Tim North: “There’s No One Moment When Everything Works Out”

Age: 29

City: Toronto, Ontario

Soundcloud: Tim North

‘Fuck Luck’ is your latest release, how do you feel about the love it’s been getting?

It’s great. “Fuck Luck” is definitely a song that I personally felt like I had – not to be too cliché – but broken through into a newer wave that I’ve continued on since then and I haven’t really released any music from so it’s really encouraging, it should be hitting 100k fairly shortly and it’s getting picked up across different markets. Today it got picked up off a new playlist on Spotify that’s based out of Netherlands. I’ve released music in the past with P.R. people and really going for the blogs and with this [song]. I sent it to DJ booth because those guys have always supported me and I never sent it anywhere else and I sent it to Spotify Canada which was sweet. It’s been doing better numbers than anything in the past, it’s encouraging – that’s how I would sum it up. It helps me to release more music.

From what I understand it was a long time in the making, being a year old. What was happening in between the time it was made to it being released?

I had hit that sort of creative stride that sent me down a whole different way of writing music and also becoming way more productive. When you say it was a long time in the making that’s not to necessarily say that song took a long time to make, it was the beginning of me making songs really fast and often and I probably made, well I know I made over 120 songs since ‘Fuck Luck’.

“Once you discover a new sort of avenue it makes you curious about what else you can make.”

I was on a wave of making different music, and writing music for other people became a thing in that time frame.

Out of the 120 songs, why did ‘Fuck Luck’ get shared?

That song made me realize I can sing. As much as I now look back and realize I don’t sing that much, that was me tampering with melodies. ‘Full Well’ I made after ‘Fuck luck’, I made and just put out. But ‘Fuck Luck’ was just the first one and it was really exciting and a lot of energy to it and I mixed it properly with Alexonweed so it was always slated to come out. I learned a lot when mixing that song, and I have since pretty much mixed everything myself.

How did you get started in music, was this always something you were destined to do?

I would say in a certain sense yeah. I started making music extremely early, I had a drum set when I was 8-years-old and my brother and I made a lot of punk music and I started rapping when I was in junior high. I was just skateboarding a lot in high school and I wasn’t focused a lot on music and when skateboarding phased out music came back. Through that I started promoting shows and then I moved out and I couldn’t just rely on promoting so I got a bar job and that allowed me to focus on music more. I found that when I was promoting I was always making music, I was performing a lot so I put myself on my own bills but the actual creation of the music was secondary because I would wake up and want to hustle and that was focused more around the shows than creating stuff. But once income started coming in from the bar that’s when things started to be more focused on music. So it’s been a long journey and it’s a part of what I do and it has been my whole life.

What role has Toronto played on your career?

I’d say that being someone who’s been making hip hop and rap music in Toronto over the past ten years is pretty unique. I’ve been luckily given a really unique perspective, because we’ve gone from a big sort of question mark on the map to one of the hottest places to be from and to see the entire ride of that has been super nuts. I remember when Drake had a feature from Lil Wayne and I remember when Drake had a feature from Little Brother – he had a song with Phonte and that was crazy. And now you don’t even know what that is, they were their own hip hop group, they were on Flow 93.5 with Little Brother and that was a big deal, but it wasn’t just Drake there was a generation of people coming up, and then really it was when ‘Ransom’ by Drake featuring Lil Wayne produced by Boi-1Da came out. That’s when things reached a national on the scene, we hadn’t seen bigger records and more success from an artist, but to have a guy collaborate on a track with Wayne right when ‘A Milli’ was out – and Wayne’s verse on that song was super crazy, he does this weird thing with the alphabet – and then Drake’s verse. I remember the moment I heard that, I couldn’t wait for the ‘So Far Gone’ mix tape to come out.

How is the music scene different in Los Angeles and New York?

If you’re from Toronto or somewhere that’s not the hot spot, you think you’re going to just pick-up and go to New York or Los Angeles – if it’s rap music Atlanta – or some sort of hotbed of where things are going on. You think you’re just going to get there and things are going to be sort of better, but from my experience things are very unique to themselves and you need to learn the ways they are.

“New York is very different from L.A., almost polar opposites but that’s not to say they don’t both have their advantages, and I’m sure now Toronto is a city to be reckoned with having its disadvantages as well.”

New York is super fast paced, and hard to open up many doors out there, but you never know if you’re going to run into a situation in New York, everyone is always passing through. In Los Angeles it’s easier to make plans and holler at people, it’s a little slower pace but more productive. You have a way better chance getting in the studio with someone in Los Angeles that New York.

Tell me a bit about your world, how would you define what you’re doing and who you’re working with?

Well right now my world is based in the creation of music more than anything else which is really sick. Finally reaching somewhere I’ve always wanted to get to and in that same sense I’m only starting this journey of really pushing myself forward in music – that’s on a more abstract perspective of that question. Reality is that I’m in Toronto and making more music and going to be travelling more and more, going to Los Angeles more and hopefully some other hubs. I’d really like to get back to Atlanta soon. I’m doing a lot of writing that could be going for other artists and connecting to other artists and major label situations. Looking at the idea of signing publishing deals or sync and licensing. I’m getting more and more into production where traditionally I’ve been a rapper/writer. I don’t have any published placements with any major label artists so I don’t want to drop any official names of that, but hopefully in the first quarter of next year I’ll have some bigger talking points and just keep building on relationships.

I’m also starting a management company, for a more broad range of creatives. With Fucci being the first guy we signed. It’s called Broadview and were trying to look at athletes and actors and all sorts of that. As the name lends itself to, it’s more of a broad perspective on working in this industry which intersects with all sorts of types of opportunities for all types of deals.

Photo By accidentintent
Photo By accidentintent

Tell me about your collaboration with different artists?

I’m all over the place right now which is super sick, I’m making pop stuff I’m making a lot of R&B stuff, I’m waiting for country artists or a punk band or something weird to call. That’s what I mean by hitting a new string. I’ve been rapping alone for years and then I was like “holy I can sing.”

“Rap is one genre, as much as it’s blending into other stuff it’s really freeing [knowing] I can work with the perspective of melody rather than just flow on word-play and incorporating the aspect of rapping I’ve learnt into those, bringing that background into it.”

Do you get inspired with different genres or are you more comfortable with R&B?

I definitely like listening to different genres, but I always find my “inspiration” for writing ideas comes more from life outside of music – just comes from conversations or whatever thoughts you have about things that you then jot down and turn into music. The style of stuff that I then apply those topics to happens to be whatever production I’m working with at that time. I never knew that I could write an indie rock song, and that piece of word-play that might be great for a rap song could actually be applied to a Tame Impala sounding track, that’s what’s exciting to me.

What is in the back of your head when it comes to making music, what has been pushing you for this long?

When I think about it in a more long-term way, you know 10 years since I was a teenager making music, the idea of getting better, having this thing that I get better and better at because that’s what pushes me in general. It’s what pushed me when I was skateboarding, I like the idea of having a hobby that you continuously work at, but as things get more and more serious the notion that pushes me to really try to go somewhere with it now is the idea of freedom.

“I think that if you were able to create music for a living it would be a very free way of living.”

When I see other people succeeding [in music], I see the way they live their life and it’s weird because you’re trapped into this identity you have and you really live out being an artist. It’s not like going home and having a job, you are that person and that is how you continue to exist and survive in this world, by being that person perpetuating the idea of who that is and continue to go deeper into that character or that idea that is at the core of your artistry. I think that’s also very freeing because you get to be who you want to be. And if the financial aspect of your life is covered by doing that – which is essentially the lack of freedom everyone has is that you have to make money in order to survive – if your art is the way you make that money, it seems very freeing to me. Along with the aspect of travel that’s associated with making music.

Photo By accidentintent
Photo By accidentintent

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I have to credit Ben B-side my homie and my business partner now in Broadview to just constantly be giving me the advice that if I work hard at this I going to succeed.

“There’s no one moment when everything works out. When you watch the movies and there’s that story of someone who came into greatness, there’s always that montage of when they were struggling and then they met somebody and then it all happened or they wrote a song and it took off  and now they’re rich and famous. That montage is some boring ass shit that no one wants to do and that’s the work.”

Life is going to be that, that’s the day-to-day and when you’re struggling and when you feel shitty – in that montage it’s just when a character is like “oh no” and turning the pages of a book their studying or whatever. But that’s really what is happening and you have to live it out in real-time no matter what. As long as you keep doing it it’s going to work. You can’t be banging your head at the wall and be doing one thing and one thing alone but as long as it stays there with you it’s going to work out.

What’s next on the docket for you?

Lots of music dropping, a lot of new stuff on Spotify. Personally I’m going to be getting out to Los Angeles a lot over the winter going back and forth between Toronto and Los Angeles and continue to collaborate with as much people as possible, that’s pretty much it. Try and stay focused on pushing music forward as much as I can. As an artist of 2017 I don’t need to create a lot of content about my image, I just need to let the music speak for itself until more people start asking more questions and let the image be created.

Who do you consider to be an underrated artist?

Ty Senoj for sure. Freddie Gibbs, I hope he’s coming back with some new stuff. I really want Post Malone to get over the edge and become number one. I don’t know how people reacted to the new album but I heard it before it was released and I think it’s even better, I was blown away. He’s already known but I’d like for him to reach the next level.

*Feature Image By Sean Be

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