Euphoria Composer Labrinth Breaks Silence on Elliot’s Song Controversy

euphoria has twice as many Emmy nominations for Season 2 as for Season 1 and is heading towards the 2022 awards. A number of standouts from Season 2 – Sydney Sweeney, Colman Domingo, Martha Kelly – have received their first Emmy nominations. The often controversial, incredibly popular series was even nominated for Best Drama.

But some of the euphoria People have enjoyed the praise since the show began. Alongside Zendaya, who became the youngest-ever leading lady in a drama two years ago, the series’ composer Labrinth has garnered Emmy nominations, critical acclaim and critical acclaim Social media fan cams since the start of the series premiere in 2019.

Labrinth was one of the three people to win an Emmy for Season 1 (alongside Zendaya and the show’s makeup team), and took home the trophy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for his song “All For Us.” The musician earned two other nominations in the same category this year: one for “I’m Tired,” which he shares with Zendaya and series creator Sam Levinson, and a nod to “Elliot’s Song,” which he shared with Zendaya and Labrinth shares wife, Muzhda Zemar-McKenzie.

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While “I’m Tired” was well-received by fans of the show – especially considering Lab made a cameo appearance in the scene – the latter track was quite controversial. “Elliot’s Song,” which aired amid a tense finale, was raked over the coals for stealing a handful of minutes from the actual action (like Cassie and Maddy’s big fight and the Fezco heist). But Labrinth takes none of it with him memes ragged on the song to heart.

“I just thought it was super fun,” he tells me on a recent Zoom call with a bright smile. “The audience will always let you know when they have an opinion.”

The runaway opinion of his scores and his original music for the series was usually positive, so the backlash was a bit of a twist for Lab. Still, “Elliot’s Song” was nominated for an Emmy, so how awful can it really be?

The musician who is currently waiting for news around euphoria season 3 and meanwhile was working on his upcoming solo album and sat down with The Daily Beast to talk about his two Emmy-nominated tracks, Sam Levinson’s wildest request and his new single “Lift Off”.

Congratulations on your two new Emmy nominations! What was your reaction when they were announced?

My reaction was like, “Ugh, again?!” No, I’m just kidding. Introduce [if I was] like “Really?” No, I was really happy, and I was excited this time because my wife was also nominated with me for one of those nominations. I love doing it with family. Also, Zendaya is an amazing talent and we really enjoy working with her as well. It just feels like a family affair.

What was it like working on a song with your wife?

It was really wonderful. It was emotional. We love writing stuff together. We haven’t done much together yet, but my family is quite creative. Both of my kids – I have a three year old and a one year old – they also love jumping on my songs. Even if you don’t want them! I’m going to sing and suddenly my daughter says, “Give me the mic.”

She will be the next Emmy-nominated member of your family.

She is the one.

Can you walk me through the production process of your first Emmy-nominated song “I’m Tired”?

“I’m Tired” is of course inspired by gospel. Two sides of the gospel: Catholic and Pentecostal. choral energy. Organs. I wanted that energy to be reflected in the records. It would be like Kirk Franklin with old Gregorian chants. Old choral music, that’s what I had in mind. Then I had Queen in my head, Nat King Cole and Kanye.

It was a mix of many different people. The concept of the song was based on what was going on inside [of Rue’s head]. Then you see what happens in the story. She comes to the breaking point: “I have to do something about it, otherwise I won’t make it by tomorrow.” We have achieved that. Zendaya sat in the studio with me and we tried to figure out what needs to be said about Rue’s experience.

You also had a cameo in the “I’m Tired” scene, which I loved.

I made a photo bomb! There I am in the background.

How do you think that affected the way this song played out for the audience?

It was wild. Especially a lot of people who were fans of me and fans of the show from the first season said, “I know this guy!” People really knew my face. It was a bridge between these worlds. Sam films me and Zendaya hugging, we sing a song we all wrote – it was quite emotional and poetic considering we were all involved in the show.

And what about the production of “Elliot’s Song”?

We have Dominic Fike’s character singing to Rue and saying, ‘I’m so sorry I had to ruin our relationship. But I hope it was worth it. That it makes you the person you need to become.”

The scene in the finale caused some backlash online.

It was so funny.

What do you think about this negative reception?

Sometimes you can’t take yourself too seriously. I don’t choose how long the songs are played [for] in the show. That’s what they chose. Working behind the scenes, especially on a show like euphoria, is intense. Decisions have to be made. Sam, this guy was literally in every room at the same time. I don’t know how anyone can do that. I think he made all the decisions he could make in the time he had.

Some people felt [the scene] was too long. I was just like, ‘okay, cool!’ I love the recorded version of the song because I thought Dominic sounded incredible on it. Zendaya and Dominic both sound very nice together. I really enjoyed putting the song together for this moment.

And it’s now Emmy-nominated, so clearly that audience reaction doesn’t matter too much.

I think it wasn’t too long.

There was a song that didn’t get nominated that I still love “Yeah, I fucking did it.”

Dude, that’s my tune!

How did the production go on this one?

Being from the UK I love Massive Attack, I love Pet Shop Boys and I love Prodigy. Just an insane production. You know these guys are gonna do wild things. For me, aside from hip hop and trap, a lot of the production was inspired by them. I wanted to mix those vibes in a way. I just wanted to write a crazy record for you euphoria‘Cause I know it’s the place to do it Sam was very inspired by this gospel stuff. Sometimes crazy ideas come to me.

In past interviews about euphoriayou said sam asked for it “The weirdest shit on your hard drive.” Is there something that is to wild for euphoria?

I tried. It’s really hard. Sam gave me this challenge, he played me this Nine Inch Nails record, which was insanely crazy. Crazy rip your face off which I love. I was trying to get something that could be it, or something that could be off the mark, but it was just too amazing to get a sample in. It was “Mr. Self-destruction.” I love the record. That was too crazy in a short time. I have to practice that.

Speaking of euphoria in general, how did you react to it all reception for season 2?

It was super wild, man. I thought fans of euphoria would say, “Yeah, we love it.” It’s nice to see people showing you when they like something, especially in this day and age when we have social media. They will remind you even if they don’t. That is the reason to stay away from social media.

“They’re going to say, “I hate that scene.” And you’re like, “Do you know how long it took to put this thing together? Try it yourself.””

There are reasons to stay away from it.

They’re going to say, “I hate that scene.” And you’re like, “Do you know how long it took to put this thing together? Try it yourself.”

What goals do you have for season 3?

I have no goals. I do not know. Honestly, I have no idea. I’m just having fun writing this album and I’ve been making music. I do stuff with other movies and shows. If Sam calls me – if he does – I’ll see what we have for the show. This is my coffee break.

Tell me a little bit about your new album.

It’s the relationship between me and my wife that’s been exaggerated into a graphic novel. “Lift Off” is the first single, and that’s basically what it is Natural born killers in space. That’s what inspired the record, so the album is literally like that.

I love to see who else you’ve worked with—like Beyonce! Is there anyone else you would like to work with? Or any other new ventures you’d like to try?

I will address everything. I want to make music for a game, a computer game. I want to write and write music for Disney and I want to do something for Marvel. They would be fun.

Oh, Marvel would be fun.

Uh, next time I see you and cry, “I have this Marvel project. It was too hard!” Be careful with your desires.

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