The 18-year-old almost became a masseuse - that's before people started to dig his "little sly tunes"
“Life is getting quite exciting.” The words now famously – in certain circles – sung by the joyfully enigmatic Jimothy Lacoste.
Jimothy’s rise to London Internet stardom has been a quick one, fuelled by viral videos in which he dances on top of bus stops, clings to the back of moving trains and runs naked down the stairs on the tube. Depite only having 5 widely known tracks, he’s already selling out shows around town, as well as performing abroad. His style – speaking rather than rapping, to bedroom-made beats, in preppy red trousers – can be described as a joyful, almost life affirming ride through the trials of being young in London. Jimothy tries to teach you to not get caught up about the little things – enjoy your life and look forward to the future. And don’t do too many drugs, as he attests on ‘DRUGS’ when he kicks a massive bag of coke in the air.
I met Jimothy in a small café in Swiss Cottage, and, much like his personality in his music videos, I found him to be one of the most genuine, upbeat people I will probably ever meet.
Jimothy: Let’s go slow. I don’t like rushing interviews.
Alex: Alright. So, I kinda wanted to talk about the fact you are so young. You are only 18 and you only have 5 well known songs. What do you thing your popularity is down to?
J: Yeah, I got bare. I just appeal to different people. People talk, people are just talking. But, I do have bare songs on my Soundcloud, though. It’s funny cus no one really realises I’ve got more than four songs. You click on my Soundcloud and there are like 10 there now.
The tracks that are big are really interesting, though. There is kind of a serious undertone to them. For example, ‘Future Bae’, on the surface is just a track about relationships, but in reality it’s a track about not being able to enjoy your youth because you have to focus on making money. That’s literally what it is – me saying: “I need to sort my life out.” Y’know, I need to make money first. I don’t wanna go out and get a wife without owning a house, without earning money. Because at the end of the day, if I get a bae, in order for the relationship to work, for the courtship to never end, I need to take her out a lot, and I would want to take her out a lot – support her. After she loves me, though, never do that on the first date [laughs]. If I ain’t got the money, it’s not happening. I don’t think many people clock it – that there is something more going on.
A: Yeah, I saw ‘Getting Busy!’ and ‘Future Bae’ and thought they were really good. But when I heard ‘DRUGS’ I realised something more was going on. You are asking the question, why is it calm that everyone is just on drugs all the time. There is lots about making money, getting a house and just ‘making it’ in your music. Is that down to the pressures of living in London?
J: Definitely. Seeing my mum struggle and seeing people around me struggle and then hearing that to buy a house in London is like three million for a piece of shit. I’m just there thinking this is mad. But I’m not gonna stand here and complain. I’ll just go to another country. I ain’t got time to waste here and think the government is gonna listen to me.
A: You aren’t attached to London then?
J: I don’t even like London anymore. I fucking hate it.
A: Why is that?
J: Everything. Y’know, certain attitudes from certain people. These days, the rate of knife crime has gone higher in London than New York. When I heard that I wasn’t surprised. You got these kids shanking everyone for some stupid reason. It’s not even like, “ah yeah, imma shank you cus you owed me drugs”, or something, it’s like, “imma shank you cus you’re not from my ends. I just wanna catch a body – and I will feel like a big man because I’ve killed someone. If I go pen for it, even better. I’ll get more street cred.” I think that’s ridiculous.
A: But it isn’t even just London, which is scary. Where I come from, Nottingham, it’s historically really bad for gun crime. It’s mad to see it spreading across the country like this. I totally see why you would wanna move.
J: Yeah. It’s just ridiculous. It’s like, I’ll go Berlin and I will look at the people on the train and everyone there just had a wife or a girlfriend or was in a relationship. I rated that man. I’ll go London and I’ll just see businessmen on the train. When I was in Berlin, I was on the metro at rush hour and I saw not a single man with a suit on.
A: So, is moving to Berlin on the cards then?
J: D’you know what, yeah. Or I could maybe see myself moving to Hartford. [Laughs]
A: Alright. [Laughs]
J: Well, y’know I can’t speak German. And I’m like too lazy to learn – I’d rather just focus on music and stuff. Maybe Spain. But again, Spain is a bit of a shithole. Well… it’s not. I don’t wanna cuss bare countries, but like, I go to Spain every summer, and I don’t know whether I like it.
A: I saw a picture of you from a couple of years ago when you were at school. I saw you saying that you hated school, basically. Did you want to be doing this back then?
J: Definitely not. Definitely not. So I was in college and because I didn’t do my GCSEs, my school was like, “well he can’t go to any good sixth forms, he has to go to a shitty college.” I was in this class with other people who hadn’t done their GCSEs, or whatever. I was there and I was like, “I’m not gaining anything from this shit.” While this was going on I was giving a massage to this girl and she was like, “Ah yeah, this is nice y’know,” and I was like, she’s chatting shit. Then I give her another massage and she’s like, “No no, you are actually good.” That’s when I thought I’m actually good at giving massages and I thought fuck it, I’ll just try and become a masseuse. The money is mad. So, boom, I left college and then I started this massage course. The money is decent and I don’t mind touching people.
Anyway, you got to learn the anatomy. I was learning it and I was like, OK this is hard as fuck. I was revising and nothing was going in. I did the theory test and failed. Then I did the practical test and I passed. I thought to myself, woah, I haven’t done very well. There is this certain life coach I listen to, and he says this – and I will always remember this: “If you go into anything to see what you can get out of it, 99% of the time you will come out disappointed because you aren’t doing it for the love.”
Anyway, at the time there was this woman who sent me a Burberry scarf because she liked my music and she was like, “wear this, I like you, I wanna invite you to this awards show.” When this happened I thought, Ok, I am getting good reactions to these little sly tunes I’m making, just for friends and just for the love. People are recognising them. So anyway, I read the date of this awards show wrong. I thought it was another day and she all of a sudden sent me an email like, “where were you? I didn’t see you.” I was like, fuck – he thinks that I have parred her. I’ve just taken this Burberry scarf and I’m not coming through. So, I thought, fuck it, I’ll do a little music video for fun and I’ll wear the scarf to show her that it’s all good. That was the ‘Future Bae’ video. After ‘Future Bae’ released, I got a huge reaction. That’s when I thought I’ll start this music thing properly. It’s like this life coach I listen to says – “If you wanna get somewhere in life, get a piece of paper and write down your plans.” So I sat down and I worked out a plan, and I am still following it.
A: It’s funny that you are talking about life coaches cus everyone I have shown your music to sees you as a guy loving life. What would be your guide to that?
J: 1. Have a meaning in life. You might think, fuck, that’s difficult, but a meaning in life can simply be having a hobby. Having a hobby that you love deeply, so every time you wake up, you think, I wanna chase that hobby. I wanna do it again, and I can’t wait to do it tomorrow. Boom! You have a meaning in life.
2. Make sure you are making good money. Sustain your life, so you can keep doing that hobby.
3. Eat healthy. If you are eating like shit, you are gonna feel like shit. You are gonna end up being demotivated.
4. Stay away from toxic people. Study people’s psychologies. As soon as you are talking to someone and you can sense a certain vibe – maybe they might be a bit too demanding, maybe they might be a bit needy – that is something to be wary of. Just get out of the situation.
5. Travel. Don’t just stay in London. Get out.
6. Get yourself a bae.
A: I was listening to your music on the tube here and I couldn’t think of any music I could relate it to. Obviously, there is a rap influence there, but nothing solid. That’s why I think people really dig your music, because it’s so fresh.
J: Yeah. It just sorta happens naturally, I must say. One example is ‘Getting Busy!’. It’s a house beat. I always thought that house beats were so nice, why does no one spit over them? I thought, I’ll do it, and it bangs, y’know what I mean? I mean, people do sing over house beats, but not the way I do. No one raps.
A: I think I am gonna stray away from straight-up asking what your influences are.
J: Well, you know what, I don’t think I could even say who. This is the weird thing about me and my brain. I’ve listened to so many songs – I always used Youtube as my playlist – but I deleted my old account and I lost all the tunes I had on there. People will hear it and think ‘ok, I get where he is coming from with this,’ but honestly, I wouldn’t even know.
A: What about getting on the back of the train in the video for ‘Getting Busy!’?
J: Fucking hell. Don’t do it. Disclaimer: don’t do it. End of. You’ll end up dead. I tell people that.
A: You are quite the role model, really…
J: You gotta let people know the facts.
A: What about drugs, then?
J: First of all, people think I’m against drugs. But, look – I’m not against drugs. What I am against is people using things for fake confidence. For example, if my boy got a girl’s number, but he was on bare coke, I’m not gonna rate it. But if he got a girl’s number sober, I’m gonna rate it. You can do your drugs, man. At the end of the day, caffeine is a drug, alcohol is a drug, paracetamol is a drug. Everything in moderation. Again, if I am playing at a show, and I see a couple man on drugs, I’m not gonna think, ‘why you on drugs?’, I’m gonna think they are having fun. You aren’t gonna do drugs at my show if you don’t like my music. That’s all I’m saying, –do your thing. With me, I wouldn’t say I’m straight edge – I drink, and I try not to do drugs. I don’t do cocaine – I don’t do all that mad stuff.
A: It’s a good work ethic, and speaking of that, what is next for you? I can’t imagine you releasing a conventional album.
J: I wanna keep that a mystery. Maybe I will come out with an album, but I do quite like just doing singles. It surprises people. It’s more fun. I would do an album, but I would have to be in a certain state – at a certain point in my life.
A: Haven’t you been abroad playing shows recently?
J: Do you know what? Only two. People have been like, “oh your life is mad now – you are making it!” And it’s like, bro, I have only been to two shows abroad and they actually booked me before I blew up. The people in Paris and Milan were the first people to see my stuff and think let’s book him.
I think being recognised in London is difficult. I can imagine if I was in New York things would be different, just because of the kind of people that are there. But I think things are going ok for me right now. I got mentioned by Vogue and Grime Daily recently. I’m glad I appeal to two cultures. Not just one or the other. It’s good everyone can relate to it in some way.
A: Cheers Jimothy.
J: Thanks man.