Hailing from Brisbane, Cub Scouts are a pop-rock five-piece. From recently releasing their second EP ‘Paradise’ to touring across the world, 2013 has been a busy year for the band. As they head back to Australian shores to support Jinja Safari, we caught up with front man Tim Nelson to talk about BigSound, touring and what it’s like to being a part of an in-demand young indie band.
By Jemma Nott
Congratulations on the new EP – you’ve received a phenomenal response to the new material. Were you surprised by that?
Thank you. Yeah, I think it’s always a bit scary releasing something new. You never really know how people are going to react to it, but we’ve been really lucky. And so far all the reviews I’ve seen have been positive. So, it’s been really nice.
Since the release of ‘Told You So’ you’ve developed a solid following of fans and supporters – was that in the back of your mind when you went back in to record this new EP?
Not really. I think a couple of songs on this new EP had been recorded before we’d even released the ‘Told You So’ EP. With the new songs, it’s hard not to have that in the back of your mind – the previous things you’ve released and what people have enjoyed, but at the same time if you just try to reproduce stuff that people have liked before you’re not really going to get anywhere new. So I think I tried to just be completely disconnected from that when I’m writing songs and I try to keep myself interested with it. I think if I’m enjoying it and think it’s interesting then that will translate and our listeners will like it too.
Were you surprised to get as much attention from overseas as well?
Yeah, that was a big surprise. Especially, when we released ‘Told You So’ in the US and had a huge response from college radio. That was really big. I guess we thought we were lucky to have a good response in Australia with radio here. And to have the same thing happen with college radio was really good.
You took a bit of a step away from your previous sound with some of the more melancholic songs on the EP. Was that a conscious decision?
I thought it would be a good idea to throw some of those songs in there, because we do have a couple of those. I guess with the other three songs that are more upbeat on there, especially with ‘Pool’ and ‘Sherbet’ they’re quite upbeat and happy sounding. I think it’s good to be able to mix it up and put some contrasting songs on there so it isn’t all the same thing. We sort of looked at the content of the songs and the scenes and, while they’re quite different in sound, I think it still works together. I guess that’s what we were thinking when we put those songs on there.
What was that process like? Were you touring at the time?
I never really dedicate time to writing songs. I don’t really have that much time to write because I work full-time. I write a lot even when I’m just driving in the car. Usually if I can get just 20 mins at the piano or something I can write a song. While I am really busy, at the same time, I am getting things to write about. I think it makes things easier when I do get a spare minute to write songs.
So, do you think that getting life experiences helps with the song writing process?
Yeah, I think so and I don’t find that I am sort of frustrated and trying to write a song and not being able. When I go to do it, there’s always something there to write about.
What’s the story behind some of the songs? For example, is ‘Pool’ literally about jumping into a pool?
Yeah, I wrote ‘Pool’ about New Years Eve when my friends and I broke into a public pool and went swimming. It’s quite literal. I write songs about things that people don’t really expect me to write about. A lot of my songs are really quite literal.
Did you have a chance to road test the EP while you were touring overseas?
We were playing ‘Paradise,’ ‘Sherbet’ and ‘Pool’ in the live set. We sort of swapped between those ones to try them out. They were all getting quite a good response from the audience so I think that that made it easier when it came to song selection for the EP.
You’ll be taking them on the road again with Jinja Safari very soon.
Yeah, that tour is through the end of September and the start of October. It will great to get to some places that we haven’t played at in ages – Western Australia and regional towns as well.
Are you looking forward to being back home?
Yeah, it feels like we haven’t toured in Australia for ages.
Are you looking forward to supporting Jinja Safari?
Yeah, we played a show with them in Sydney and I think that was at the start of the year or maybe the end of last year. Anyway yeah it was a really fun show and their live show was incredible. We’ll get to see it so many times on this tour.
You’ve been touring pretty much non-stop. Have you managed to have a break in between?
I think that the next few weeks will be our biggest break that we’ve had up until the middle of September when the next tour starts. But it has been really full on 18 months or so since it really started to kick off. But I think that if you don’t put in a lot of hard work when things are happening, then there’s a chance that you’ll miss opportunities. I think that we’re still motivated to keep going with it and we’re still enjoying it.
Have you started to get on each other’s nerves yet?
No, not really. We were together for six weeks overseas and we were always in the same room when we were sleeping, because we were on people’s floors and that sort of thing for most of the tour. So, we really had a lot of time with each other and everyone gets along really well.
You’ll also be playing BigSound very soon. There’s some awesome acts on the line up – are you looking forward to playing alongside some of them?
Yeah, definitely. I’m really excited to see Washington play again because she hasn’t released anything for a while. So, I’m really excited to hear her new music and see what she’s been up to.
Are you excited to be playing a Brisbane crowd?
Yeah, we played at BigSound last year as well and it was so much fun. It’s a really well-run event and it’s always lots of fun. Yeah, I think it’s a good thing that Brisbane puts on.
Many thanks to Tim for taking the time to chat to us. You can check out Cub Scouts upcoming tour dates at: https://www.facebook.com/CubScoutsMusic