An all-vinyl DJ set taking place in a Darlington pub has attracted an international performer with a music career that spans three decades. 

The musician - known to everyone as Smoove - will be headlining the free entry 'pay-what-you-want' DL21 event at the Hole In The Wall pub.

DL21 is the brainchild of Darlington-based DJ James Watson - aka Mr Watson.

His monthly radio show is recorded in Darlington and goes out on Method Radio (Newcastle), Soul Roots Radio (London) and The Face Radio (Brooklyn, New York).

Mr Watson, who has lived in Darlington for 17 years and says he "loves the town", has helped to promote several events at The Forum music centre and in the town centre.

He hosted the first DL21 event in the market square this summer - bringing soul, funk bands and DJs together - alongside Darlington Borough Council.

Now, Mr Watson has worked with Darlington For Culture and The Hole In The Wall for his next event, bringing Smoove to Darlington on Friday, November 10.

The Northern Echo: Smoove has been a DJ for three decades and will be hitting the decks in Darlington

Sunderland-born Smoove will headline the evening, supported by Darlington-based DJs Dave Oliver and ‘Tosh’.

Smoove's love of music started decades ago when he first heard a new music artform.

"I was lucky enough to see the beginning of hip-hop," he says.

"I was fascinated more with the music than the lyrics and the rapping. It was what I found interesting."

Discovering new artists through the art of sampling and performing in clubs, he adds: "I wanted to make music with records. I realised I could make a living from this so I started doing it. I ended up going all around the world - Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and more."

A radio show followed and as the travelling decreased, he teamed up with vocalist John Turrell in 2009 to create soul and funk band Smoove & Turrell.

The Northern Echo: Smoove has travelled around the world to perform and has been championed by Craig CharlesSmoove has travelled around the world to perform and has been championed by Craig Charles (Image: MR WATSON)

Their first track, ‘I Can’t Give You Up’, was recorded at keyboardist Mike Porter’s house and was so popular in the underground mod and Northern soul scene that all initial 500 pressings of the record sold out - changing hands for as much as £160.

Becoming a full soul band and championed on the radio by Craig Charles, they gained confidence and popularity and now have several studio albums behind them and and a loyal live following.

Smoove and Turrell recently sold out The Forum, in Darlington, and their new album ‘Red Ellen’ has just been released.

To celebrate the new album, Smoove had his Trunk of Funk DJ mix aired on the BBC 6Music show by Craig Charles - who has become firm friends with Smoove - on Saturday (October 28).

Now an international DJ, record label boss, re-mixer and live performer with his own weekly radio show - The Northern Coal Experience - Smoove has supported long-time friend Mr Watson in many of his ventures, and he was only too happy to agree to headline the Hole In The Wall set - on his return from DJing in Dubai.

People attending the Darlington event can expect a varied set. Over the years, Smoove's taste in music has broadened - thanks at first to discovering the likes of Van Morrison, Cat Stevens and Jimi Hendrix via his father's record collection - and then through sampling artists.

He discovered a love of the disco scene, which has now developed into 'new disco' - a merging of house and original disco.

"That sort of sound features heavily in my set now, " he says. "But I like everything from jazz to rock, funk to folk and everything in between."

Mr Watson said: “I love music and bringing amazing artists to the town. Having my radio show come to life with bands or DJs playing live is a great feeling.

The Northern Echo: James Watson - aka Mr Watson - has lived in Darlington for 17 years and has promoted several events in the townJames Watson - aka Mr Watson - has lived in Darlington for 17 years and has promoted several events in the town (Image: MR WATSON)

"Darlington for Culture and The Hole In The Wall have been amazing with funding and promotion of the event.

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"This is a community DJ event, with some fantastic support sets by Darlingtonians Dave Oliver and Tosh followed by Smoove on the decks.

"If people who attend love it and want to contribute to the night, the money will go straight back into the next event.”

  • DL21 is at the Hole In The Wall, Market Square, Darlington, on Friday, November 10 from 7am to midnight. Free entry (pay what you want).