Editor's Note: The following interview took place last week, before Brisbane's Cub Scouts announced they were changing their name to Cub Sport in response to legal proceedings from Scouts Australia. It's a pity to see this happen - but like The Preatures, PVT and DZ Deathrays before them, a slight name change might actually be a strong omen for their future... in any case, read on to learn more about Paradise and everything else going on for the busy Brisbane band...
For most of us, impressing workmates means embellishing tales of the weekend. For Tim Nelson, it’s a simple matter of switching on the radio. "When I’m at work and I’m in a lab making retainers, I listen to triple j. I’ve been hearing “Paradise” come on lots so that’s exciting. It makes my day better."
Orthodontic work aside, Nelson has been writing songs since he was in high school. His Brisbane-based band Cub Scouts has recently attracted chart attention with their new EP “Paradise”. From buddying up with fellow acts at Splendour In The Grass last month and touring Europe before that, they have been keeping themselves busy.
Although it seems that he can’t please everyone. In a cab back from Splendour, when his friend mentioned his slot at the festival, the driver mistook him for another Australian act.
“When we got up to the house he asked if we could all get a photo together even though he had no idea who we were. He said, “My daughter might know who you are”. I was like “okay”. He seemed a bit disappointed that I was from Cub Scouts and not Flume.”
Funnily enough, the group have previously performed DJ sets. But now Nelson plans the tracklist and transitions which weren’t clear at the start. "In the first half of this year we got asked to do so many DJ sets. Until we were doing them none of us really knew what to do. I’ve kind of learnt now from doing and they’ve always been pretty terrible I think."
His forte still lies in song-writing and creating his own style of energetic indie pop. When it came to putting together their latest EP, some of the tracks came from earlier work. “It wasn’t like I wrote all of the songs around the same time. Some of them were written years ago and Paradise was the most recently written one.”
In fact, Nelson worked that one out the night before the band had a recording session booked in Melbourne. “I wrote it while I was just driving in my car and I just did a voice memo of the melody and the lyrics and I kind of knew how I wanted everything else to sound. When I got home I played it on piano and just figured it out start to finish.”
All of which might stem from his musical background –playing piano since age 6 and singing from 14 [“I was still a boy soprano so that was interesting”].
When Nelson finished school, he searched for musicians to help him out with a live show and from then on it’s pretty much been a coherent group. “We started playing together just as “Tim Nelson” and when we actually recorded some good songs that we were proud of –or songs that were better than what we had been doing before - we decided to create Cub Scouts, so that’s how it all started.”
As a follow up to the EP we can soon look forward to a music video for opening single “Paradise”. Looking at their past work - expect it to be colourful, quirky and featuring all band members. This one is a collation of footage that the group took in Spain earlier this year as well as from the studio.
“I’m happy with how it’s come together, so hopefully people will like it.”
While Australian crowds jump up and down during their shows, overseas it was a different situation. “I think rather than people getting into it as much, I saw people watching and listening a bit more. But I think that was kind of cool that we could see people engaging with it without having heard it before.”
“We haven’t actually released anything in the UK so far. The vibe overall was pretty different but I guess our reasons for playing the shows over there were different from the reasons we play in Australia. But it was awesome.”
And although they appreciate their fans, Nelson says that the nickname “Babe Scouts” is taking it a bit too far. “Cubbies is what we call ourselves – in our group text threads it’s “hey cubbies”. “Babe Scouts” I still feel weird about. I would never go calling us “Babe Scouts” myself.”
Following their overseas summer tour, Cub Scouts had an afternoon set on the first day of Splendour In The Grass. “I’ve been to a couple of Splendours and it’s just such a good festival. To play at it was just incredible. The backstage area was pretty amazing and we got to meet lots of cool people from bands that we love.” [Including James Blake]
What caught some people by surprise at the festival was their performance of a Destiny’s Child medley. Cub Scouts have been doing covers since their support of Ball Park music last year and have decided to keep them on the setlist.
“I think I just started playing it on piano and singing it as a joke but by the end of the tour we had “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” in our set. Then in our next tour we started turning it into a medley and then we’ve kept it going and it’s been growing and changing.”
And the medley is due to change again for their upcoming shows on the Jinja Safari tour. “I’ve really liked them and their music since they won the unearthed competition to play at Splendour and they were awesome at that. I’m excited for the tour.”
Nelson’s favourite releases at the moment are Big Scary’s Not Art and Snakadaktal’s Sleep In The Water. “I think they’re both incredibly beautiful albums and they’ve been cleverly put together and I can just listen to them over and over. They’re both great.”
Apart from that we can look forward to a song out later this year which Nelson co-wrote with Sydney hip-hop artist Chance Waters. “I think it’s sounding pretty cool. I’m excited for people to hear it.”
In the meantime, we can look out for more pet-related posts on their facebook page. “I can’t choose between cats and dogs. I’ve got one cat and three dogs. But I think I always meet cute cats and dogs everywhere that I go so I’m just lucky. I do love animals a lot so that’s probably why they dominate our social media.”
Published on theAUreview.