Tim Bettison is the brainchild behind Vancouver Sleep Clinic, one of the most exciting solo projects to come out of Australia in recent memory. Garnering early support from publications like Indie Shuffle and The Guardian, Bettison burst onto the scene in 2014 with his debut single, “Vapour.” Only 17 years-old at the time of its release, the song was written during one of Bettison’s dreadfully boring “maths classes” while still in high school.
Now 20, Bettison has been working on his debut album, Revival, for the past year with renowned producer Al Shux, who’s worked with the likes of Jay Z, Lana Del Rey and Lianne La Havas, just to name a few. Slated for release sometime early next year, the album is a logical step forward in Bettison’s steadily evolving musical career. With a pair singles already under his belt and a new deal with Sony Music Australia, Bettison is poised for big things in 2017.
Naturally, we decided to catch up with the wunderkind to learn more about his debut album and see what he’s been up to lately. Our interview follows:
Indie Current: It’s been just over two years since you released your Winter EP. What have you been up to during that time?
Vancouver Sleep Clinic: We’ve been working on this record! It’s taken a long time, but I wanted to make sure every element of it was just the way I always wanted it to be.
IC: Your latest single “Killing Me to Love You” is noticeably heavier and perhaps grittier than any of your previous releases. Does this signal a new sonic direction?
VSC: As most artistic vision and taste changes over time, the album is definitely a progression of the VSC sound. I’ve brought a whole lot of other influences and ideas into this record, that I wasn’t aware of or didn’t have the capability of putting into the EP. In saying all of this, I think at the core of the songs and the record as a whole is the sound and feeling that made listeners get into us in the first place.
IC: What can you tell us about the music video for “KMTLY”?
VSC: I wanted the video to be simple yet emotive, and for the viewer to really be able to take what they wanted from it. It follows the story of a girl who is constantly chasing and falling deeper into something – but is left unresolved as to whether that thing was ultimately a salvation or demise. David Helman did an awesome job with this video and the whole team put together exactly what we were looking for.
IC: Next month, you’ll be supporting Daughter on their North American and UK tour. How have they influenced you, if at all?
VSC: I actually remember being at Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia watching that band for the first time when I was 16, and just being in complete awe. They felt like such a distant entity (as every even mildly successful band felt to me at that time), so it’s hard for me to believe that we get to do this run of shows with them. They have an amazing sound and capture a really special emotion in their lyrics – I can’t wait to watch them 20 times.
IC: Have you finished recording your debut album?
VSC: Yes! I’ve been sitting on it for a little while now and it’s been killing me not being able to share all of it yet – but not long now at all.
VSC: Al Shux was amazing. He really brought a whole new set of influences and direction to my soppy piano demos. He made creating this record fun and exciting, finding ideas and sounds from places I didn’t even know were possible.
VSC: Definitely! I love those guys and I love that style of music. I think this record really pulls from such a wide variety of random styles – and this is one of them.
IC: Why did you call your album Revival?
VSC: Honestly, the waiting space in between records was long and challenging for me. When you are sitting with music for a while, being away from touring & meeting a whole heap of people every day, it can really start to mess you up. Writing these songs over this two year break I went through a lot of different states of though & emotions – it was a total roller coaster. There were times when I thought this music was never going to get out and I should just move on with life and start something new. Ultimately this album is a journey of my revival.
IC: What have you been listening to while recording this album?
VSC: Heaps of stuff! Hip hop, RnB, Psych Rock, Pop, Post-Rock, Electronic. I have such a wide area of interest in music!
IC: On your website, each song from your forthcoming album, Revival, is accompanied by its own cryptic symbol. Is there a hidden message behind these emblems?
VSC: I see each of these symbols as a portal into the world created around each song. They all have different meanings, emotions and themes attached to them that were part of this journey – and more will be revealed regarding this over time!
IC: Lastly, in a previous interview you expressed your desire to play “with a 10-piece band in forests, castles or canyons.” Has your dream become a reality?
VSC: Well there’s 5 of us now, so I guess you can say we’re halfway there! Very excited to put out this album and see what happens.