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Interview: Cub Sport

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Meet Cub Sport: the Aussie quartet championing self-love, acceptance and saccharine sweet electro-queer pop, all with a very personal touch.

Tim, Sam, Zoe, and Dan are the formidable force that is alt-pop group Cub Sport, following in the footsteps of the queer pop experimentalists Troye Sivan and Frank Ocean. Lead vocalist Tim and keyboard player Sam are the stars of their very own inter-group show - much like Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, only much less dramatic and much, much more relatable - and the basis of their musical existence rests upon their individual and collective experiences.

“It took about 8 years to reach a point where we even acknowledged to ourselves, and then each other, that we were gay.Sam told me over the phone from Atlanta, just hours before one of the final shows on their US tour. “We confided in each other then we took things pretty quickly, we were engaged and had bought a house a year later, and then married another year after that.” Just a few months into proudly being proclaimed husband and husband, Tim and Sam exude adoration for one another.

But like most coming-out stories, it wasn’t a straightforward path. Twists and turns and bumps in the road needed strength, determination and self-love to overcome, “There are ingrained and learned ways of thinking. I had a lot of internalised shame that I had to really push past to switch my default from being anxious and embarrassed...to getting to a mindset where I really felt proud,” Tim tells me, in a delicate Australian accent.

Tim’s latest poetic offering ‘Sometimes’ fuels the narrative and is most poignant in its honesty about his own experiences, “It was the first time I’d spoken about a bunch of personal things like my sexuality and my struggles with accepting my queer identity, and everything that goes along with it. The feeling of being completely exposed for the first time in my life...It was overwhelming...and also incredibly exciting and encouraging.” But it wasn’t really until after Tim had finished crafting the piece, listened back to it with a new perspective and processed what we were hearing as listeners, that he really understood the gravity of this period in his life.

“When I’m writing songs I kinda just try and let what I’m feeling flow out of me without over-analysing or thinking about it too much...As I got more and more perspective, I grew a deeper understanding of what I had actually written and part of what it all meant. I think that it was almost like therapy in a way, because it really made me dig deep into what I had written and make myself properly understand it so that other people could understand it too.”

And Tim’s writing hasn’t only helped himself come to a deeper understanding of his identity. The highs and lows of coming to terms with your own sexual identity and what that means for who you are, what you represent and how life changes around you - they’re all themes that have resonated beautifully with so many of Cub Sport's young listeners.

“We get messages from people so often saying we’ve helped them learn to be proud of their queer identity. There have been a bunch of people who have said we’ve helped to give them the courage to come out,” Tim tells me, audibly smiling over the phone. “When I have those moments of falling back into old ways...where I feel like I’m being too much of this or I should reign it in...I just remember that being my whole self it gives other queer people permission and confidence to do the same.”

An intimate love story between two young men is the backbone of Cub Sport’s existence, not only in the way it drives their narrative musically and in their production choices, but in the way it invites you in with open arms. It’s so transfixing, sparking with colourful electricity, that it feels intrusive to get involved, but you just can’t help yourself. And for someone struggling with those same feelings of confusion, displacement, perhaps even shame, it has a breezy, cooling effect on the soul.

Rightfully so, Sam is hopeful and inspired by the community the band have fostered, “Reaching a place where you really love yourself, and seeing the way that ripples out and gives other people permission to do the same is just incredible. It’s something I never really expected to be part of our journey.”

Images courtesy of Jacqueline Kulla

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