PRIDE MONTH: The band, Cub Sport, fought for same sex marriage in Australia
Not only did the band’s two front members fall in love after a history of childhood friendship and making music together, they’re now engaged and planning a wedding for this summer.
I’m not crying, you’re crying!
On top of that, Cub Sport self-manages, and they are known for their activism regarding same sex marriage and LGBT rights in Australia.
If those things aren’t reason enough for you to check this band out, then peep our interview below for more info on falling in love, coming out to family members, and music.
How did the band become Cub Sport? Where does this name come from?
We were originally called Cub Scouts – we released a couple of EPs under that name. Then one day, we received a letter from Scouts Australia saying we weren’t allowed to use the word ‘scout’ in our name. We ran through a bunch of different ideas for a word to replace ‘scout’ and ended up landing on ‘sport’ – I’m glad we had to change it.
How has your music progressed over the years – from the start of the band to your most current music?
I feel like the music has always been a reflection of where I was at the time of writing and recording. What started out as a kinda light-hearted, indie-pop project has transformed into something that feels much deeper. I spent a lot of my late teen/early adult years struggling with my identity.
I came out as gay halfway through writing our second album, “BATS,” which was a huge part of the transformation of Cub Sport. I feel more free with my writing now and like I’ve got more clarity around my creative vision for Cub Sport.
What has the response to your coming out and engagement been like from your family?
And your fans?
Our fans have been incredible – the love and good vibes are seriously heart-warming.
Tell us about the moment on your trip to LA when you realized you were in love with Sam.
I went on a trip in mid-2015 where I was working with various producers and writers in LA and London. I missed Sam heaps during that time but it was actually while I was in Berlin on a mini-holiday after being in London that I came to the realization. I met Cyril Hahn and his wife, Jackie, one night in Berlin. Jackie asked me if I was in love – I told her I was happily single.
When I got home that night, I just kept thinking “Oh my god, am I in love?” I grew up in a pretty religious world and had been avoiding acknowledging my sexuality for a while, so I had a bit to work through. Writing the second album, “BATS,” ended up being a way for me to process what I was going through. It was easier to let it out into songs than to speak about it.
How did you tell each other you were in love? Was it just understood, or did a conversation take place where you discussed that you had become more than friends?
I’d been playing album demos to Sam as I was writing them, which gave him a bit of an idea of where I was at. I wrote “Chasin’,” just after I got back from the writing trip in 2015 and, “Look After Me,” at the start of 2016 just after I was really sick. Sam showed me endless love and really got me through that time.
There were other demos that didn’t end up making the album, with lyrics like, “What if I died tomorrow and I never told you that you’re the one I was living for.” In retrospect, I was sending a pretty clear message, even though I wouldn’t speak about it. We finally had the conversation at the end of our North American tour in 2016.
We were in Vancouver and it happened to be their national holiday. We partied pretty hard that day, and later in the night Sam said to me, “I don’t want this to ruin our friendship, but I’m in love with you.” I told him I felt the same way, and we both came out to our families and friends when we got back to Australia that week.
There’s a song on “BATS,” called “Crush,” which is about that night.
Just enjoying the happiness of engaged life, or busy planning the wedding?
We’ve pretty much got it all planned now. We just have to send out invites!
Can you describe to me what you felt when your country legalized gay marriage this past year?
I was so happy! It took a few days to really sink in. I’ve noticed more people smiling at us when we’re walking along holding hands and stuff like that. It’s nice to feel supported by the majority of the general public.
How are you using your music as a voice for the LGBTQ community?
I suppose just by being ourselves and being open about our experiences – a lot of “BATS,” and the album I’m working on currently, is inspired by queer love and learning self-love. It took me a long time to be happy and proud of who I am and I want to inspire other people to live their best life and be who they wanna be.
You come from a religious background that does not accept your sexuality. What or who did you turn to for comfort in hard times growing up when you were struggling with finding yourself?
I didn’t really feel like I had anyone to turn to. It felt like the consequences of being my true self would be harder to deal with than living a lie. Those experiences shaped who I am, though, and we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now without going through that.
Now that you have been able to accept your sexuality and be free with it, do you have any advice for those who may still be struggling through this?
My advice would be to be to try surround yourself with people, art, writing, music – anything that makes you feel good and like you can be yourself. Come out when you’re ready and on your own terms.
What do you hope people feel when they listen to the personal story you are telling through your music? Are there any specific emotions you are trying to evoke?
I hope people to connect with it in their own way and I hope they feel seen listening to it.
Since coming out, you’ve said you feel limitless now, in both your music and your videos. What does that look like in comparison to videos before?
I was embarrassed about being gay for a long time and it was something I kind of wanted to distance myself from. Although, on reflection, a lot of our early videos were pretty camp (laughs). I’m proud of my queer identity now and I feel more comfortable following my creative vision without worrying as much about what people will think.
Growing up in an environment that tried to keep you from being yourself, was music always an outlet for you to express your true self?
Writing music helped me come to terms with what I was feeling. It was something I never felt like I could speak about, but I guess through writing music it just started spilling out and it started changing my life.
You’ve said the quote “try to become the person you needed when you were younger” is something you are trying to do. Who is that person?
I wanna be someone who says it’s okay to be yourself. I wanna encourage people to love themselves as I learn to do the same. I wanna spread light in and from a community that has faced a lot of darkness.
What was your inspiration behind the “O Lord,” video?
That was the first video we made since coming out and we wanted the visuals to reflect that. I put together a mood board with a general vibe for makeup/outfits/different shots and sent it to our friend Joe Agius who directed it. He executed it so nicely and pulled together a really beautiful lighting scheme that brought it all together.
What has been the greatest struggle for you guys in managing yourselves?
It’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t describe that as a struggle. We just have to be on all the time, which can be tiring but it feels like it’s paying off.
Is managing yourselves something you are really passionate about or do you plan to get a manager in the future?
We’re really passionate about being in control of our career but if we met the right person and the vibe was right we’d be open to exploring it for sure!
You’ve just been on tour in the US, how does touring in the US differ from your Australian/European tours?
The biggest difference is probably all the driving. We spent about 120 hours in the van and drove over 8000 miles!
What has been your favorite stop on the tour so far?
Every show has had special moments, but Chicago sold out so that was a vibe! We just finished up two sold-out shows in London and now we’re in Amsterdam with a day off before our show so we’re feeling good!
What’s next for the band?
We’ve got a couple of festivals when we get home to Australia then we’re starting some mixing for album three. Sam and I get married in August, then we’re on tour with Vance Joy in September which is gonna be huge. Expect some new music somewhere in there too!
Where is the best place for our readers to keep up with everything Cub Sport?
Probably Twitter and Insta. I used to be a real Snapchat guy, but we’ve grown apart.
Favorite food to eat on tour?
Toast with avocado and vegan mac and cheese on the West Coast!
Snapchat or Instagram?
Instagram, these days. Sorry, Snapchat!
Favorite road trip sing-a-long?
Probably Ariana Grande’s, “No Tears Left To Cry” on this tour.
Favorite leisure activity?
Running and listening to music.
Best movie of all time?
CHECK CUB SPORT OUT ON SPOTIFY HERE.
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Photos by Jacqueline Kulla