‘We’re trying to celebrate normality’: An interview with Sports Team

The band played the Leadmill stage at Tramlines


This interview with Sports Team starts with an apology. In our Tramlines preview, the six-piece were described as "southerners telling weird stories about roundabouts."

Unbelievably, people actually read the preview, including Sports Team themselves. Drummer Al Greenwood – from Leeds – was "very offended by the southern emphasis" and we apologise as profusely as we can.

On that note, here's our belated Tramlines interview with Sports Team, allow it please – the BBC is only just publishing Glasto interviews. Enjoy!

Oli Jones: What's the process of writing music like?

Alex Rice: We're just singing, just performing.

Al Greenwood: Rob writes all our music. We can still… I'm sure, ask away and we'll see what…

Oli: In our Tramlines preview, I got stick for comparing you to Pulp from a lot of me mates. Not musically, but you guys described it as lyrical cynicism, and I was interested in your viewpoint and how you put that across.

Al: Basically it's a sense of we've all come from relatively mundane backgrounds. A lot of post-punk bands are very keen to criticise everything they see around them, but we're just trying to glamourise and celebrate the normality. But take that into an arena that's energetic and fun and make sure everyone has a good time.

Oli: Well it's very energetic, very fun. Very looking forward to it. That's fantastic. You got anything Dom?

Dominic Penna: It seems to have been a really big few months for you guys, supporting Hinds at the Leadmill, setting off on bigger dates. Has it been a bit of a whirlwind?

Alex: It's always been gradual. One venue bigger, one venue bigger, and then you realise you're playing in front of huge crowds. Six months ago you'd have been kicking yourself.

So much of it is really mundane, it's something you don't realise about being in a band. You drive to Sheffield for four hours and do an amazing show for half an hour, it's incredible, then you come off, you pack your gear, and you drive somewhere else. It's brilliant. The shows, when you see that many people in front of you, you realise there's 2000 kids that want to turn up and sing words back at you, have a mosh. It's crazy.

Al: For us as well it's just been so, so fun. The reason we formed the band has always been built on playing live, having that crowd in front of you. So to go where we were doing those Hinds dates to now, festival stages that feel relatively normal, it's amazing.

Dominic: With it being a festival, there'll be people watching Sports Team for the first time. Some people might be watching four chord indie instead – what can people reading this expect from a Sports Team gig?

Alex: Four chord indie. (uproarious laughter)

Al: A lot of pyros.

Alex: I think it is that sort of very English lyrics, trying to romanticise what we know basically. But a lot of the music we tend to listen to is very anti-political, like Parquet Courts. It's energetic, romantic, you don't really know what's going to happen on stage. So it's that, but with a lot of Pulp-ish lyricism.

Al: As well we don't take it for granted people will want to listen to our music or turn up at our show.

Alex: You've got to make it a good show, you've got to make it the best. Put on a genuine show for people.

Oli: How would you guys motivate yourselves to do that?

Al: We've got this game…

Alex: I think it's really visceral, you see a crowd in front of you and you can't help but react.

Al: I think for us as well it's quite an interesting dynamic because we were all a group of mates before we were in a band. We've done the whole thing as friends, so it's coming through that and before you're on stage you're just sorta hanging out.

Dominic: Do you have a favourite Sports Team?

Al: Man United. We're all big Man United fans. To be fair, Ben is as well.

Alex: The Cricket World Cup nearly made me cry.

Dominic: What do the next few months hold for Sports Team?

Alex: We're trying to record an album, we're in the studio a lot between all these festivals. There'll definitely be another tour, really big venues.

We're doing this thing as well we did last year where we're taking a coach to Margate, we're renting a double decker. We're just going to stack it with bands and drive down for an indie heaven day.