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Samstag, 24. September 2022
Conrad Sohm, Dornbirn
Einlass: 19:00 Uhr | Beginn: 20:00 Uhr

An artist’s journey can be marked by a constant hunger for self-realisation and ultimately, self-acceptance. The desire to reach a state of proper fulfilment is one that is not always satiated, and so the cycle continues: from project to project, the artist continues their search.

For Brisbane’s Tim Bettison aka Vancouver Sleep Clinic, he was able to fully embrace the above with the creation of his most definitive set of material yet – third studio album, Fallen Paradise. Inspired by the concept of liminal space and a central idea of existing somewhere in the middle of two different worlds, the new album not only provides an insight into Bettison’s creative flow during lockdown, but offers up a picture of him at his purest.

Across its ten tracks, Fallen Paradise weaves threads of expansive storytelling with sophisticated production and sweeping arrangements. At times escapist in tone, Vancouver Sleep Clinic never isolates the listener; the album is grounded in real life experience and an embrace of accessible nuance and intimacy when it comes to the overall songwriting.

Conceptualising the material and laying down the foundations for the album in Australia before relocating to London at the beginning of 2021 to record, Bettison found himself in a creative space he’d never been in before. Since 2016’s Vapour EP release, Vancouver Sleep Clinic quickly became a festival and live favourite, ensuring that Bettison was kept consistently on the road or in the studio fleshing out an already promising catalogue of work.

For a burgeoning artist, a growing profile and sense of needing to meet demand can be chaotic. To put that pressure on someone going through the formative and transitional stages of leaving adolescence behind for young adulthood too, the whirlwind can almost be addictive. And so, when the world was halted in 2020, Bettison was able to – for the first time – stop and take a breath. 

“Because I’ve been making music since high school, ever since I graduated I’ve been in this relentless wave after wave of things happening.” he explains. 

“I’ve never had time to stop; or I’ve never wanted to. It’s been super fast paced and tumultuous – all types of chaos. Then, when the pandemic happened, it was the first time in eight years where I was forced to chill out a bit. This album has been the first time where I’ve allowed myself to have time and to live a little bit. The biggest lesson, or the thing I learned about myself, was that sometimes, giving yourself the time and space can be a really beneficial thing.”

The writing process for the new Vancouver Sleep Clinic album did not come easy, though. Time off to breathe brought with it anxiety surrounding a loss of the spark. What if the creative feeling could only exist and thrive with the chaos of being constantly on the grow?

Bettison admits that though he did experience periods of darkness where mentally, he would be tough on himself for not having that same hunger for writing or music-making; when it did come back, the love for the craft was refreshed and ready to be explored.

We can hear this renewed dedication to structure, production and execution throughout Fallen Paradise: from the sweeping electronic and vocals elements of album opener LOVE YOU LIKE I DO; the stripped back and emotional THE WIRE, and the late-night R&B vibes of the album’s title track.

The comfort felt in Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s presence on the album is one of its strengths – testament to Bettison’s own comfort in the process, discovered as he would continue to put it all together between a London Airbnb and the studio.

“I was just so in the moment with this work, and I didn’t know where the music was going to end up.” he remembers. “It [the album] was a full embodiment of that, of me just being placed in this really weird, introspective point in my life.”

“This is the first time I’ve really reached full peace with myself as an artist. I think that just being in that whirlwind of seven, eight years has just been relentless. Naturally, for anyone going from that period of being a teenager to their mid-20s, it’s a crazy period of change. I never gave myself that time to be at peace with who I was or with what I wanted to be doing. I think that’s the biggest thing with this album, I had the time to just reflect on everything; who I’d become.”

Vancouver Sleep Clinic fans will come to Fallen Paradise perhaps with an idea of what the album could sound like. 2017’s Revival was a debut album that shone with emotional range. 2019’s Onwards to Zion demonstrated Bettison’s continued growth of vision and sonic identity.

And here with Fallen Paradise, listeners can hear Vancouver Sleep Clinic – as a project – in its truest form. Not hampered by outside influences or direction, not pressured by anything other than the artist’s meticulous creative nature.

Fallen Paradise is authenticity in musical form: a perfect way for Bettison to move forward, further into this new decade of ideas and sounds.

“I began to trace back the roots of why I wanted to start making music. A lot of that got lost along the way, as it naturally does when things get crazy. When there’s other people involved, when there’s fans who want certain things.” he says. 

“It was a chance for me to step back and fully try and get a grasp on what it is and what the essential core of me doing this was; what made it so enjoyable and cathartic for me. Finding the source of that and using it in the next project; taking my time and making sure that the next project is exactly what I wanna do. It’s the most at peace I’ve been with something I’ve made and probably the most fun I’ve had. It just sounds like me.”