A little over a month ago we talked about the return of ’70s soul masters The Delfonics, with the help of musical virtuoso Adrian Younge. Younge, a modern day musical prodigy, has crafted his sound into a mix of old soul (far beyond his years) and an incredible knowledge of today’s musical trends. That’s why his collaborative efforts with Delfonics frontman, William Hart, seem to work so smoothly. We first heard and saw the seemingly effortless combination of the classic Delfonics sound meshed with an underground hip-hop twist in the amazing track “Stop and Look (And You Have Found Love)” and now we are gearing up for the March 12 release of Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics, via Wax Poetics Records. We were also blessed with a generations-collide moment of epic proportions when William Hart joined The Roots onstage at the OKP Holiday Jam in December. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, Wax Poetics just dished out an in-depth interview with the two soul maestros, discussing everything from how the collaboration started, the sound that found them, and the Delfonics influence on 90s hip-hop. Check out some of their thoughts below, as well as the album’s tracklist.
How did you two initially hook up?
Adrian Younge: Basically through Twitter. A fan contacted me on Twitter saying that he knew William Hart and essentially wanted to hook us up.
William Hart: There are a lot of people that have been entranced with my music. I hooked up with Adrian through a friend of his that said he was looking for me. So one thing led to another, and I ended up going out to California, and I recorded fourteen songs. I wrote all of them, and Adrian did the music. It came out like a really good combination, put the Delfonics back on the map I thought. [laughs]
What sound were you aiming for?
Younge: We did everything that they would have done in the ’60s. I don’t have any computers in my studio; it’s all analogue tape. All analogue tape, all old equipment. I mean, my mics are like from the ’60s and early ’70s. Everything in there is old. So when William came in to my studio, he was pleasantly surprised, because he said it felt like going back in time.
Hart: Yeah, yeah, twilight zone, you know. [laughs] It’s all the old equipment, old microphones—we had the old microphones like what Frank Sinatra used. Everything old, you know, old organs, everything from, like, back in the day that was very well kept and preserved.
Younge: He was a natural. He works really hard. He has a great voice. And we sat there and we wrote together; we wrote the entire album together. That guy is a genius, man. I learned a lot from him. I learned how to write sweet romantic songs in the style that they wrote back then. It was just one of the best feelings of my life as far as music is concerned. The first time I heard his voice on one of my songs, I was just totally mesmerized. Because I know his voice so well, so to hear him on something that you created was just crazy.
How do you feel about the Delfonics being heavily sampled by hip-hop artists throughout the ’90s right through to now?
Hart: I really thank them. Because it cleans their music up; they’re going to get the nice clean songs and the nice clean hooks. To use my music, you would have to be using it for the cleanliness of it, because I don’t do anything that’s dirty.
Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics tracklist:
1. Stop and Look (And You Have Found Love)
2. Lost Without You
3. True Love
6. To Be Your One
7. Stand Up
8. Just Love
9. So in Love with You
10. I Can’t Cry No More
11. Lover’s Melody
12. Party’s Over
13. Life Never Ends
Props to WP