Not your typical boy meets boy story. While working on their second album, frontman Tim Nelson felt a growing affection towards bandmate Sam Netterfield, which he could only muster to express through his music. A few months on and they were buying a house together, getting married and working on their third self-titled album Cub Sport.
We decided to catch up with the newlyweds to hear all about their budding romance and the new music.
Your last album, BATS really explored those feelings of coming out and trying to figure out who you are. What were you feeling at that time?
T. I started writing the album before I came out and then finished it afterwards so it kind of captures that whole journey for me. I guess a lot of questioning of myself and working through a lot of denial and confusion. Then I get to be able to be coming out and starting my life with Sam. It feels like it really captures a significant part of our journey.
Do you think writing these songs helped you with that process of coming to understand yourself?
T. Yeah, for sure. I started to be a bit more honest with my songwriting and I kind of wrote about things I wasn’t ready to say out loud or to talk about yet. That ended up being an important part in informing Sam that the way that he felt was reciprocated, even though we didn’t talk about it for ages. Doing a lot of interviews and being in a position where I had to give context to the music and analysing it myself kind of helped people understand it. I hoped people in a similar position could relate to it.
Definitely! So were any of these songs about Sam, which you then had to bring it to him…
T. Yeah, a bunch of them were. In retrospect, it’s really clear not, but at the time of writing it the way I was living wasn’t really true to myself even though my songwriting was reflecting how I was really feeling.
That’s so interesting. And Sam, did you ever twig on to what you were expressing?
S. There was a growing confidence as more songs began coming into the pool. I got my first inkling around the start of writing the album, it might have even been the first song he wrote called ‘Chasing’, and I did decide that I was going to talk to Tim about it. I took a lot of comfort in the fact that I was fairly sure that my feelings for him were reciprocated.
Was it one big moment of realisation for you Tim? Or was it a slow burner?
T. At the end of a tour, I think we were going around for about six weeks, and it was the last night of that tour, we’d played our last show and we were partying. Sam finally said something to me, and in that moment I just had to be truthful. I kept writing songs after that, then when it came time to put together the second album, I guess it was seeing all the songs together and being honest with myself about who I am and what I was feeling. It tied it all together and made me come to terms with how honest I’d been in my songwriting.
So who was it that made the first move?
T. I think we fell in love so long ago I think it was always building to that, and although we weren’t ready to admit it to ourselves or act on it, it was what everything was built around in the first place. The wheels were in motion before we were playing in a band together. I feel if it didn’t turn out exactly as it has there are a number of things that could’ve been very complicated. Its one of those things that just happened, and it feels like its such an important part of Cub Sport, and what we’re doing as a band now as well.
So Sam, when Tim was going through this journey of self-discovery, you knew exactly how you felt and who you were?
S.Yes and no I guess, I might have maybe reached the point fractionally sooner but there was a period of maybe seven or eight years where we were just best friends. Not talking about our deep feelings for each other, and it was very easy in that time to swing between not thinking about it, having fun. We were young and having fun, and it didn’t feel like it mattered at the time. Then it would swing the other way where you think ‘Yeah, probably should do something about this.’ so I reached there around half a year before Tim did, where I said out loud to a few friends that I was gay. It really all came to a head very quickly once we had that conversation towards the end of our tour we both came out to our families within a matter of days, then announced to our friends that we were together, and a few months later we’d bought a house together. We moved pretty quickly…
And you got married this summer, Congratulations! How was it? Could you give us some wedding inspo?
T. Our main focus was making it as chill and stress-free as possible. We had a hundred people, we did it in one place. We just had our best friends and our family there and it was just very relaxed. OH, we had our dogs as our bridesmaids which were pretty amazing. A non-human bridal party. It was a rare day off.
Let’s talk this upcoming album, Cub Sport. Why make the third album self-titled?
T. It felt like the right time. I had a working title for months but as I kept writing songs it kept changing, it just felt like it needed to be called Cub Sport.
And since the last album was about finding yourself and coming out, how would you sum up what’s explored in this coming album?
T. I think this album is a result of learning self-love, and a part of the journey of unlearning a bunch of things I was told about being queer when I was growing up. The shame that that left me with. This is still at the stage of rising above that. I think that love feels like a constant theme throughout it. I also wrote it while we were promoting the last album, so the last few months has been a big period of growth, and learning a lot, and it felt like the first time I was really talking about a lot of things. I felt really exposed. It ties together the last 12 months of getting BATS out, and all of those things and how they’re intertwined.
You’re so honest in your music. Why do you think that is?
T. Well when I first started making music I actually tried to hide a lot in it. It was a weird dance of trying to make something that felt meaningful to me, at the same time as trying to hide who I really was, and once I started to venture into a more honest place with my songwriting I felt much more connected to it. I could feel other people were connecting with it a lot more. As I became more comfortable with sharing who I am with people, I could see how it was helping others be more themselves and accepting them. It’s also flowed from the songs to the more visual components, the live show. We learned how to be proud of ourselves, and celebrate our queerness. It’s all helping us grow.
Speaking of live shows, you have a UK tour coming up in February! Will this be your first time over?
T. No! We opened for Aurora just a couple of months ago, and we had our first two headline shows in London earlier this year, and both of them sold out. That was a really good vibe so we’re excited to come back and play in a bunch more places. We love London. Although it’s really different to home weather wise (laughs), doing the US and the UK as a round trip, the UK feels more like home culturally. London is such a beautiful city with so many exciting things happening in it, we ALWAYS enjoy our time there.
Did you get a chance to run around here a little when you were over?
T. The last time we were there it was that patch of good weather back in October, everyone was just at the park so we took it very easy in East London. We just relaxed, which we don’t get much of a chance to do. It was perfect for it, also it up some markets. Just lovely.
Is it hard leaving the doggos at home when you’re on tour?
S. Yeah, it’s probably the hardest part, but it’s always so nice coming home to them. We’re really learning to cherish those moments when we are at home with them, being more present and being around them.
We’re big dog lovers here and very much feel your pain. Cub Sport’s new album Cub Sport is out January 18, plus they’re heading on a UK Tour this February. To find out more head over to CubSport.com.
Check out the video for their single ‘Sometimes’ here: