Keb Darge is the king of mix tapes, respected spinner of the hippest, deep funk tracks and one of the champions of Britain’s Northern Soul scene, but try as he might, he can’t get his 15-year-old to stop listening to hip-hop.
“I’m trying to save the world from the evils of modern music,” he says. “It makes people into miserable farts. My son’s going on about wanting to be a gangster. I’m like, ‘Oh, God almighty.’” Maybe his son is a lost cause, but Darge’s compilations, which are sourced from the rarest funk and soul tracks from around the world, have found a new audience of listeners looking for a retro sound.
“Amy Winehouse had a hell of an impact,” says Darge. “People started looking for sounds like [Winehouse], and they found that those sounds came from the ’50s and ’60s. So they started listening to that and once you do that, there’s no turning back.”
While Darge has collaborated with the likes of RZA and Cut Chemist for previous compilations, for his latest project, “Lost & Found: Real R’N’B & Soul,” he worked with friend Paul Weller, former front man of seminal pop-punk band the Jam. And even though they may have an argument over rockabilly (Weller isn’t into it; Darge is trying to change that), the two made an easily collaborative pair. “This is the first time we’ve done anything sensibly professional together aside from DJing and getting drunk,” Darge says.