some deep themes of love, loss, and discovery on this album. Tell me about them, and why they were important to this album.
Tim Nelson: I feel like on this album, I’ve kind of told parts of my story from over a decade of my life. I think being able to go back to the very start of my relationship with Sam to celebrate something that I was so ashamed of at the time. Now I can shine a light on it and celebrate the magic of it, and be really proud of the whole journey that we’ve been on that has been really cool. I feel like sonically out of the whole Cub Sport discography, this album feels celebratory. I wanted it to be energizing and uplifting even if some of the lyrics are deep and sad, I wanted the overall feeling to be uplifting. The whole journey that I’ve been on, coming out and learning not just to accept my queerness but for it to be something that I’m actually proud of now. With the album being called “Jesus at the Gay Bar” and having grown up in a super religious conservative world and unlearning all of those things that I was told growing up, and we’re reclaiming and recasting Jesus in this new light. It feels like putting together a lot of different parts of this journey, personal, spiritual, and musical, to come to this point where we celebrate that whole thing.
Is there a song on the album that represents Cub Sport, or a couple songs that represent you?
My favourite song on the album is Keep Me Safe, and that is one of the songs that is about the start of my relationship with Sam when everything was a total secret. It is the first time I’ve opened up about how complicated that was in so much detail, and I think the feeling of that song is, as a whole, just euphoric. I especially love the chorus when the kick drum is going and I feel like there’s so many layers and it is transcendent. I think that song feels like a really great representation of the vision for this era of the band.
Do you have a favourite part or memory on the creative journey of this album?
I think one of my favourite memories is the day I wrote and recorded Always Got the Love with Simon Lam, and I came home from the studio while we were in Melbourne. We had this Air BnB that was a converted industrial space that was turned into and apartment and it was really open. There was a total surround sound system with a big open space. The speakers were everywhere and we got home from the studio and Sam was home making some delicious dinner. I put my phone into the aux and played this demo. I felt like I was really starting to tap into a new energy and it was exactly what I had been really hoping that I could get to with my writing. Those first listens, when I come home from the studio and we we’re listening for the first time out of the context of the studio. It’s almost like the first little taste of hearing it in the real world. It is always really exciting when it feels like a song that is going to do something and jumping around and dancing and stuff. That is a really special memory from the creation of the album.
In the spirit of beautiful relationships, what is the best relationship advice you’ve ever been given?
TN: I think for all relationships, professional, romantic, friendship, communication and being respectful and clear is really important. That’s one of the keys to our success as a band. The four of us having been a band for over a decade now and starting it when we were kids, we’ve all grown and changed so much. I think because we do all those things , and love and respect each other, and we all try really hard with our communication to make sure everyone is being heard. I think that’s one of the keys to us still being a band and moving forward as a strong unit this many years on.
That is some great insight. So what’s next for Cub Sport?
TN: We have a U.K. tour starting in just under two weeks now. That is the first leg of the Jesus at the Gay Bar world tour. After that, we have a one off show in Australia, and then we have a six-week tour of the U.S., which is going to be huge. Then we come home and play at Splendor in the Grass which is Australia’s Coachella, and Lizzo is headlining it, so it will be incredible. Then we have our Australian headline tour, our biggest tour and biggest shows of our career. There’s a lot to look forward to.
There is! Do you have any part of it that you’re particularly looking forward to or excited about?
All of it. All of our shows in London have been our favourite shows ever. And we love touring the U.S. as well, driving between shows and seeing so much of the country and the diversity in the U.S. It’s always fascinating to experience that. And we’re excited for our New York show because it is selling out and looks like it will be like our biggest New York show so far. Then obviously, Splendor in the Grass is going to be huge.