20th March | Rough Trade
Following hot on the heels of the release of their latest EP, Keep Walking! and playing at the legendary SXSW festival, London-based six-piece, Sports Team are set to return to home turf and will embark on a UK tour this month, including a set at Rough Trade on Wednesday 20th.
Despite much noise about the supposed ‘demise’ of guitar bands in the music press, Sports Team are proving those naysayers wrong, having won over a vocal and loyal fanbase with their ridiculously energetic and frequently sold-out live shows and their arsenal of tunes that resurrect the fun-soaked spirit of the best of 90s Britpop, and the sense of humour of American influences like Pavement.
After starting out playing joke-injected shows for a laugh as a group of friends, the band have continued with that same sense of joy which is certainly striking a chord with their followers. They could well be the shot in the arm that the indie music world needs right now.
Having appeared on numerous ‘Ones To Watch In 2019’ lists, and making waves across the pond in the US as well as at home, this year is shaping up to be a winner for Sports Team.
Interview with Sports Team’s bassist, Oli Dewdney
For anyone not familiar with Sports Team, tell us a bit about the band and what they should expect from your music and live shows?
We’re a six-piece and we started off just trying to play what we thought was energetic and fun-sounding music that we thought was lacking a bit maybe. We were just a group of mates trying to figure out how to put a band together, really.
Your early shows were known to feature a lot of jokes, and spoof guitar solos, almost like a parody band. Was it always just for fun at that point, or did you always have the ambition to do more with it?
Definitely at the start it was just fun. Our ambitions were to just play venues we liked and see other bands we liked play. Once we’d all started working day jobs in London, we realised the music was a ticket out of that. It was like a really good alternative, and we realised what we were offering was a real sense of fun in guitar music again. We wanted to instil a sense of excitement in going to gigs again.
The music press often talks a lot about the supposed death of guitar music, which I would absolutely disagree with. What are your thoughts on the current state of guitar music and do you think it will come back into the mainstream in a big way again?
Like you said, it never really went away. I think the main thing that will really get it back to a place like that is a sense of enjoyment. There are so many gigs where people are staring at their feet or mumbling between songs, and you leave feeling empty. Like you’ve wasted an evening almost.
As someone who has lived in Bristol in the past, are you excited to come back to the city and play on the 20th?
Yeah I was at Bristol University, so when the other five met at Cambridge, they were looking for a bassist and I’d recently graduated from Bristol and was the only one they knew who played bass, so I got the gig. Bristol is an amazing city and I’d love to move back at some stage. I’m really excited to play at Rough Trade. It wasn’t there when I was studying, but we played there at Dot to Dot last summer and it’s such a great venue. To go back to Bristol for a sold-out gig is very, very exciting, and there’s an after party at The Mother’s Ruin, which should be a lot of fun!
What bands have influenced you and what other current bands are you into right now?
Rob, our songwriter, is a huge Pavement fan. We all got heavily into them and we were trying to recreate the energy of American bands like Pavement and Weezer. They always have a sense of humour to their lyrics. And definitely British bands like Pulp who present that same sense of humour. We wanted to bring the energy of those bands. When I was in Bristol there was a great music scene, with Spectres playing a lot and Oliver Wilde, and IDLES of course who have been the ones to have really broken out of that scene. We also played a secret show in Amsterdam with Pip Blom last year.
As I mentioned earlier, I think going to gigs now and really enjoying yourself can be such a rarity sometimes, and there are times in the press where we’ve been quite negative about other bands, which I think is as important as being positive about them. It can become so stale if everyone just gets a pass, and the onus is on everyone to challenge themselves and do something exciting again.
Can you tell us anything about your debut album?
We’re looking at early next year. We’re now in the stages of writing and trying to figure out what we want, and we’re getting there. I think over summer we’ll refine what’s going on. We’re probably going to record it and release it early next year hopefully!
See the video for ‘Margate’ here: