‘Look at us now’: Cub Sport’s Tim Nelson and Sam Netterfield give voice to their love

As Cub Sport vocalist Tim Nelson and keyboardist Sam Netterfield signed the registry at their wedding in 2018, they played the guests a recording of a song from the band's latest, self-titled album, which at that point hadn't been released.

Called Party Pill, the downbeat synth-pop number recounts how they fell in love as 17-year-olds, only to push each other away due to the "internalised homophobia" Nelson felt as a byproduct of his upbringing. Though they continued to be best friends and bandmates, for nearly 10 years they denied each other the romantic aspect of their relationship.

Cub Sport – Zoe Davis (left), Tim Nelson, Sam Netterfield and Dan Puusaari – remain independent and self-managed. 

And yet here they were, signing the registry, declaring their love to the world as a song about how they once kept it hidden played over the speakers.

"It felt very full circle," says the softly spoken Nelson, sipping on a green juice and sitting across a table from Netterfield outside a busy Woolloomooloo cafe. "It was such a triumphant moment of being like, this is where we came from, look at us now."

Nelson came out during the creation of Cub Sport's 2017 album, BATS. His lyrics on the band's latest LP are heavily influenced by that journey, and are resonating further than expected.

"We get a lot of messages from people saying that [the new album] calms them down," says Nelson. "For a lot of young, queer people I think they just really appreciate the representation. They hear and feel parts of their own story in what we're telling about ours."

"We get messages from people saying it's literally saved their lives," adds Netterfield.

Not that that was their intention, but it's something they're naturally delighted to embrace.

"I feel in the position we're in we have a platform and an opportunity to make a positive impact," says Nelson.

"It's the kind of thing we wish we had seen growing up, which we didn't have too much of," says Netterfield. "It feels like a privilege."

Nelson first started penning songs at the age of 16, and began writing specifically for Cub Sport two or three years later. Initially a guitar-and-drums-leaning indie-pop band, on their latest album the Brisbane quartet – completed by multi-instrumentalist Zoe Davis and drummer Dan Puusaari – have morphed into a more synth-oriented outfit, the sombre atmosphere of their music at times masking the joyous affirmations of self-discovery and acceptance that resonate through Nelson's lyrics.

"Overall it feels sonically much more gentle, which I think is more true to how I am as a person," says Nelson, who is the band's sole songwriter. "And that also reflects the calmness that I feel progressively coming to me as I feel more settled and grounded in who I am."

Despite the group's burgeoning popularity – this month they play the 2500-capacity Enmore Theatre; Cub Sport debuted at No. 12 on the ARIA charts – the four-piece remain independent and self-managed, often to the detriment of their lives outside the band.

"We had a three-day honeymoon after our wedding, and we were literally working on the honeymoon," says Netterfield, smiling.

"It's lucky we love what we do so much," adds Nelson. "But we're getting to a place where we're recognising the importance of having downtime and time to recoup. There are always lessons to be learnt."

Like everything the duo have been through over the past few years, it's a journey.

Cub Sport play Brisbane on April 6; Sydney on April 12; Melbourne on April 13; Fremantle on April 18 and Adelaide on April 20.

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