Sports are the anti-jogging band who make irresistible 80s-style dream pop.
What band would name themselves after something they’re not very good at? Sports, that’s who. Despite the fact that their athletic ability leaves much to be desired, their sound is a hazy 80s dream-based pop extravaganza; the Oklahoma-based boys’s smooth, out-of-this-world vibe tracks irresistibly catchy and completely addictive.
The newest EP from Sports, “People Can’t Stop Chillin” is chock full of enchanting melodies and groovy baselines. Made up of bassist Jacob Theriot, guitarist Christian Theriot and vocalist Cale Chronister, Sports take their inspiration from The Beach Boys, Les Baxter, Elvis and Stevie Wonder, it’s clear that Sports’ ethereal yet jazzy vibe isn’t an accident. It’s pure, unadulterated disco-shoegaze fun.
Their newest single “Manicure” has a vibe that is as trippy as it is arty. The video, directed by Brandon Waddell and Bryan Roberts, is a psychedelic dreamscape full of hands. Yes, hands. From hands surrounded by fake nails presented on dinner plates, to creeping out of drawers and even being worn as a full-on costume. Exploring how crazy and surreal our dream worlds can be, Sports will take you into a surreal fantasy world.
J: We first started making music together in middle school. Although, Christian and I used to play covers of tunes we heard on the alternative rock station. He attempted to teach me to play guitar but I was a bit stubborn and he was irritating, so I bought a bass instead of a guitar and things smoothed out pretty well.
C: I think we are on our 10th year. I was 13, so yeah.
Where did the name Sports come from?
C: It sort of came from the idea of wanting a really simple name. That you only had to say once and people would understand what you said. Played around with various other one word names and kept going back to Sports. It was sort of ironic. Each of us tried / played sports in school but we realized we were better at making music. Not the easiest name to google but we all kind of decided let’s roll with it and see what happens.
J: The name Sports came fresh from Christian’s dome when we were trying to come up with names. My basketball coach in middle school didn’t play me at all. It felt personal, but it was only that I was the 2nd worst player on my team. I believe I didn’t play for more than two minutes the entire season. The name Sports just felt cool/ironic and also a solid way for me to say, “Hey dad, I’m doing pretty well in Sports, are ya proud?”
C: It feels right that I’m still pursuing “Sports” since that was my childhood dream. I have Michael Jordan posters hanging in my room to jokingly remind myself I used to want to be in the NBA.
Where do you often look to inspiration for?
J: I love Macgyver (not the new one). I usually watch an episode to feel his can-do attitude wash over me and then I write a tune. I only wish to be as cool as him someday.
C: I like laying down on my trampoline or driving around in my van. I’m most inspired when I’m daydreaming.
Do you have any artists that you look to for inspiration in particular?
C: I’m always listening to The Beach Boys. I’ve been listening to Les Baxter every morning. Lovin’ Elvis and Shelley Fabares lately, too.
J: I just recently got really into Stevie Wonder. The song “Superwoman” changed my life. Also, I turned on the radio in my car recently to hear “Boys Of Summer” by Don Henley for the millionth time, though I never realized until that moment how daggum good it is, then listened to it on repeat for days. I’m starting to find that the music my mom would put on and I’d roll my eyes to back in the day is now becoming the backbone of my musical interests. Thanks mom.
“My favourite thing about making music has to be the sole fact that we’re making it happen and continuing and loving what we’ve started as lil dudes 10 years ago.”
What’s Oklahoma like and how does the music scene there effect you?
J: Oklahoma really is such a nice place to live. Tulsa is up and coming. There are great things happening here to inform people that we don’t ride horses to work or live in teepees(although I’d like to do both of those things). The music scene itself doesn’t have much of an affect on me, it’s pretty diverse and people are into what we’re doing, I think.
C: It’s home and I for sure like it. I lived in LA this past summer and there’s so much more to do there, but also way more people and that drove me a little crazy toward the end. Getting groceries is a lot easier in Oklahoma. The music scene is tight where I live. The studio we record at, Blackwatch, has a ton of cool people coming through it all the time. It’s just good to be around. Everyone is willing to help each other out.
What are your favourite things about making music?
J: My favourite thing about making music has to be the sole fact that we’re making it happen and continuing and loving what we’ve started as lil dudes 10 years ago. Making real deal dreams real deal realities. It’s a good time.
C: It’s always the things we do together I enjoy the most. Whether it’s recording or playing live. I just like havin’ fun.
How does your new EP differ to your debut LP “Naked All The Time”?
J: The new EP is a bit more upbeat and less summery. We’re maturing more as musicians and I like to think it shows on the new stuff.
C: It’s a little sexier, sweatier, and spookier. There’s more of an intentional theme/story behind it. It actually feels like more of an album than our last record, even though it’s a lot shorter.
You’re going on tour soon! What’s your favourite thing about playing live?
C: It’s the only way I can let my ego loose and be whoever I want to be. Strangely enough, it’s the only time I’m not concerned with what other people are thinking of me. It feels good to be free.
J: That’s a tough one, I love it all. Just dudes bein’ dudes.
Who’s your dream collaboration?
J: I recently heard that Lindsey Buckingham collaborated with a newer artist. I think that’d be pretty cool. And Vangelis. If those two worked together who knows what would happen. I wanna be there for that.
C: Les Baxter and Vangelis would be tight. Vangelis and John Williams should team up. Has that happened? I don’t know. It should.
J: I’m thinkin’ a lotta travelin’ and a lotta records. That’s the dream.