Sports Team: 2023

Sports Team (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)
by Kara Manning | 12/18/2023 | 12:01am

Sports Team (photo by Gus Philippas for FUV)

London-based sextet Sports Team released their first single in 2017, and two EPs thereafter. But it was their debut album, Deep Down Happy, released in the midst of the pandemic lockdown in June 2020, that became the band's big breakthrough. The album rocketed to No. 2 on the UK album charts and it was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize.

The group's second album, Gulp!, was released in 2022 and all six band members — lead vocalist Alex Rice, rhythm guitarist and songwriter Rob Knaggs, bassist Oli Dewdney, lead guitarist Henry Young, drummer Al Greenwood and keyboardist Ben Mack — toured relentlessly behind it. Although they announced last December that they'd take a much-deserved break, the touring continued in 2023 landing them in New York in October.

They're a dynamic live entity — extremely evident as they made Studio A a haven of raucous, caustic guitar bangers, gleefully attacking "The Drop" and "Dig!" from Gulp! and "Here's the Thing" from Deep Down Happy.

I also chatted with Alex, Rob and Al about their heavy live schedule, making up for lost time after not touring during the pandemic, and how this group of friends, who met at the University of Cambridge, interact creatively. Also, Rob chats about his lyrical dance with death metaphors and dark humor (which he calls "Pythonesque") and Alex touches on the group's mutual love of bands like Pavement, Pulp and Parquet Courts. Finally, Al talks about a passion project — involvement, in music and advocacy, with England's Lionesses, the women's national football (aka soccer) team.

[Recorded 10/4/23; Engineered by Jim O'Hara and Erin Merriman; produced by Meghan Offtermatt]

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