Watch his new video ‘Subway System’, and read his chat with Instagram provocateur Poundland Bandit
When Jimothy Lacoste wrote “Getting Busy!”, he didn’t realise it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s a totally absurd bedroom pop jam about the importance of staying organised, with giddy iPad synth hooks and lyrics half-rapped in Jimothy’s distinctive north London drawl. “When I made that track, my schedule wasn’t busy at all”, Jimothy says, meeting in a central London café. “But I said to everyone, ‘This is the song for my future.’ Little did I know, my schedule is really busy now. I reckon in two or three years I will hire a maid.”
A typical reaction to a Jimothy video will go from ‘this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen’ to ‘this is the best thing I’ve ever seen’, usually within the course of one song. They tend to show the 18-year-old – real name Timothy Gonzales – dancing, showing off his irrepressible style, climbing on bus stops, surfing on the back of trains, and generally getting up to no good. The videos look lo-fi, but watch closely and you’ll recognise the ingenuity of it all. They’ve recently gone viral, jumping from a few thousand plays to over a hundred thousand in a matter of weeks.
But Jimothy is more than a meme – he’s a DIY star in the making, bringing a sense of playfulness to UK music with genuine hooks, the razor sharp observational humour of Mike Skinner, and a positive message. “Drugs” is an anti-Xanax anthem, while “Future Bae” is about the joy of commitment. His new video “Subway System” was filmed across the London Underground, which holds a special place in Jimothy’s heart. “I always liked trains when I was young,” Jimothy says. “I’ve always rode the lines when I was young, up and down, to the middle of nowhere and all the way back. In the video I’m just having fun in my natural environment. I’m doing my thing, I’m being me.”
One of Jimothy’s fans is Poundland Bandit, the anonymous Instagram provocateur whose hyperlocal, hyperspecific memes take the piss out of different UK fashion trends and subcultural archetypes with pinpoint accuracy. Poundland often shares Jimothy’s tunes and videos on his page, but there’s more to their relationship than music. The two have been friends for years, both having grown up in the same scene – though they’re very coy about what that scene actually is. “I do a hobby – I’m not gonna say what it is – which was invented in the 70s. I love watching videos about it and looking at old photos, where all the kids used to dress so fly and smart,” Jimothy says, summing up his own style by listing three major brands: Ralph Lauren, Burberry, and, naturally, Lacoste.
“We grew up around a culture which was all about: You were the best dressed. You were doing stuff where you might end up getting dirty and all that, but you were the best dressed no matter what. That’s what it was all about,” adds Poundland. “Jimothy’s tracks are one of them things you can put on when you’re getting ready. You iron your Lacoste, pop it on. Put on your Levis, some Reeboks, sort yourself out. Put on some Paco Rabanne.”
Here, Jimothy shares the “Subway System” video, while Poundland poses some hard-hitting questions to the Camden Town artist about life, love, and laughter.
Poundland Bandit: Before we begin, Jimothy, what’s the meaning of life?
Jimothy Lacoste: The meaning of life is to give your life meaning, to find something that you love deep down in your heart, so that every time you wake up in the morning you’re going for that dream or you’re going to feel that feeling again, whatever that is.
Poundland Bandit: That’s the most beautiful shit I’ve ever heard. Now, I’m gonna shoot you a few hypotheticals so I can put the reader in Jimothy’s shoes. First: you text two girls and invite them both to a party thinking one of them isn’t gonna turn up ‘cause they’re bare flaky or whatever. They both turn up and stick it on you. How do you get yourself out of that situation?
Jimothy Lacoste: I would throw a big pile of cash in the air and quickly disappear.
Poundland Bandit: The old in-and-out. Alright, so: we’re out drinking, getting wavey, having a good time. You come out the toilets of a club and you see your girl getting pressed on by a roadman at the bar. He’s trying to chirpse her. How you gonna diffuse that?
Jimothy Lacoste: Well, I’m not an insecure needy man. I’ll let my girl talk to whoever she wants to talk to, and at the end of the day, she loves me. It’s bae. If she starts actually interacting with him in a very blahblah way, then in a way that’s my fault, because I obviously didn’t please her needs.
Poundland Bandit: Fair play, you’re a stronger man than I. Alright, so: you like a good party and being around that whole party people atmosphere. It seems like nowadays, more people are obsessed with getting on the drugs and getting as mashup as they can as opposed to enjoying the party and the people around them. We know you’re quite against that, as we’ve seen in the lyrics of ‘Drugs’, but why is that? Is there a story behind the lyrics based on your own experience?
Jimothy Lacoste: So number one, I wouldn’t say I’m against drugs. I actually think it’s a normal, natural need to like the feeling of drugs. I think alcohol is drugs, cigarettes is drugs, caffeine is a drug. Number two, I came back from a motive and I saw a girl and she was heavily waved…
Poundland Bandit: Oh and FYI, a ‘motive’ is like a shubz, a party – for any readers who don’t leave the house, ever.
Jimothy Lacoste: …basically she was bare waved and I thought to myself, ‘Rah, why you gotta do so many drugs?’ And I was walking back up to my yard, (sings) ‘Why-you got-to do-so ma-ny drugs.’ And I was like, ‘Hang on a sec, that sounds like a chorus.’ That was 2016, which was also when everyone started hopping on the Xans. That’s when I was like, ‘If a girl that I’m seeing is doing Xans, then nah, sorry, gonna have to cancel the date’, you know what I’m saying?
You may think I’m against drugs – nah, not even. If I’m playing my gig and I see some of my fans pinged on some mollies, I’ll actually feel quite happy inside. I’ll think to myself. ‘You’re not gonna ping to music you don’t like.’
Poundland Bandit: It’s the thing with any vice. There’s good people and there’s bad people. With alcohol you can go out to the pub with your mates and get drunk and have a good time, but then there’s gonna be your mates who won’t stop.
Jimothy Lacoste: Everything in moderation. I honestly think, in my opinion, eating two bags of Haribo is just as (bad) as doing coke, just ‘cause of how much bad stuff it puts in your body.
Poundland Bandit: Speaking of your other songs, ‘Future Bae’ got a mad reception on release, and a lot of questions got asked about the video, like how you got on top of that bus stop in Camden. But, more importantly, the old ladies – what’s going on with that?
Jimothy Lacoste: Some people might think that I got the old ladies to make a meme, or to troll, to be funny. Not at all. There’s deep meaning (behind it). And the meaning, the symbolism, is that when my wife gets old, wrinkly, she may get a belly – I’ll still love her. She’ll still be my future bae, forever and always. And the bus stop is because I used to watch lots of Spider-Man when I was younger.
Poundland Bandit: All your videos have different themes and imagery, but one thing that’s always consistent is the dance moves. Where’d they come from? Did you teach yourself how to dance?
Jimothy Lacoste: I teached myself how to dance, and basically – I won’t say what video game – but one particular video game is what made me do the Jimothy dance that I always do with my shoulders and my hips.
Alright, so you’ve explained the dance moves. I’m guessing you have to exercise to keep it going...Part of keeping fit is a healthy diet. What’s your day-to-day, what do you eat?
Jimothy Lacoste: These days I’ve been eating like shit ‘cos I’ve had stress and that, ‘cos of this music thing. But back when ‘Getting Busy’ was made, I was eating a whole two cups of pure broccoli – hardly even cooked, just olive oil and salt – lots of cucumber, four oranges at once, then after two hours, six bananas at once, eating kiwis with the peel on, drinking four pints of water every day. But I’ve messed up these days.
“If I’m playing my gig and I see some of my fans pinged on some mollies, I’ll actually feel quite happy inside. I’ll think to myself. ‘You’re not gonna ping to music you don’t like’” – Jimothy Lacoste
Poundland Bandit: Everyone has them moments where you’re like ‘Yeah, okay, I don’t care.’ And I’ve been not caring for 25 years.
Jimothy Lacoste: I’ll get back on it, you know what I mean?
Poundland Bandit: I’m sure you will. I mean, you’ve got a very busy schedule these days.
Jimothy Lacoste: Proper busy.
Poundland Bandit: At the moment you’ve been eating like shit, but you know how to cook for yourself. So: You get a honey round the yard – what are you making her if you really wanna impress her? I mean, it’s not hard to impress someone, you just show her your tunes and your moves, but if you really wanna go all out – it’s wifey material – what you gonna make her?
Jimothy Lacoste: First of all, I’d get her to be involved so she can feel a part and we can both bond even more. Secondly, I’d cook – maybe a quick spaghetti? Something Italian. Something saucy.
Poundland Bandit: What’s going on before that? Obviously you can’t just get a girl round to your house unless you’re on Tinder, which is calm, but if you take her out on a date, what are you doing together?
Jimothy Lacoste: That I’m gonna keep a mystery for the girls to find out themselves.