Timothy Mckenzie or Labrinth as he is better know is the 21 year old singer, songwriter, producer & musician from London, who is set to tear up the UK charts. He is been touted as the UK Timbaland (Mainly by the Sun), an all singing, all dancing, super producer who can turn his hand to almost any style & genre; but still have hits of his own. Only time will tell if he can live up to the somewhat lazy comparison and/or carve a niche of his own.
His work so far includes producing both of Tinie Tempah’s top 10 hits ‘Pass Out’ & ‘Frisky’, writing credits on tracks for Nadine Coyle (Girls Aloud) & Professor Green, and a series of well received remixes for the likes of Gorillaz. His debut single ‘Let The Sunshine’ is about to drop and his album will be out early next year.
Intrigued by all the hype that surrounds him and all the info leaked by his ‘Transmissions’; the series of videos he is producing, previewing forthcoming releases and inviting us into the world of Labrinth. I gave him a ring to chat about his album, his career aspirations and how he became one of the UK’s most sought after signings.
“Good evening good afternoon and good morning, this is frisky man, Christopher frisk, Hows it going?”
You sound in high spirits today, you having a good day so far?
“Im cool man, deff in high spirits. I’m in a little black box producing music, doing what I love, playing with this keyboard”
So where are you going next? You’ve had a large burst onto the scene with your Tinie Tempah collaborations, You’ve just signed to Simon’s (Cowell’s) Syco Label, and you have a single coming out soon, is there an album in the works?
“We’ve got the single coming very soon, like mid-september and we are preparing for the album as well. I’m just gonna keep doing what im doing, working with loads of artists, which is something i’ve been doing since I was 15. It’s been a long time coming in my eyes, but the industry is just starting to see it all now. There is loads more to come out, I’m on Professor Green’s album and Loick Essien’s single ‘Love Drunk’ which I produced. So its all good man, just pushing the music as far as it will go..”
Are you going down more of a Producer route or focusing on yourself as a singer/songwriter?
“There is so many different avenues I can go down and I believe I can do it all. I can produce, I can write and I can go back into the studio and keep creating my own stuff.”
Are you getting any guest producers on your up & coming album or are you producing the whole thing?
“Um, first I think I am gonna be writing and producing a lot of it, but I am reaching out at the moment for producers to jump on the album, Rusko been one of them, he’s gotta come on my album.”
Are you planning on any collaborations for the album? Do you have a dream list of people you are trying to get on the album?
“Bjork is a must, and Royksopp, or just weird ones, like random country singers, Maybe not on the album, but just people I wanna work with.”
Just something a bit different?
“Yea I love it, I just wanna be in a world that’s not my own. Urban is easy, I can get a loads of Urban artists, but to find people who I have never experienced their world, would be better for me. More exciting.”
That bridges us nicely into talking about your influences? Do you come from a diverse background?
“I come from a Gospel background & Gospel is very diverse, its incorporates a lot of styles. Like so you’ve got funk coming in and blues coming in, there is so many styles, especially in modern Gospel. It then leads me onto other sources, like I love David Bowie, I got pulled over there because you can hear that blues influences on the guitars, im very open in terms of influence.”
Is that something that was nurtured within you as you we’re growing up?
“When I was 15 I met my manager, Mark Williams, and he kind of opened me up to a new world. I was very in the Gospel scene, urban scene, I was very into just black music. But then he brought me into this very House world and introduced me to Drum & Bass/Jungle, he widened the spectrum.”
When you were starting up, did you aim to be a producer or were you more of a performer?
“I started off rapping, I wanted to rap, but I was always singing because of the Gospel choirs I was in. So yea, because of the rapping I needed beats so I got sucked into the whole world of music and started producing.”
Talk us through your debut single “Let The Sunshine”, this is our big introduction to you as a solo artist.
“I think its great introduction to me, especially after ‘Pass Out’ & ‘Frisky’. I make music, I don’t make sounds. A lot of people come out and have one sound, I don’t. I wanna express myself through music, some of the people that loved the Tinie Tempah tracks might not get it, but I just wanna show my diversity. All the greats to me, Michael Jackson, Prince, never had one sound, I don’t want to be pigeon holed”
You’re currently doing some ‘Transmissions’ via your Youtube page…
“Aww man, I love doing those. My favourite things. You know, I’ve said this to a lot of people recently, I feel they are showing the pages of the book before they see the cover. I wanna bring people into a world, it’s not just about music, I wanna show them fashion, performance; everything. Its wider than just making a beat in the studio, it’s a world, Parliament and Funkadelic, they came with a world, that’s what its about.”
Labrinth’s debut single ‘Let The Sunshine’ is out September 13th on SYCO. Check out the video below for a cut & paste preview of all Labrinth’s forthcoming projects. For more info check out his YouTube page here., his website Labrinth.co.uk or follow him on Twitter.