SPORTS TEAM - INTERVIEW
You are taking a long road-trip down south, your Nan is asleep on the back seat, the car is filled with a stagnant aroma and the traffic is moving about as fast as the conversation. You desperately need some music to disrupt the dull events inside the motorised microcosm, so what do you choose? Sports Team of course! The London based six piece have been quietly creating a storm over the past few years, building up a cult following with their intense live performances and witty nostalgia. Having just released their new EP, the band are currently in the middle of a UK Tour. Before heading down to their final tour date (a sold out show in Manchester’s Soup Kitchen) we had a quick chat to discuss their new music, the life of touring and what is to come for the rest of 2019.
The EP's title ‘Keep Walking!’ [buy here]feels like it carries a certain level of significance for the band, it aims to capture the long journey they have been on. “For us, every time things go well it always feels slightly like we've got away with it. I think the idea of just putting one foot in front of the other makes sense. We also walk a lot". The 5 songs really encapsulate the Sports Team sound. They may be rough on the surface but after a longer listen, you discover that they're intricately blissful. The twists and turns of the rhythm, the poignancy of the vocals, the bittersweet riffs. They are all subtly beautiful and manage to grow on you with every listen until each song feels familiar and uplifting.
However, there is one song that requires no growing, one that takes no time to discover its brilliance. That song is ‘M5’, a pummelling Rock anthem. The track somehow transforms the details of a motorway drive into a supercharged sonic experience. “There's quite a few location errors in the lyrics so quite how 'involved' we are with the M5 is debatable. It's a good vehicle for dramatising something really mundane though. That's what we're trying to do, romanticise the everyday.”
This is a running theme with the band. Songs of Ashton Kutcher and flip screen motorolas pick out the fine details of life and explore their beauty. In times when music seems to be becoming increasingly overproduced, it is refreshing when you hear bands as musically honest as these guys. Their seems to be a new sub-genre forming, full of these bands who radiate a raw energy that is both infectious and relatable. “Not sure we've ever been compared to FEET but I think there's always room for something that sounds like it teetering on collapse. Our level of musicianship has tended to make an 'over produced' sound suitably unattainable anyway". Even the name Sports Team carries a unspecified simplicity. It reflects their music well, even though they didn’t seem so keen. “You never think you're going to be asked that question when you name a band. Believe me it could've been worse though. Lady Mandolin was a brief frontrunner”
Sports Team are currently on a UK Tour and having already played sold out shows in London and Bristol, they now head further north, an experience they stated their excitement for. “We Love it [playing up north]. It means we can stay at Al's in Leeds too. I think all over the country people just appreciate a show, not 6 people turning up on stage with guitars, looking a bit entitled and expecting people to love it. Guitar music needs more shows that feel like real events”. We can assure you that a Sports Team gig is an event alright, their on-stage (and often off-stage) antics have earned them a reputation for some putting on a crazy show. Their honesty and humble mentality allows them to almost become one with the crowd and let loose in a shared love for music.
Perhaps this honesty comes from their individual relationships. It is quite unusual in the modern day to see an Indie-Rock band with 6 members, yet in this case it really works! It adds to the audible camaraderie in their music.
“Touring is actually when we fight the least. We all got into a band to play live and it frustrates us a bit when we're not". They also added that “The fact that we're all mates but very different helps. If you particularly dislike me you're quite likely to get on very well with Al. Everyone resonates in their own way. There's a lot to do too, we just take charge of different bits - running Holm Front, writing, doing interviews, cooking large lunches, designing merch etc”.
They now head to Leicester tomorrow night followed up by a sold out nights in Liverpool and Manchester as well as a trip to Sheffield's Leadmill. You can purchase tickets here. Then, in the summer they play a host of festivals including Reading and Leeds. Their appearance will be one of the few that comes from an upcoming UK Indie act, something that many feel is lacking. “We are very excited, Oli and I have been going since we were 13 so there's a certain nostalgia to it. Wombats could be higher up the lineup, so long as they're booking us I reckon they've struck the balance though”.
Sports Team's favourite new bands:
“Working Men's club, Ugly, Cheap Teeth, Walt Disco, orielles, Magic Gang... Are they still new?”.
2019 will certainly be an exciting time for the band, as they set out to play countless more wild sets, plenty of recording to “get that album ready” and potentially even move into a house-boat in Leiden apparently!! Whatever happens, keep up to date via their Facebook and check out their music on Spotify.