His new release, Body Can’t Lie, is starting to take shape, and like all good producers he dissects his love for studio life. “I spend most of my time in there. My friends always say I need to be on the streets but I feel most comfortable in the studio – writing, creating, working things out.”
It’s a sentiment I can totally relate to. The art of perfecting your craft can seem like a never ending one for producers seeking out that perfect sound, but it is a fruitful journey which it seems not enough of today’s music makers are willing to go on.
“I was speaking about this last night – as good as technology is, it has contributed to taking away from some creativity and the processes involved”, he tells me. “I started as a pianist and that is my start point for a lot of my music. I teach piano to teenagers at the weekends – that contributes to me always being indoors, too!
“There isn’t enough passion for creativity being displayed – creating loops can overtake and become the main thing. There are a few original people who want to push the boundaries musically.”
Originality and breaking boundaries are two elements that The Kemist has grown up with. His mother is the legend Marcia Griffiths, and his father is the acclaimed Jamaican broadcaster, social speaker and musician, Errol Thompson Senior.
“My father was a writer, engineer and musician. I was surrounded by music and over the years the love for it has definitely carried me through. My dad was a strong influence who used his radio platform to push reggae music – he was like the Mutabaruka of his time – as well as producing and writing for my mum.”
His productions show clear signs of the musical passion he talks about. The diversity in sounds and influences seem to stem from early life at home. “Growing up, like most Jamaicans, I loved American soul music. I was listening to The Manhattans, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion as well as classic rock.
“As I got older I discovered heavy metal and deeper rock. I also found a love for the work of people like Elton John and Billy Joel. They were a huge influence on me, which worked alongside growing in a house with mum and the exposure to the reggae part of my music background. I’ve seen videos of me on stage with her and Bob Marley, but can’t remember actually being there!”
It’s nearly five years since the release of his debut mixtape, Party Animal, which has had more than one million plays on Soundcloud.
The co-signs and collaborations are all on the résumé – Brick and Lace, Kelly Rowland, Nyanda (who features on Body Can’t Lie) and Kat Dahlia have all worked with him to date. 2019 is shaping up to be a big year for the young man, and plans are already being put in place.
“We have some straight fire coming soon. The EP is complete and we are looking to release next year. I’m also planning to come over to hang out and do some work in the UK,” he says casually.
With so much music available from just about everywhere (and everyone!) at the moment, The Kemist explained how he manages to not be too drawn into just doing what is hot right now and following fashions.
“The digital marketplace can affect the way you create music – I try to be a fan of the music first. I always try to listen and enjoy people’s music primarily and take the euphoric feeling from the music into the studio to create my own brand. I’m the guy you will see singing at the top of his lungs in the car if a top song comes on the radio!”
He is also an accomplished DJ and has had a single on the top 10 on Beatport for over six months – no mean feat in itself.
“I wondered how wearing so many different hats influenced the music he makes. At the end of the day the DJ part of me wins, as that is the closest to the consumer and seeing people actually dancing to the music. They are proof that the music made works.”
From one DJ to another, long live the DJ!