The Story Behind: Nolan & Idris Elba ‘Children Of House’

In the first of a new series, we ask MN2S artists to dissect one of their biggest tracks and to give an insight into how they made it. First up, recent signing Timo Garcia – aka Nolan – on his surprising collaboration with the man otherwise known as Luther and Stringer Bell…

Nolan ft Idris Elba – Children Of House [Connaisseur Recordings]

I had this track in my head with preacher-like vocals reigning down on the dancefloor about all the fakery in the industry these days. People buying thousands of likes and plays on their social media and all the clowning around in the EDM world with these DJs in fancy dress hitting the sync button rather than actually mixing! I just needed a big vocalist to pull it off, and having just binge-watched all five series of ‘The Wire’ and seen him compere the DJMag Top 100 Awards at ADE, I thought – who better than Hollywood superstar Idris Elba? So I reached out to him and gave him the low down on my project and the next thing I know Stringer Bell is sat on the sofa in my studio! Ever so slightly surreal.

So we ran through a few times trying to work out if we go for an American preacher sound or more of a London-sounding vocal and toyed around with the music I had already produced for it on Logic for a bit, getting more ideas together. Then we hit record and spent a few hours laying down all the vocals. I then went to town on the production layering effects over his vocals and polishing off the arrangement. This first version of the track is in fact the Timo Garcia remix on the main release. I decided to do a deeper, slower, low slung remix of it, really accentuating the vocals, giving them a lot more space in the track with a lot less synth action so that it really was all about the vocals, a big fat bass and sparse drums. It was only after I had finished this remix – which was going to be a Nolan remix – and played it out a few times and thought about shopping it out to labels that I realised this should be the original mix and that the first version should become the Timo Garcia remix.

We had loads of interest from various labels including Crosstown Rebels, MadTech, Cajual and Stealth when the demo first went out, but decided to go with Connaisseur Recordings who I’d already released ‘Ghetto Bicep’ with previously. They pressed it up on to 12” vinyl with an awesome analog remix from Of Norway which John Digweed premiered on his Transitions Radio show last summer as his opening track. This was quite a buzz considering I found out about it when I woke up a little hazy in Hotel Es Vivé having just played in Pacha Ibiza the night before and saw my name tagged into the playlist from Digweed’s latest show. Not a bad start to the day really! This triggered me recording a guest mix for him a few weeks later too. When the promo first hit we got some serious support from a cool selection of big names including Oliver Huntemann who featured it on his latest live compilation album, which was another nice touch.

On the flip side of the vinyl is a track called ‘Bass Drop’ which I made using some surplus vocals from the studio session with Idris, and the digital release includes the ‘original’ Timo Garcia mix / remix for those who like it more big room tech house with plenty more mid-range soaring synth action.

The detailed artwork on the vinyl release, hand-drawn by the superbly talented Sjulle from Copenhagen fits the subject of the song perfectly with its slightly surreal collage of children playing, a clown, a babushka doll and the house in the background. It’s just a shame the actual canvas of this painting had just been sold or I would have bought it for myself.

It was a real buzz to work with Idris on this release and having since seen him play Nelson Mandela in the film ‘Mandela’, It confirmed to me what a huge acting talent he really is and a great DJ too! I hear when he was in his 20s he moved to New York taking all his crates of vinyl over with him to play the club and bar scene back in the day. Respect!

Click here to read our other The Story Behind features

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