Vancouver Sleep Clinic (the project of Australia’s Tim Bettinson) will be cruisin’ on through NYC tonight for a show at Bowery Ballroom! This comes just about a month and a half after the release of VSC’s triumphant new record, Onwards to Zion, which is far and away one of my favorite things I’ve put in my ears this year; it’s perfect for daydreaming whilst walking around (as I can attest), and seems like the ideal soundtrack for a roadtrip (which I could properly attest if I had a car, but alas // NYC LIVIN’, FREN!), so definitely something you’ll want to check out if you haven’t already!
I got caught up with Tim on the phone yesterday morning for a quickie catch-up about the record, music industry advice, snow, and everything in between, so internet-eavesdrop on our full conversation below, and be sure to hit up the show tonight if you’re free and able!
So how’s it going?!
I’m not too bad, just woke up. Touring. It’s snowing outside; it’s crazy!
Oh yeah, you’re in the Midwest right now, right? Or, no…you’re in Canada, right?
Yeah, we’re in Toronto. We just had a show last night and it’s snowing like crazy outside!
I’m jealous; it’s that weird gross in-between thing here right now where it’s semi-snowing but mostly sleeting, and nothing is sticking to the ground.
Oh, really? That’s annoying!
Hopefully it’ll be nicer by the time you get down here tomorrow.
Yeah, it’s like a scene out of a movie here! I’ve never seen anything like it.
Amazing! Alright, so we’re obviously coming to a close on 2019 at the moment, and it seems like you’ve had a pretty good year! How are you feeling coming out of it?
I’m feeling pretty drained; I’ve been pretty busy. But it’s been really satisfying, because it’s the first project I’ve done solely independently, with my friends. It’s been heaps of work, getting videos out and getting tour started, but it’s been really satisfying to do it ourselves. Definitely looking forward to having time off, hanging out with some friends and stuff in Australia, recharging.
For sure! And how does the concept of home feel for you, just in terms of having been on the road for a while, especially so young? Do you feel it’s changed from the standard definition? Because even for me, I feel like my definition has shifted living away and traveling when I can.
Yeah, I’m the type of person who gets bored when I’m someplace for that long. It’s kind of weird, even when I’m home. I like to change my environment. I like going back for little bits at a time, but I like to have a balance.
Totally makes sense. And with the new record that came out, how did it feel to get that out? It seems like you felt in a really good place when you worked on it, and you were sort of allowed to reclaim your sound. How long was the writing process, and what was the feeling after it was released about a month ago?
So we started in September of 2018, and it probably took about a year for the whole thing to get out. It was a lot of work, and I was the one who had to do a lot of the nitty gritty in terms of editing and all that. It was tough, but it was a really satisfying feeling to get it out. And it definitely felt like the right thing for me at the time, just as a person and as an artist. Just trying to figure out where I belong in all of this, like, “Is this the natural thing to do?” Yeah, it was really fulfilling.
And from having come from a negative sort of label experience (and I know there are plenty of other people who have come from that situation), what sort of advice would you give to someone? I know that (especially when you’re younger, but at any age) you can sort of want to jump on a deal that sounds good. Do you have any tips for reading out red flags or anything like that?
It’s really hard, because you never really know the info when you sign. Some people have great experiences, but it’s hard to do it by yourself without a great team behind you. I guess it depends on what your goals are and what you’re willing to risk. I don’t really regret any decisions I’ve made, and I think it’s always worth gambling, but it’s about not giving too much. Not selling your soul for like, 20 years. Making sure you have outs.
And do you feel at all for you that even though that particular label situation was not ideal, do you feel like it forced you to be more introspective with yourself in terms of understanding the type of music you wanted to make in order to move forward? Do you feel that being under that negative framework…do you feel you benefited from it, in a way?
Yeah, for sure. You always learn something about yourself no matter what. And then you can take that information and shape your next project and make it even more suited to who you are as a person. At the end of the day, it’s just about following your instincts.