Cordi Elba - EP

Cordi Elba - EP

In March 2021, Lime Cordiale surprised fans at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre when Idris Elba appeared on stage. The British movie star, who was in Sydney filming a movie, added some verses to “Unnecessary Things,” from the Northern Beaches duo’s album 14 Steps to a Better You. The cameo was their first time performing live together, but they’d already been in the studio for two weeks recording what would eventually become this mini album. The unlikely pairing began when Lime Cordiale—brothers Oli and Louis Leimbach—were looking for a guest vocalist to feature on “Unnecessary Things,” for the deluxe version of 14 Steps. “We didn't really know how it would work, but we were looking outside of Australia, outside the box—towards Europe, anyway,” Oli tells Apple Music. “Eventually, our publisher said, ‘Hey, Idris Elba's in town, he's listened to your music—he's keen.’ The funny thing is that we were listening to ‘Boasty’ [by Sean Paul, Wiley, and Stefflon Don], which he features on—it’s our pump-up tune just before jumping on stage. We were already a fan of his acting and knew he was a DJ, so it sort of felt too perfect.” Once they got into the studio together, they knocked out his verses in a few hours. But Elba and the Leimbach brothers got along so well that they just kept at it. “He's got such a great energy, it pumps you up,” Louis says. “In the studio, on stage, he's like a little kid just gearing to go. It's pretty great.” The resulting effort is this six-track mini album, which not only sees Lime Cordiale expand their scope and sound more than ever, it also sees Elba taking stage as a singer for the first time—and unlikely the last. Read on for more about each song on Cordi Elba. “Apple Crumble” Oli: “It reminded us of this hippie kids’ album we listened to when we were younger. I can’t find it anywhere online, but it probably shaped our musicality when we were younger. The song felt quite little-kid-ish, but Idris came in and just knew what to do with it. He sort of just sat back, wrote the first verse on his phone. I don't know what we would've done with that song if it was just a Lime Cordiale song. His voice over that little-kid thing just felt so perfect.” Louis: “It’s this cheeky story he made up. He called his wife, who was out with some friends that night, and was like, ‘Hey, Sabrina, we want you to be on this song of ours. All need you to do is just say, “Idris, what the fuck?” and “Wait, what?”’ We just put the phone up against the microphone. She didn’t know what the story of the song was, but it references her pretty strongly. The next day, he said, ‘Oh, I told her about the song and I don't know if she was really into it, because it's kind of about me cheating on her.’ Not that he ever does—it’s just a stupid story. And she said she loved the song, she was totally into it.” “Holy Moley” Louis: “It had a different name originally, an English celebrity—we're not allowed to mention who it was anymore because he went and asked her if she was cool with it, and she wasn’t. I was like, ‘Who goes and asks?’ It's like Eminem asking whoever he's referencing if it’s okay. But I guess him knowing the people he knows, he had that contact. So we changed it to ‘Holy Moley.’” Oli: “The idea started with Idris talking about struggling with drinking in a social environment—it’s quite dark. He's very good at taking on these characters. In the studio, he closes his eyes, it feels like he forgets we're all in the room. He gets into this character and does his vocal takes—I think we learned from that. Sometimes the vocals wouldn't be on point, but he'd just lose himself. It was inspiring for us, because a lot of the time we‘re trying to hit the notes and get a nice tone. But sometimes, if it's just genuine, it doesn't quite matter how it sounds.” “What's Not to Like” Louis: “We were ready to finish the session after ‘Unnecessary Things,’ but Idris got out his laptop. He showed us the start of ‘What’s Not to Like,’ and it became the first one we wrote from scratch together. He’d been at a party the night before, and I guess he has a lot of people who come up and only talk to him because he's Idris Elba. He’d said that one person was talking to him, but they were looking over his shoulder at who else they could talk to at the party—until they realized who they were talking to and were suddenly 100% invested. He was like, ‘Oh man, feels so fake.’” Oli: “I think he's done really well in his career because he loves pushing himself out of his comfort zone. The thing up on stage with us at the Enmore was out of his comfort zone—he’d never just gone and sung lead in a band before. And it wasn't exactly like a small gig. Backstage, Sabrina had been like, ‘I love that you guys have linked up, because Idris sometimes feels like he's in the wrong career—this is more like what he wants to be doing and he's just so happy at the moment.’ And I'm like, ‘What? This major blockbuster actor still feels like he hasn't accomplished what he necessarily wants to accomplish?’” “Ditto” Oli: “We had more lyrics in the chorus of this song, but we took them out and kept it as ‘Ditto.’ The simplicity of that chorus ended up working quite well. Idris has been sending us more tunes he's been working on and they sound a bit more like this, on the soul side, and he's definitely singing all through.” Louis: “Idris is a great singer. He’d never considered himself a singer, but half his career is built on his voice. Obviously he's an incredibly good-looking man as well, but his voice is a big part of that. I don't know whether he does formal vocal training or anything, but he'd be constantly using his voice, warming it and training it, I guess.” “Holiday” Louis: “We wanted to do something that was more ‘Idris in Ibiza’ or something. It was like a DJ track—something he could put on at one of his own shows, something that’s a bit more of where he comes from, musically. This is probably the furthest from a Lime Cordiale track out of these six. We wanted to touch on a few different sounds, so it wasn’t just all Lime Cordiale-sounding tracks. Idris became our vessel to be able to move somewhere new. He was our excuse to do something completely different.” Oli: “I feel when you change too dramatically, people complain as well. But we didn’t want to just have guitars, bass, some synths, and two vocals. But this is Cordi Elba—it’s a different thing, but it fits within the discography of our music now, so it’s given us a way to do something different. It’s the transition to something else. I don’t know what our next album is completely going to sound like.” “Unnecessary Things” Louis: “It’s funny how this is what first got us in the room together, but we’ve dumped it at the bottom of the album because it's almost like a bonus track now. But if wasn't for us searching for a feature on this song, all the other tracks wouldn't exist. So it's pretty beautiful in that way.” Oli: “We would’ve done more if he'd stuck around in Australia. He literally was in the studio with us until midnight and then probably flew out at like 6 am the next morning, back to London. So he was pretty committed. I feel sorry for George Miller, who was the director on the film that he was working on. He’d probably ditched all his other social life.”

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