Labrinth Interview

Congratulations on the new single -are you pleased with the response so far?

“I’m very happy! A lot of people said I went off the map for a while, but it was more of a break from the media spotlight – I’ve been running around the whole of London doing shows and producing for other people. I was growing, developing and learning my artistry.”

So this is the proper start to the album campaign now?

“The gaps between singles will be a little bit smaller now hopefully! I’ve got perfectionist issues as I can’t seem to let tracks out the studio – it drives my manager nuts. With ‘Earthquake’, the operatic monk chorus bit was added in at the last second. My friend dared me to put it in so I did it. Nobody thought it was going to work.”

Were the royal trumpets a last-minute addition too?

“Haha, that was too! I use my manager as a soundboard because he used to be a DJ, but even he thought that idea was mad at first. I like doing stuff like that because it puts my personality and character out there.”

The track features Tinie Tempah – are you hoping to recreate the success of ‘Pass Out’?

“We have great chemistry in the studio and on stage so it seemed like good idea. I don’t ever think it’s a good idea to try to recreate the success you’ve had before; it’s all about chasing something fresh and new. I want to focus on making good music, and anything else that happens is a bonus.”

Has Simon Cowell heard the album yet?

“He has, but because it’s taken me so long to finish he admitted that he wasn’t expecting it! Me and Simon aren’t the closet in the world – and I’m sure he’ll want to be closer to me if I become more successful – but he’s a good guy. Every once in a while he gives me a little nugget of advice. He always pushes for the very best.”

Will the album have many features on it?

“There will be some features, but it’s developing at the moment. Now people have heard ‘Earthquake’ the offers are starting to come in – that’s how it works in this industry. Some very, very cool artists have offered, but I don’t want to spoil it yet!”

Are there any guest features that will surprise us?

“Definitely! I’m all for trying anything once, otherwise you end up like David Guetta – reproducing the same formula over and over. It’s like McDonald’s – it’s a factory where you know what experience you’re going to get – and some people love that. I’m all about gourmet; you never know what flavour you’re going to taste, so just enjoy it!”

Are you a fan of this year’s X Factor?

We know you’re a big supporter of rising talent…”There have been a lot of good singers on it this year. It used to be comical to me – it could have been on Comedy Central! Seriously though, this year they’ve had a lot of good talent coming through.”

Given that you’re on SyCo’s books, have any of the X Factor judges approached you to work with them yet?

“I worked with Tulisa [Contostavlos] on the Children In Need single, and I remember her saying that she was very nervous about how she would be received on the show. She’s a very straightforward person with an urban background and not everyone likes that. She’s a lot happier now the reaction has been positive. It was a nice surprise to be asked by Gary [Barlow] to produce the song – everyone left their egos at the door and the whole thing felt very healthy.”

The song is a remix of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrops’; were you nervous re-working such a well-known track?

“I love that record – it sells itself! I didn’t want to fiddle with it too much because you can’t spoil a record like that. Eventually we found a way around it – the finished version sounds great.”


Labrinth’s ‘Earthquake’ is out October 23, and includes remixes from Benny Benassi and Noisia. His debut album follows next year.