King Theo has landed! You can bet 12 years ago when WOLF Music started the label, they never thought they’d be welcoming certified royalty Theo Parrish to lay down a remix on a release. And what better track for Theo to work his magic on, than the deep depths of Tone Control’s 2008 classic – ‘Illusion’.
Buttery, soulful deepness, ‘Illusion’ has it all, hitting you right in that soft spot – pure eyes closed business. Late night, early morning, peak time, take your pick. It was an instant classic when it was released, with Theo regularly drawing for it at his legendary Plastic People residency.
Now sit the man Theo down in the studio with the stems for a track he clearly loves and what do you get? A slice of Theo genius no doubt. His ‘SS Translation’ clocks in at nearly 10 minutes, building, twisting, and turning in a way only Theo knows how. Restructuring and re-layering the elements to squeeze every last drop of emotion out of Tone Control’s track, Theo’s delectable bass synth playing, at times haunting keys and fresh drum programming give a rawness and punch to the cut that channel that inner Theo spirit in style.
Flip it to find Tone Control’s mix of ‘Illusion’, Simon Finnegan and Marcus Harris’ biggest hit that’s still played today by the likes of Kyle Hall, Jay Daniel and Kerri Chandler. In fact, who better to talk this track up than Kerri himself, with a quote from back in the day:
“…It is one of my favorite songs. Even the way the song is put together is honestly what house is all about for me. It’s got every element I love in one song, dope bass line, a different deep vocal, the sounds are hot (drums, even the way he made them swing, that Rhodes) all of it… Everyone I play it for they freak out about it.”
We spoke to the team behind this project just before release day…
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, we’re Simon Finnegan and Marcus Harris from Tone Control.
When did you first release Illusion?
We first released “Illusion” in 2008, on our own label, Tone Control Music. The music and lyrics are written by us, Simon and Marcus. The vocals are performed by James B. Coleman – we recorded them in our then living room-studio at our flat on Pentonville Road in King Cross. The Rhodes are played by Andy Badderly. The siren on the second chorus appears courtesy of Islington Police.
Who was playing it back in the day? How did it become such a cult classic?
It was played by loads of DJs. The original 12” represented a few UK producers, and each mix had its place. Our mix, the original, was picked up by Kerri Chandler, Tony Humphries and later, Theo Parrish.
How did it feel when you found out Kerri Chandler loved it?
Simon: I was at Southport Weekender, dancing in the Power House (a room for ~2,500 people) at about 6am, when Kerri played it. It blew my mind. I ran around telling everyone, “its our track”!
Marcus: I was in bed and received a very early morning call from an excited Simon telling me the good news. I was chuffed as I love Kerri Chandler’s music.
So Theo Parrish played it at Plastic People. Were you ever there when he played it?
Simon: Yep, a few times. We used to go there regularly for his residency – as it really was the best club, and had great sound. In fact, I was there the night Marcus met his wife… and their eldest son is called, Theo!
Marcus: All true! Theo was indeed playing the night I met my wife. Simon had persuaded me to come out and I am now very glad he did!
How did you hook up with the Wolf Boys?
Simon: I met Matt and Stu around 2004 at Southport Weekender – I remember giving them demos and mixes on cd – as you did back then. In fact Matt helped me get one of our projects on to an early digital download store, and I regularly listened to Stu’s mixes that he posted on the Southport Forum – we had a similar liking for a broad range of styles.
How did you make the Theo Remix happen?
Simon: It’s been really nice, working with Stu and Matt – We were discussing potential remixers, and I mentioned that Theo used to play it regularly, so Stu reached out to him… the rest is history
What did you think when you first heard his mix?
Well, we’re big fans, so the first thought was, “this is classic Theo!” While also being chuffed that he kept and highlighted some nice parts from the original, while adding his own jazzy keys…
If you didn’t get Theo Parrish to remix it, who else would you have got to do it?
We both love the Detroit and Atlanta sounds. We discussed producers like Kai Alce, Stefan Ringer, Kemit. From the UK, artists like K15, Dego.
What does Tone Control have in the pipeline?
After several years hiatus for kids, bereavement and life, we’ve been back in the studio recording again. With a growing collection of instrumentals, we have some sessions lined up with James B. Coleman and other musicians and vocalists we’re fans of, so keep ’em peeled for more Tone Control sounds.