Through the wire: Idris Elba on DJing, Mumford and moustaches

When he's not busy cancelling the apocalypse with Guillermo Del Toro or playing London's most unhinged detective as Luther, Idris Elba can be found in north London indulging in another of his passions: DJing. Hackney's most bankable export is currently the star attraction at Love and Liquor in Kilburn playing every Friday night until mid March. We grabbed a few minutes with the man pre-set to discuss his essential roots reggae album, directing Mumford and Sons and his cocktail of choice.

GQ: How does it feel to be on the cover of GQ?
Idris Elba: I mean, GQ! Come on man! Not to sound like a fan but to be on the front cover is a f*****g goal in the 90th minute, you know what I mean? It's like having a bust left foot, a broken right foot, getting dragged out of the penalty box and still scoring. That's how big that moment is for me.

Why have you come back to DJing?
Not "back to DJing". I've always been DJing, it's just I'm making more of a push for it, making it more public. I'm at a massive crossroads at the moment. Whether it's music or acting, that creativity all comes from the same source. It's a bit like if you work out your arms or your abs too much, your legs get skinny. You need to exercise them all at the same time. As wanky as that sounds, I have always kept music as a bit of a stepchild so I thought "F**k it, I'm going to enjoy it". My ambition for it has already been fulfilled so I'm doing it because I love to do it.

What is an album every man should own?
The one album I can't live without is called Cumbolo by a band called Culture. Every song on their album is deep, but there's one in particular called "This Train". I have a tattoo of the lyrics on my left arm.

You starred in a Mumford and Sons video. What was that like?
I really enjoyed working with them. They gave me a great opportunity as I directed that video and I was also in it, but it was like a massive creativity splurge. My friend Dan Cadan - he's a director who worked on a lot of Guy Ritchie's early films - helped me to craft that video. We were in the wilds of Wales with a couple of cameras, a few sheep, a couple of deer and a dog. Infact, in the original director's cut of the video there's a close-up shot of the dog collar with the word Rambo written on it. I sent the first video Mumford & Sons and one band member - who shall remain nameless - asked me to take that shot out. I'd put it in there as I'd been round his house and seen it was the name of his dog. Sadly it's a moment no one will ever see as I have the only copy.

What do you like to drink when you go out clubbing?
It's a drink I created called a 7 Wallace - Tanqueray gin, a splash of tonic, a splash of cranberry and a good squeeze of lime. It's named after the address I used to live at and also the name of the club night I DJ at here.

Have you picked up any styling tips from the characters you've played?
In Pacific Rim I had to have a haircut I wouldn't usually rock. However, the moustache I had in the film - that might have to come out again. It was a good moustache. Good times.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Don't take anyone else's advice!


The March 2013 issue of British GQ is out on 7 February.

Idris will be playing 7 Wallace every Friday until 15 March (excluding 15 February) at Love and Liquor, 34 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 5UA. (OMG, SO CLOSE.)