KEB DARGE's LEGENDARY DEEP FUNK with Dee Jay Nav, aki, jason palma, John Kong and A Man Called Warwick at Roxy Blu (12 Brant), Friday (April 26), 10 pm. $10 advance, $15 door. Rating: NNNNN
Through his hugely popular Legendary Deep Funk (BBE) compilation series and off-the-hook DJ sets, Scots selector extraordinare Keb Darge is recognized as the prime mover of the current funk renaissance.
And since founding his own Deep Funk label to release pounding R&B throwback jams by such floor-shaking UK combos as the New Mastersounds and Speedometer, Darge has joined sussed funk entrepreneurs Gabriel Roth (Daptone), Philip Lehman (Soul Fire) and Eothen "Egon" Alapat (Stones Throw) in turning a collectors' fad into a commercially viable international trend.
Darge confesses, though, that global conquest wasn't part of his original plan when he moved from behind the decks into the recording studio to put out his own records.
"My whole idea in recording the New Mastersounds was not to sell thousands of records," he explains over the phone from his London home, "but to have something new that was good enough to play in my set for six months.
"I thought, if old funk records are getting really scarce now because so many people are chasing them, then fuck it -- I'll just make my own."
That's easier said than done, as Darge quickly discovered when overseeing his first recording session.
"Aye," he groans, "it can be frustrating dealing with musicians. They're always trying to make things so bloody musical. These guitarists just want to solo all over the place. I had to crack the whip and say, 'No, you just go beng, beng, benga-beng. That's your part, just play it.'
"But it has been very rewarding. I used to get a buzz when a record I discovered got a good response in a club, but having a crowd go wild for something you've written and produced -- whoa! That's the biggest kick I've had yet as a disco-jockey."
Lately, there have been rumours that Darge will soon be relocating to Toronto, where his gigs always draw large, enthusiastic crowds who appreciate his growing eclecticism. Darge concedes he intends to start packing.
"I'm fed up with London," he snarls. "It's too dirty rude and filled with naffy people. Every time I'm in Toronto I feel at home. The clubs are great, the people are nice and friendly, and it's just about an hour from the major U.S. cities -- I could live quite happily in Toronto.
"But I still need to convince the wife. She liked it the last time we came, so I may get my way."