Since season 1, Labrinth’s work as a composer for the score of Euphoria contributed to the show’s cultural footprint. The orchestral voice, futuristic production and sound ingenuity accompany the characters’ quest for joy and ecstasy.
Songs like “Still Don’t Know My Name” and “Yeh IF*ckin’ Did It” have found a personal connection with audiences, regardless of their relationship to the show. As a producer and artist in his own right, Labrinth brings a unique approach to songwriting for Euphoria. On TV, stages are traditionally outfitted with established licensed music, such as Episode 1 featuring DMX’s “Party Up”. As he explains in rolling stoneIn “The Breakdown,” Labrinth treats his compositions like licensed music: he creates a track, takes it to the director and editors, and together they find where the sounds best elevate the visuals to their highest potential.
“I produce music and perform as an artist. It’s my forte. So when someone leaves, can you compose the music for this show? I’m gonna make a beat, I’m gonna do something that moves me,” he said. “It doesn’t really feel like an accompaniment. It’s like you’re getting an album, like somebody’s making a real album behind the TV, and I think it’s a different experience than what’s traditional.
Director Sam Levinson’s highly stylized approach carries over into the sounds he envisions to emphasize the characters. Traditional rock sounds like Nine Inch Nails, crooners like Nat King Cole and funk artists like Brothers Johnson are all introduced to the British songwriter and reinvented to exist in the world of Euphoria. This season’s score highlights the strength of the duo’s working relationship, a relationship of trust.
“If you imagine me a bit like a kaleidoscope, Sam [Levinson] shines his idea through me. He says, “I know as soon as I shine funk through Lab, it’s not going to be funk. It’s going to be weird stuff going through him the way he’s inspired. Sam was playing music for me and I was listening to it quickly. I wouldn’t sit too long because sometimes if I sit too long I start trying to look like them or become like them. And so I would just go off into my own space and then I’d just be like, OK, zone in as I can feel the funk. Then move on to the swing thinking, “What would the vibe be like there?” And then I just start writing. So everything is literally instinctive.
Watch Labrinth’s interview for “The Breakdown,” above, for a full picture of how he composed the score for Euphoria.