WORDS WORDS RACHEL EDWARDS - PHOTOGRAPHY EVA PENTEL
Jimothy Lacoste broke the internet by breaking the rules of the London underground in his music video for ‘Subway System’ in 2018. Today the artist is still riding the tube, although these days he’s probably stepping out in Prada. As spellcheck tries to autocorrect Jimothy to his real name Timothy, Google isn’t the only one who doesn't ‘get’ him. Lyrics like ‘Put the cream on spots’ and ‘I listen to mum cos she’s always right’ delivered in a deadpan manner aren’t what you expect from a 22 year old London rapper. While the world tries to figure out where to place him, self-taught Jimothy seems to have found a pretty good spot - a spot that has seen him partner with the likes of Vogue and Adidas and sell out his upcoming UK tour under his brand slogan ‘Life is Getting Quite Exciting’, otherwise known as LIGQE. We finish the interview with Jimothy telling me he’d like to ride on a lion. For most people this would come across as insincere but with Jimothy it seems completely plausible. With the release of his new single ‘Stoke on Trent’ and plans to travel to the US in the future, one thing’s for sure, life is definitely quite exciting.
Rachel Edwards: Hi Jimothy - on a scale of 1 to 10 how exciting is your day so far?
Jimothy Lacoste: Probably a 6.
R.E: What would it take for life to go from quite exciting to very exciting?
J.L: If someone calls me now and gives me some crazy good news.
R.E: Have you ever been to a fortune teller before?
J.L: No! That stuff freaks me out. If they say something that’s really negative then what are you going to do?
R.E: I once worked in a call centre and the guy next to me pretended he could see into the future and he told me I’d move to Florida, be in a car crash and lose my legs. I’ve been avoiding Florida ever since.
J.L: That is fucked up! Whatever you constantly think in your mind can kind of come into reality so him saying that is fucked up.
R.E: I know! So tell me... why ‘Stoke on Trent’?
J.L: I just love travelling! I’m realising I need to not stay in London so much. I don’t have to go abroad, I just need to see what England’s really about. I just love going away and experiencing new cultures. That’s my thing.
R.E: One of the things that I really appreciate about you is that you stay very true to yourself - it seems like you have a really good grasp of who you are but the bigger you get the more I feel like outside influences can try to change you. Have you experienced people telling you to change?
J.L: The fans themselves are what will influence you in wanting to change before anyone because obviously your fans are the ones to be like ‘this is really good’. I never looked at what fans say, I never did that. If you look at my early songs I never did another ‘Getting Busy’ or another ‘Future Bae’. I just constantly did what I wanted to do and if I’d listened to fans I’d be like ‘Right, I can Speak Spanish. Let me just repeat this formula every time’. I don’t know if I would have had fun doing that.
R.E: A lot of the time you hear that people are scared to be themselves but I think as people get older they lose who they are and don’t know who their true self is. What tips would you give someone getting back to their authentic self?
J.L: It’s crazy you say that because the older I’m getting I really am losing a spark. The biggest thing I can tell myself and other people is that if you’re losing a certain thing in your life you need to look around and question what has changed and what is going on. For me personally it was the people I was hanging out with that made me lose a bit of energy. When I was younger I was thrown in the deep end and I had nothing to lose, but all of a sudden I had a lot to lose and that is when the fear comes in. Don’t be scared of what happens and be aware of who you hang out with.
R.E: Yeah they say you’re a product of the five people you spend the most time with! I think if you hesitate for too long it becomes really paralysing. Have you found yourself feeling stuck at certain points?
J.L: Yeah definitely, I get stuck all the time. Back in the day I would think it was the end of the world but I’ve realised that getting stuck is just your brain wanting a rest. You need to get bored of things. For me getting stuck is just running out of creativity or energy but that needs to happen for you to miss it so that when you do it again you do it with power.
R.E: Is there anywhere that you feel most inspired to write lyrics?
J.L: Yeah I think it’s when I have massive breaks from music and live life a bit because it’s difficult to live life when you’re touring. Touring is the time when you use all your energy to perform well rather than writing songs. If I’m really bored on the road or in hotels and I’m going to perform I know I’m going to do a better performance rather than if I’m writing after every show. I know how to manage my emotions so I know to stay bored in order to have crazy fun and for it to feel really good.
R.E: How many hours a day do you spend dancing? I imagine you dance all the time, I’m going to be a bit sad if you don’t.
J.L: Yeah if I hear a song that I like I will dance in my room so it depends whether I hear a good song or not and I’m picky, I take time to find a good song that I like.
R.E: What’s your favourite song to dance to right now?
J.L: ‘Describe my Life’, that one gets me going! And ‘Always Improving’, that one I’m not getting bored of at all. One of my best music videos too - it’s fun, there’s a storyline going on.
R.E: And speaking of crazy music videos, how is your relationship with TFL these days?
J.L: Oh yeah! I’m always on the train, always! It’s crazy because sometimes I think ‘what if I didn’t take that video [for ‘Subway System’] off the internet?’ but at the same time I’m happy I did because I think I made too many fake fans with that video. Look at Billie Eilish - I heard that everyones refunding her tickets on tour because her new album isn’t good. That’s a great example of someone who’s not making music that’s creating a fan base - you’re creating a fan base of people that are going to your shows because they’ve heard your song once on a night out. That’s really bad because as soon as they hear a song they don’t like they’re not there. ‘Subway System’ created too many fake fans and I think it happened for a reason - if it was still there it would have given the illusion that I had all these fans when really my cult fanbase is small compared to the fake fans.
R.E: Fashion’s obviously important to you - If you could wear only one item of clothing for the rest of your life what would it be?
J.L: It would probably be a black turtleneck and black trousers with clean white shoes but not too white... I should be alright wearing that for a while!
R.E: What designer are you most excited about right now?
J.L: At the moment I’m into Prada more than anyone else. I was really into Gucci back in the day and I still am but the hipsters are now getting my style in fashion. I’ll still wear the V neck sweaters and high waisted jackets but I feel nowhere near as cool wearing them as I did in 2016 when the trend for boys was all black. That’s why I like Prada, they don't popularise any kind of style, all they do is go ‘right these are the clothes, wear it how you want’. Again you get rid of fake fans. People will be like ‘I can’t wear this because I don’t know how to wear it’. You know that thing that’s like ‘money can't buy style’... well it depends, with Gucci and Louis Vuitton you buy the clothing and they tell you how it’s worn by the models. With Prada you can’t really do that. If you don’t have style you will make that Prada jacket look shit and that is why I like it.
R.E: Let’s leave earth for a moment, what would Jimothy’s planet look like? Give me a law you’d enforce.
J.L: So every park has to have a massive trampoline! And every corner shop is open every night. You know if you go to Italy and people are outside eating and drinking all night, I love that! I don’t like that it’s 2am and the only people out are people looking to rob you or people drunk and embarrassing themselves.
R.E: You should try living in Scotland, you can’t even buy alcohol after 10pm! Actually I always thought if you walk up a hill there should be a slide to take you back down.
J.L: Yeah that would be sick! That’s probably in China. Those places are so advanced that they get onto the crazy fun stuff.
R.E: I also heard that you’re really disciplined. Are you still having cold showers?
J.L: I still have cold showers every morning, I still fast and I still work out. The eating fruit thing I dropped because it wasn’t giving me any benefits. I was still getting a cold every month so I realised the vitamins in these fruits are just not powerful. Now I take vitamin tablets instead.
R.E: Is routine quite important to you?
J.L: Definitely! I woke up quite late today but I’ve also realised that I can turn into a routine control freak. People need to realise that egos are made, you can make yourself egotistical. For example if I wake up early all the time I subconsciously know that when I go out there are less people so my brain is going to tell me that I’m already doing something that the majority of people aren't doing and that's going to make me feel better. It’s dangerous if you need that in order to feel good in life - that's what happened to me. As soon as you fall off you’re going to feel so bad about yourself! You’re going to fall off, everyone takes a fall. I think Bill Gates said something about it, everyone has their downs, it’s just how quickly you get back up from it!
R.E: And knowing yourself well enough to catch it and recognise it’s happening.
J.L: That’s the hardest bit, but if it happens and your super egotistic you’re going to feel so bad that you’ll give up really quickly and then you’re going to actually be down for ages instead of realising that this doesn’t phase me because I don’t actually need this, it was an attachment and I’m going to jump back up.
R.E: I always find it quite interesting that ‘good behaviour’ can be unhealthy - it’s still addictive, it’s still your mind attaching to something. Someone who works all the time and doesn't give them self time off- that's an addiction, it's just praised by society... it isn't necessarily healthy.
J.L: Yeah on TikTok this kid said ‘practice feeling happy all the time. If you need an attachment in order for you to feel happy then you’re in trouble’ and it’s true, if you can just train your brain to be happy in normal times when you shouldn't be happy then you’re going to live a good life rather than ‘I'm only happy if i get this’. You will be happy but it will be very short lived.
R.E: Is this a mentality you’ve had for a while or is it something you had to learn the hard way?
J.L: Definitely I learned the hard way. From the age of 14 I’ve always been very OCD, energetic, I need to be doing something all the time. So I have to tackle that and know when it's ok to take a rest and when it's ok to not be extreme. I'm an extreme person so I need to learn how to control it sometimes.
R.E: Ok, I have some questions about ‘Future Bae’… When I listened to it I was taking it that you’re saying she can have some pimples, that’s fine, you’re going to accept her for all of her flaws… is that kind of right?
J.L: Definitely yeah! The problem I’m facing now is that my ‘type’ doesn’t get along with me. The older I’m getting I’m realising I can't say she needs to be like this and this. That's awful, if I meet the person and we need to be in each other's life and I’m this picky guy then I'm never going to meet that person. I’m a guy that likes to talk, be open minded, be friendly and have passions in life. The other type will judge you if you want to go for things in life, if they see that you're certain about yourself they'll call you a narcissist. They don't like to be open minded because they're scared that they're going to appear as being rude so they follow the crowd. I've realised they can be sexy as hell but not on the level that I like to be at.
R.E: And you sing about focusing on yourself before dating, do you still stand by that?
J.L: Definitely, but I'm thinking I've gone too far with that because it was good when I was younger but I’m in my 20s now. I’m not going to listen to people's pressure about meeting the one because they're saying it like they’ve met the one and they clearly haven't but I've definitely gone a bit extreme with it, always shutting it down. I was still talking to girls I just wouldn't put in the work.
R.E: Okay okay here are some deal breakers. What if you met ‘future bae’ - she’s the girl of your dreams, amazing in every way BUT she has a bogie that’s always in her nose all the time - you can just kind of see it hanging out... but she’s beautiful, people are turning their heads in the street...
J.L: (Laughs) Oh if she’s that kind of hot I wouldn’t care. It’s there forever? I mean if it’s not crazy visible and she’s a 10/10 I wouldn’t mind.
R.E: What if she’s the perfect girl but she claps when the plane lands?
J.L: Aw I don’t mind that, I like that actually!
R.E: OK what if she’s amazing but she’s a terrible singer and she insists on singing Adele to you every morning to wake you up?
J.L: If she’s doing it ironically I don’t mind but if she thinks she’s good I don’t know… I would tell her actually. It's definitely embarrassing but if the personality was there…
R.E: OK last one. She’s the perfect girl but you have to eat one of her toenail clippings every day but you can put it into a smoothie or eat it however you want to.
J.L: No I wouldn’t do that! Then I’m just being a flipping simp. It’s like saying you get a million but you eat a cup of shit, that just shows you that you’re a slave to the money or a slave to chicks.
R.E: (Laughs) Okay what would you say your worst habit is?
J.L: I can’t say, I can’t say, it’s really bad. I could say a PG one I suppose. Okay I’ll say sugar. If I had a button to never eat sugar I would actually press it. I’m happy to just eat normal food. I don’t need sugar but I love it, it’s a big sacrifice.
R.E: So you sing a lot about listening to your mum which I like, what’s your relationship with her like?
J.L: Yeah it’s really good, she’s always been my rock you know. The advice has always been there, she’s always been really supportive. I know people who say that they don’t have supportive mums but it’s not that they’re not supportive it’s just their kids are not giving them that respect back in the first place. In most cases I’ve seen with my friends I’ve met their mums and if they just called them every night and treated them like a friend it would build trust and she wouldn't get upset with you. It’s a thing that both people have to partake in, you know?
R.E: Yes, I think it takes people a long time to realise that parents aren't just parents, they’re also humans, they can make mistakes. What’s the best piece of advice she's ever given you?
J.L: She's given me so much! When I was young she taught me to not trust people because people will betray you and people will hurt you in life. She told me from a young age that this place is evil and this place is dangerous. And now as I got older my friends got fucked up by a lot of things because they thought everything was always on their side. I’m going through everything in my life thinking ‘this could fuck up’ or ‘this could happen’ and if it doesn’t then I’m happy and if it does I expected it.
R.E: Wow I would have guessed the complete opposite with you! I thought you were super open to the world, almost like you have a childlike wonder where you feel the world has your back.
J.L: Well the universe does have my back always, but it’s definitely minimising risk as much as possible so that you don't end up in many problems. When you don't have problems, that's when life feels good. A lot of my friends are in problems and when I am, life is really shit.
R.E: Do your friends go to you for advice?
J.L: No. You know what, I like that they don’t because I realised a while ago that I will come up with theories or solutions to then realise simply sometimes a week after I was really wrong. I can suggest things but I could never tell people what to do, how can an imperfect human being do this? People need to realise that people have the same brains, other people don't have better decision making than you. We are all super imperfect and we all get things wrong.
R.E: I heard that if you didn't make music you would be a massage therapist, is this still true?
J.L: Yeah! Well I failed the theory course, and then the music popped off. Maybe if the music didn't pop off I would have thought let me try again. Or I would have been on some weird shit, some entrepreneurial weird shit.
R.E: What’s the most exciting thing coming up for you in the future?
J.L: Stuff I’ve not done before, like go to America. I don’t know when but I want to go really soon and just meet people and live a new chapter. There’s been a few chapters in life, I don't want to read the same chapter over and over again. It’s easy to go back to the old chapter or stay in the same place so I need to expand.
R.E: So the last question we always ask is what’s your favourite F Word, but since you speak Spanish, what’s your favourite F Word in Spanish?
J.L: Cabron! It’s just a word I used to always say when I was younger, when I was like 6 I was like I’m going to shout this everywhere! I thought I was so cool. It means ‘fuck’ or ‘motherfucker’...
R.E: I often wonder what the word for llama is in Spanish - is it llama? I want it to be so it’s like 'me llamo llama'
J.L: No it is, it actually is!
R.E: Me llamo llama! That should be your next song! I think you should do one of those alpaca walks you see on Wowcher in one of your next videos. You know when you go places to walk an alpaca for an hour. They give you a lead.
J.L: (Laughs) I would love to ride a lion, that would be amazing.
R.E: On that note, thanks for talking to us!