These days the underground is a hard thing to access. Those who claim to be undiscovered are signed to labels, and those who claim to represent the indie scene are sitting on deals worth hundreds of thousands. Thyme Limited seems to represent the true underground, the true undiscovered talent. Founded by Ayo Fagbemi, this UK-based arts collective is quickly rising on the scene. Aimed at promoting the arts, Thyme Limited Company has consolidated a substantial following.
Speaking to Ayo, he outlined the goals of Thyme, and how he wants to integrate the realm of music into his regime:
“I believe in pursuing things that we as people actually care about and nothing else. We are scared to try our hand. Our aim is to succeed, as a collective, not on anyone else’s terms. So we have created a music community in which we grow as a collective with artists pooling audiences from all over the UK!”
Below we profile and speak to some of the artists affiliated with Thyme, who share the passion for creativity that they endorse:
Formed in Bristol in early 2015, WMD are a collective consisting of producers and MC’s hailing from all over the UK. The crew consists of rappers DdashRed, Emba MC, Slackjaw Trait, Stash & Still Bizzy; with production carried out in-house by beat-making affiliates Big Silk, JMaxfield, O’Malley Oddysee & Sigmund Frued. Since the formation of the collective they have performed at numerous events in the South of England, supporting the likes of Chester P, Jehst & Fliptrix along the way. Their debut EP ‘Summer Daze’ gained over 130 downloads and almost 3,000 streams since its release in August 2015. The collective has received support from local Hip-Hop heavyweights Split Prophets, and this relationship has been solidified with Upfront MC featuring on one of the tracks set to be released this spring as part of the upcoming project the crew have been working on.
Simply put, the concept for this musical collective is bringing a bunch of friends and creative people together to do creative things. Founded by Virgil Hawkins and creative director Max Turrent (TURRENTINO), the group was formed from the ashes of the EXEMPLAR and Piracy brands to birth something completely new. From the inventors of the Holistic Lounge genre, Cellar Door, to the more experimental trap producer Radon amongst many others, the crew manages to expose even more talent from South East London, scratch that, England. Theodor Black, uandyou, Twin Crown, Isaac Samuel, Matavelli and Avian City (comprised of rappers Howie Smiles, Justayo and Prince Nova) are all names you should begin to pay attention to as their leader Virgil Hawkins vows to make the numbers 5 and 7 synonymous with good music.
Both WMD Collective and Reservoir reflect a lot of the elements of new music that lead to the success of some of the people we see in the industry today. The collaborative nature of their enterprise seems to fit with the goal that Thyme is trying to achieve: synergy of the arts.
Ayo says that “I noticed that the problem with a lot of UK music is that often we are stuck in a bubble of what is going on around us. We don’t explore what goes on in other cities. I decided to create this page not only to show my passion for pursuing creative endeavours but also to further connect artists and audiences alike in the UK.”
Lauren Ralph says that “The music began about a year ago when I was lent a mic so that I could record songs at home. Over time I began recording more and more emcees, which I would then upload to my Soundcloud. To me, the style of music seems like a mix of hip-hop and rap, influenced by newer trap sounds as well. Our aim is just to make songs that people will enjoy listening to.”
E•D & Smooth Santi of The Blue Room say that “Smooth Santi & I are a pair of young new musicians from West London. Us & our friends have always really been into our music so at the end of last year we decided to try and get involved with the scene. We started a music collective based in West called The Blue Room; we’re all young DJs, producers & artists that are all looking to start putting our stuff out. Smooth Santi is a talented lyricist with his own unique flow & crazy ability to spray on pretty much anything. I myself have slowly been getting into my production making rap, funk & grimey instrumentals applying my own style. Smooth & I together have released a few tunes now since the start of this year & you can expect a lot more from us, the Blue Room & the Thyme movement in 2016! Big blessings.”
Andrew Linstead aka FulKost is a 19 year old MC, songwriter and producer from Coventry, UK. He currently studies at the University of Leeds where he takes advantage of the vast amount of students and opportunities available. He released his first mixtape From Way Back When in September 2015 which has given him a platform on which to build and is currently taking time to work on his first studio album as well as continuing to work hard building his fan base by performing at low key events and expanding his online presence.
The common trait amongst all the aforementioned artists is that they have retained ambition despite starting from scratch. Breaking through in the arts world is a tough ordeal, and a defeatist attitude would see you fall at the first hurdle. What stands out with Thyme and with the people affiliated with them is the solidified belief that through collaboration and through ignoring limits, great ideas can come to the forefront. With these artists in mind, Thyme have announced a forthcoming mixtape which will showcase the plethora of underground local talent that lies across the country: ‘‘So to answer your question we are not just a T-shirt company, we have a few plans in the near future so watch out for that.’’
It seems that this brand is pushing hard to cross the borders of art, not restricting fashion to fabric, but extending it to the music industry, and identifying with those who are putting in so much to break through in their chosen field. Expect big things to come.
Will McCartney & Liam Inscoe – Jones
Find more about Thyme here – https://www.facebook.com/thymeisltd/?ref=ts&fref=ts, Instagram: @thymeisltd www.soundcloud.com/thymeisltd
Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham’s IMPACT Magazine.