Timothy Aird makes his hip hop in Australia. But he’s far from an Australian hip hop artist. The 22 year old’s recent solo project, Threebeds, blends hip hop beats and lo-fi R&B with deeply intimate lyrics. It’s a refreshing touch of sensitivity and vulnerability in a typically aggressive, masculine genre.
Aird earned his stripes as vocalist of Brisbane duo Goodbye Moon, where he first started exploring how to write, record and produce. The duo collaborated with Sydney electronic outfit Polographia on two tracks, ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Up & Down’, piquing interest on Spotify and Triple J rotation.
As Threebeds, Aird spent the last year developing his solo sound and is currently polishing a debut EP with a single due to release this month. The release will be accompanied by his first music video, along with plans for a string of live shows.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC?
I aim to make music that is honest and digestible. I’m still learning how I can better translate my thoughts and ideas for a song into a recording. I generally prioritise feeling, how a sound can evoke or encapsulate a mood, over technicality. My music is a direct window into my thoughts and experiences.
HOW DID YOU BEGIN CREATING YOUR OWN MUSIC?
Making my own music has always felt more comfortable than learning someone else’s. I’ve never really had any lessons, so I’ve been left to blindly explore music and find things out for myself. Which influenced me to create, and still does. Finding a chord, sound, or a lyric that captures how I’m feeling or thinking is a rewarding process that I’ll never grow tired of.
HOW DID THESE IMAGES WITH KATHERINE ROSE COME ABOUT? IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR SOUND AND HER IMAGERY?
Kat and I have known each other for about five years now. We’ve watched each other grow, not just personally, but artistically. This has been a great experience, and in turn has taught us a lot about each other. We share a similar artistic approach, which strives to capture a raw feeling and message, while straying from conventional expectations within our art forms.
WHAT IS YOUR SONG WRITING PROCESS LIKE?
It’s a scattered process. Sometimes it starts in my bedroom at 3am, or on the bus or train to work at midday. I try to just let it happen whenever it comes about, which I think helps retain an unfiltered product. My writing generally comes from a vulnerable place. As someone who self reflects pretty regularly, I like to tell stories of how I navigate (or fail to) through my life.
DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS SERVE AS A CATHARTIC RELEASE?
Absolutely. I get weird after I haven’t written any music for a bit. Like, really, it doesn’t go down well. I have to do it.
YOUR LYRICS ARE VERY PERSONAL AND HONEST. WHY DO YOU FEEL IT IS IMPORTANT TO REPRESENT YOURSELF IN AN AUTHENTIC AND VULNERABLE LIGHT?
I’m at an age where I’m still learning about myself and forming my own opinions on things. It’s super validating to have people relate to what I’m feeling and experiencing, and I think that it can go both ways. It’s like a group therapy session, almost. It would be pointless for me to create something that didn’t feel like I was being myself.
HOW DOES PERFORMING THESE LYRICS MAKE YOU FEEL?
I still feel like I’m going to vomit before any performance, but once I’m settled, it’s truly therapeutic. A lot of the lyrics I perform are years old, and sometimes it can be unnerving revisiting topics of the past, but nonetheless the overall feeling is really cathartic.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION BREAKING INTO THE AUSTRALIAN HIP HOP SCENE?
I don’t think I’ve really been deep in the Australian hip hop scene. I know there’s a lot of talent around, but it’s not something I choose to tether myself to. Which may be kinda odd for a self-labeled ‘hip hop artist’ from Australia. I like to think my music encompasses more than one genre. It’s cool to see the hip hop scene in Australia beginning to grow and evolve though. It’s about time.
HOW DO YOU ALIGN WITH THE PRE-CONCEIVED STEREOTYPES OF AUSTRALIAN HIP HOP, AND HOW DOES THIS INFLUENCE YOU MOVING FORWARD?
I don’t pay mind to the competitive side of hip-hop where everyone wants to be the best rapper or producer. That’s all they are there to prove. I don’t care about how many bars you have about being the dopest lyricist, I want to know how you feel. I want to know what your life is like, what you love, what you hate. That being said, I can still respect the integrity that comes with that kind of content, but I choose not to align with it myself. It seems like a bit of a wormhole for expectations.
There’s some really great female and non-binary Australian hip hop floating around too, but still there seems to be a divide in the community which bums me out. I think part of this divide is due to expectations we build around masculinity in ‘true’ hip hop and rap artists.
IS OPERATING WITHIN A SAFE AND INCLUSIVE SPACE IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Definitely. Remember whose house you’re in. Who would I be to allow someone to feel excluded, while participating in another culture’s art form. My music is for anyone that can relate and that’s the kind of space I want to operate in and share with everyone.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN THE LOCAL HIP HOP INDUSTRY?
Mutual respect for everyone trying to do their thing. A greater sense of support. I think we all have a lot to learn about how we can progress, we’ve just got to stay open to ideas.
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIVING IN BRISBANE BEEN LIKE?
Brisbane’s the first major city I’ve lived in. It’s also the first city I’ve ever performed in. I’ve grown a lot here in the past seven years, and have many amazing people and support systems to thank for that. I’ve been out of ‘the scene’ here for a while now, but I’m excited to get amongst it again and see what it has to offer.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THREEBEDS THIS YEAR?
I’m still carving away at who I am as an artist, but you can expect to be hearing and seeing this process more than ever. I have some really exciting collaborations coming with some amazing local and international artists. I hope to do some traveling later in the year to showcase to a greater audience. For now, I’m focused on building a portfolio of content to build my voice and share.
CAN YOU TELL US ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING MUSIC VIDEO?
I recently worked with an amazing crew of artists, friends and creatives to film my first ever music video. We wanted to create something that channelled my emotion and delivery on the song. Then we went deep with it by looking at which colours evoked a desired mood for each section of the song. We looked at lighting, metaphors, and any other subtleties we could explore to submerse the viewer into a tapestry of thoughts and feelings. It turned out great, I’m super excited to share it and so grateful for all the work that everyone put in to make it a success. The song is called ‘Better’ and should be released soon.
‘The Weight of Us’ is available on Spotify
Photography, styling and interview by Katherine Rose | @rosepure
Interview edited by Caitlin Low | @c.low