[B]risbane prodigy Tim Bettinson (aka Vancouver Sleep Clinic) is back in town. His new single – “Silver Lining” – is a standard bearer for progressive pop in 2018 where ambient effects meet production that hints at influences from hip-hop, to contemporary R&B and EDM. Lyrically, the track gives abstract, hazy insight into Bettinson’s life experience.
“Silver Lining” is cut from Therapy Phase 002, Bettinson’s forthcoming EP that describes his recovery from the anxiety and dejection caused by a twelve month legal battle with a record label that left him unable to release music. After those troubles kept the artist and his sound underground, Therapy Phase 002 follows Therapy Phase 001 in what has already been an emphatic, productive return and recovery. Long may it continue.
Can you talk us through “Silver Lining”? What did you write the song about?
Simply put, “Silver Lining” is about watching someone become too good for you. I’ve felt like I’ve lost people I really care about to the limelight before, and while you’re trying to be happy for them, sometimes you just miss the days when everything was so simple.
You were deeply affected by a legal battle with a record label. What can you tell us about the situation? What affect did it have on you?
Mentally, it was the most difficult year of my life so far. It was so hard to find any sort of motivation when there was seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. My whole life revolving around the music quickly became something I was just trying to forget about. It took me a long time to find myself and rediscover any sort of passion or energy, but when I learned how to channel all the emotion that had been swelling up inside of me into the music, it was a game changer.
During that time you battled severe anxiety. Is that something that you’ve been able to confront through music?
Definitely, getting all of these things off my chest and into songs was a huge form of therapy for me, which is why this series of projects is titled that. I’ve always been a pretty outgoing person but the label situation and a bunch of other things happening in my life really bottled up a lot of doubts, insecurities and anxieties inside of me. After a full year or so, I can’t really remember when or how, but one day I decided to try writing again and struck some kind of breaking point. From then on songs just came rushing out of me all day, every day – and it was exactly what I needed to move on and revitalise my spirit.
Are there any other artists whose experience with mental distress that you’ve identified with? Whether through their art or their public discussion of their experience?
You know, I’ve seen and heard of several stories similar to mine from friends and people I look up to, but to be honest I could never have understood the full toll this industry can take on you until I was right in the thick of it. It was something that I’d dived head first into, and something I had therefore had to learn to deal with myself.
You’ve talked about emerging from your battle with the label and playing pop-ups and inviting fans to bonfires. That sounds cool. Is being able to do that all down to having the flexibility of an independent artists?
Now that I am back to being independent it feels like I have more freedom than I’ve ever had before. Waking up every day is exciting again because absolutely anything is possible. I could drop a song or a new line of merch for absolutely no reason other than I feel like it. I’m definitely trying to do anything and everything I can to make up for the last few years I was tied down in my mind. I’m unsure of the exact shapes and forms that all the weird ideas swimming through my head will take place, all I know is I want to have a lot of fun and establish a genuine connection with all the people that are listening to my music.
I’ve never been into asking about names. But Vancouver Sleep Clinic sounds like somewhere you might check yourself into. Is it a fictional place where stuff happens? Or is it not that deep?
The thing I loved about Vancouver Sleep Clinic when I named the project is that it really leaves the door wide open for anything to be possible. It could be a brand, an art collective, a pop up shop, a community, and who knows, one day maybe even a building where people can come in and chill on hammocks and listen to dope music or something. Haha.
Therapy Phase 002 is on the way. How does it feel listening back to it as a completed record?
I am so excited and also honestly more nervous for this one than anything to date. It’s colder, darker and probably the biggest step in a different direction I’ve taken to date. I think it reflects exactly how I felt at the time and I hope that people can connect with it.
Follow Vancouver Sleep Clinic here.