[INTERVIEW] Sports Team

Sports Team just want to get loaded and have a good time. They have played festivals, trolled Labour MPs and flute players one in the same, without releasing a single song. Will Craigie speaks to the band on spaghetti bolognese and Red Stripe

“Yeah I think it’s important to know your limits.” That’s what drummer Alex Greenwood says when the topic of diversifying their ‘sound’ crops up. It’s a dry quip in an evening glazed with wit and self deprecation. So Sports Team aren’t going to be reaching Bono levels of egotism anytime soon then. Their feet are placed so firmly on the ground they might as well be in the cement. It’s a rainy night in October, the kind that transforms a budding journalist into a drowned rat. The group live in Harlesden, with the exception of Greenwood and they are that new band missing from your life. Fun, irreverent and loving every moment. The band consists of Alex Rice (charismatic, exuberant), Alex Greenwood (“and if you could clarify that in the writing”, funny, wry.), Henry (Lead guitarist-quiet, discreet), Rob (intellectual, enlightened) and Olly (bass-sweet, thoughtful). Ben, the keyboard/tambourine player, cannot attend but then again the band tell me that he was punched in the face by a man on a moped the other week so maybe you can forgive him on that one.

They formed in their final year of Cambridge (2015). The band came together through, as it always does, friends of friends and similar taste in music. They would put on their own parties and play at the local sports social club, but they are first to admit that in their early years they were dismal. Rice says, “we genuinely couldn’t play our own instruments.” Olly, a later member of the group says “there were no endings to songs. Everyone would stop at a different point and would suddenly start again.” The band sometimes would all be playing separate songs, all this being “just what it’s like being an amateurish for so long” Rob says, “it was like we’re bad but it doesn’t matter because we have fun doing it.”

It wasn’t until after university that the idea of the band became a serious thing as they were offered the chance to play at a DIY Presents gig, the scale of which bemused them. Now, on 25th October one of their largest shows so far at Birthdays will be taking place, they’ve previously performed at Knee Deep and Swvn but their biggest moment is yet to come with their appearance at the Great Escape Festival in May. They are more excited for playing with fellow So Young magazine cohorts The Orielles in November, who are close friends with the band and whose company they love.

And that’s what Sports Team are like. The fun of performing and making music overrides anything on the business side of things. Rice says, “just going on tour would be great because it is a group of mates so we would just be hanging out together, drinking beer around the world which would be quite nice.” They have not yet released a song, but the plan is for “Ashton Kutcher” (written only a month into the band forming) to be the first single, released in November.

So how does Sports Band fit into the current musical climate? Well, they enjoy themselves onstage that’s for sure. Rice bemoans the current scene that takes itself too seriously with bands such as Happy Meal Ltd (“they are nice guys but their music is a bit stale”), Goat Girl (“they seem genuinely miserable”) guilty of this. Rice continues, “I mean it is in a way a dying genre, the reason it’s still going is there’s such dynamics with a group of mates. Get you and your friends on-stage and you’ve got something.” The kids are alright after all.

Words by William Craigie

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