Vancouver Sleep Clinic On Transforming His Regrets: Can A Mistake And Dark Past Bring Inspiration?

Source: Jarrod Harker

Even though the stage name could be deceiving, Brisbane is the homeland of Vancouver Sleep Clinic.  The mind of Tim Bettinson is behind the project: his dreamy and soothing vocals give his work an original and nostalgic feeling, something that I can't really pinpoint. I just know that I wouldn't mind falling in love while listening to his music.

I stumbled upon his first EP, Winter, thanks to my mom's Spotify recommendations, and my life hasn't been the same since. April of last year saw the blooming of Tim's debut, Revival, a melancholic and warm record whose 11 tracks sweep one off their feet and take them to their favourite placeeven if they didn't know they had one. The most consistent sounds are found in songs like "Empire", "Whispers", and "Unworthy", though I have to confess that the song that owns my heart is the bubbly "Living Water".

A few weeks ago, Tim Bettinson and his music made a comeback with the EP Therapy Phase 01 after battling to free himself from his previous record label. I was lucky enough to schedule a Skype call and chat with Tim about his music and ideas, andwhy nothis life and persona too.

Therapy Phase 01

We all know that coming back with new music after a hiatus of one year might be difficult and challenging, and there might be varied ideas behind a work. "I was stuck on my label for like a year," Tim told me, "and it was a pretty difficult time because the deal was that they could hold on [to our works] after the album came out, and we couldn't put out music for like a year if they didn't want us to." A situation as off-putting as this can be complicated to overcome. In fact, I learned that he was stuck for a year without touring as well (since they didn't have any new songs), and, as Tim defined it, "it was pretty brutal."

But Vancouver Sleep Clinic chose the path of freedom, and as he went on talking his tone turned a bit brighter. "The idea of Therapy was..." He pondered the words to choose. "You know, there was a lot going on in my life at that time and it was all kinda bottled up because I couldn't really express it, so basically I ended up back in my bedroom in my mom and dad's house, back where everything started..."

So a change of scenery and a return to one's origins might be the solution to an introspective break like the one Tim was going through.

Often, all the money, professional instruments, serious studios, and even a "proper major label operation" won't give the necessary inspiration to an artist. Tim confessed that this "independent work" on himself was the "therapy [he] needed to make it through that year and keep [himself] focused."
"Music is my life and when you can't actively pursue that it's kinda like you're in a purgatory."
So that's where the songs off this last EP come fromsometimes you just need to close yourself up a little bit and find your own personal path. Tim fell back in love with making music and crafted his own healing process, and I honestly find that amazing.

We then proceeded to talk about his debut, Revival, and things got even deeper. Keep in mind that while I was basically interrogating him, he was walking around LA after moving houses with his headphones on, trying to act cool. Spoiler alert: he was very cool.

"Revival was, as I said, a major label project, and I wouldn't say it was fully forced, because at one point I did have a connection to some songs, but the whole process was very grueling... I've written most of the songs about two years before the album came out, so by the time the album was out I was a totally different person. So I think that whole year produced a different version of me than who I actually am."

The intensity of this conversation was difficult to handle, and being objective about it was even more; hearing that from this experience even his influences and sounds went through a drastic change really made me think. "I like being in control of what I do completely," Tim continued, "so I think that's the main difference in myself. Mostly for me [the difference] is just me freeing myself from all the weight of that responsibility [of not being totally free] and just basically making music like I was 17 again, doing whatever the hell I wanted."

Music should be a way to express ourselves. If you're forced to follow a certain style or lyrical recipe, it just makes you lose your grip on reality. I have learned from Tim that this debut should have come out when he was 18, so that he could have had 3 albums out by now, but life often doesn't go as planned.

Knowing this, I formulated another question. "Talking about regrets and the past then, is there any song that you regret releasing? Or anything that you'd change in your works?"

Tim thought. "Woah, that's a good question."

Even though I would have loved to pause there and let that compliment sink in, he kept going. "I don't really regret anything, but I definitely would have done things differently. I mean, at 17 I didn't really have any idea of what direction I wanted to go in and it's weird... my musical influences have always been two completely different ends of spectrum, like I listen to Coldplay and then I listen to Kendrick Lamar... so I have always been unsure of where I wanted to go. Now, for sure I know where I want to go. So I guess the answer to your question is that I don't really regret releasing any song, because it's all part of a process, but I do regret signing the deal."

To move on from the past to matters of the future, it's exciting to say that Vancouver Sleep Clinic is finally going on tour. I asked him if there is anything the fans should know about it.

"I am super excited," Tim enthused. "All the songs are fresh to me; most of the songs have been written in the last month or so. I think it's gonna be great and it's gonna be a new world for me. I  always used to kinda just hide behind a guitar for the whole show, and it will be nice to have a little more movement. I can't wait to go to Europe... I haven't been there since I was 17 or something, and it's probably my favourite continent."

The beauty of Europe is not the only thing he is excited about, though, since he spoiled that they "will be playing hints of new songs and a couple of tracks that have never been released."
"My favourite part of being an artist is just getting to meet everyone and go a little bit crazy."
Tour is one of the principal elements of being in the music industry, and another element is being consistent. Apart from Therapy Phase 01, Tim has teased the release of Therapy Phase 02 by publishing a song called "Silver Lining", and here's what he told us about it: "This second EP is easily the darkest thing that I've done, so I'm pretty nervous about it."

Wait, even darker than Revival?

"It's very confronting; Revival is kinda more hurtful even if the overall message is positive. But Phase 02, chronologically, came at a very low point for me as a person, so a lot of songs reflect that."

This is very intriguing. Tim also says that he "[isn't] even thinking twice about things". This is the perfect juxtaposition of styles many would want to hear.

Source: Jarrod Harker

Mental health is a vital part of producing music, and chatting with as inspirational a character as Tim Bettinson has been a great opportunity.

Vancouver Sleep Clinic is just getting started, ladies and gentlemen. Be ready to hear this name very often. You can start by following them on Twitter (@vcsleepclinc) and Instagram (@vancouversleepclinic), and downloading their beautiful music on every major platform.


Instagram Feed