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|Born||Benjamin Brian Thomas Watt
)6 December 1962
|Occupation||musician, DJ, and record producer|
|Notable work(s)||Everything but the Girl|
|Children||Jean, Alfie and Blake|
Benjamin Brian Thomas Watt (born 6 December 1962) is a British musician, DJ, and record producer, best known as one half of the duo, Everything but the Girl.
Watt was born in Barnes, London, the son of British bandleader Tommy Watt and has four half brothers and sisters. He is the youngest of the family. Watt lives with his spouse and creative partner Tracey Thorn in Hampstead, North London. They met at Hull University in 1981 and after 28 years as a couple, in 2009, they married at the Chelsea Registry Office. They have twin daughters, Jean and Alfie, born in 1998, and a son, Blake, born in 2001.
Watt began recording in 1981 on the indie label Cherry Red - and went on to make the album North Marine Drive, a collection of folk-jazz solo recordings in 1983. He then joined forces with vocalist Tracey Thorn. For 18 years they wrote and recorded together - creating nine studio albums as Everything but the Girl (EBTG), signing to Warners in 1984, and then Virgin in 1995. These albums and many of their singles achieved UK and US chart success, the song "Missing" reaching number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. In the mid-nineties, the band shifted focus from alt-pop towards electronica, charting with Walking Wounded, Protection (with Massive Attack), Temperamental and other work.
In 1984 Watt and Thorn also guested as "Honorary Councillors" on The Style Council's official debut album Cafe Bleu. Aside from backing vocals and other musical duties Watt played lead guitar on the instrumental title track and Thorn sang lead vocals on 'The Paris Match'.
DJ and remixer
In 1998, Ben Watt established the London deep house Sunday club and compilation series, "Lazy Dog" with Jay Hannan. The tiny Notting Hill Arts Club in west London, hosted it twice-monthly and they attracted a cult following. Watt moved away from EBTG's mainstream eclecticism and into club-oriented dance music production, producing a string of dance remixes for Sade, Sunshine Anderson, Zero 7, Maxwell, Meshell Ndegeocello and Sandy Rivera. Lazy Dog ended on 16 May 2003 with a farewell closing party at their second home, The End, in central London. They made two compilation CDs from that time: Lazy Dog Volumes 1 and 2.
Buzzin' Fly (2003-2013)
In April 2003, Watt launched his own independent deep house and techno record label, Buzzin' Fly (named after the Tim Buckley song). It went on to foster the careers of young producer/DJs such as Justin Martin, Mademoiselle Caro & Franck Garcia and Rodamaal. The label hosted Watt's own club productions such as Lone Cat, Pop A Cap In Yo' Ass (with Estelle) and defining work from remixers such as Ame, Radio Slave, Charles Webster and John Tejada. Buzzin' Fly won Best Breakthrough Label in the House Music Awards in 2004 and Runner-Up Best British Label from DJ Magazine Awards in 2007 and 2008. Buzzin' Fly, along with Strange Feeling Records officially folded in 2013.
Strange Feeling Records (2007-2013)
In 2007, Watt launched Strange Feeling Records, an alt-indie sub-label of Buzzin' Fly. Early signings included the critically acclaimed Copenhagen band, Figurines, and the Hungarian trio The Unbending Trees. In 2010 the label released and globally distributed the third solo album Love And Its Opposite by Watt's wife Tracey Thorn. Watt also hosts the weekly Buzzin' Fly Radio Show that recently broadcast its 150th edition. It has seen lengthy stints on both the Galaxy Network and the Kiss Network as well us several internet restreams and global syndications. Watt remains a central figure on London's club scene and continues to DJ internationally.
Neighbourhood and Cherry Jam
Watt helped found and own the West London nightclubs Neighbourhood and Cherry Jam. From 2002 to 2005, under his creative direction, Cherry Jam hosted underground club nights, art exhibitions, the long-running spoken-word night Book Slam and The Libertines' official debut show. At Neighbourhood, Watt brought in artists such as Groove Armada and many international DJs to guest at his own in-house club nights, hosting Rough Trade Records 25th Anniversary and the inaugural House Music Awards. He resigned in June 2005.
Watt's autobiographical book, Patient (Penguin, 1996), describes his rare life-threatening auto-immune disease (Churg-Strauss syndrome). Watt's website states that it was listed as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Sunday Times Book Of The Year, Village Voice Literary Supplement Favorite Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the Esquire-Waterstones (UK) Best Non-Fiction Award.
- "Cant" (Cherry Red Records) - June 1981
- "Summer Into Winter EP" (Cherry Red Records) with Robert Wyatt - March 1982
- "Some Things Don't Matter" (Cherry Red Records) - February 1983
- "Lone Cat" (Buzzin' Fly]) - April 2003
- "A Stronger Man" with Sananda Maitreya (Buzzin' Fly) - Jan 2004
- "Outspoken Part 1" (Buzzin' Fly) - Jan 2005 (feat "Pop A Cap In Yo' Ass" with Estelle and "Attack, Attack, Attack" with Baby Blak
- "Buzzin' Fly Vol 2 EP" (Buzzin' Fly) - April 2005 feat "Le Boom" by Justin Martin remixes of "Lone Cat (Holding On)" by Justin Martin, and "Pop A Cap In Yo Ass" by Ben Watt featuring Estelle)
- "We Are Silver EP" (Buzzin' Fly) - April 2007 (includes "Old Soul" and "Lone Cat" remix)
- "Just A Blip" (Buzzin' Fly) - June 2007 (features on Buzzin' Fly Vol 4 Sampler EP)
- "Guinea Pig" (Buzzin' Fly) - Oct 2008
Compilations mixed by Ben Watt
- Lazy Dog Vol. 1 (Virgin Records) with Jay Hannan - October 2000
- Back To Mine with Tracey Thorn as Everything But The Girl - May 2001
- Lazy Dog Vol. 2 (Virgin Records) with Jay Hannan - March 2002
- Buzzin' Fly Vol 1: Replenishing Music for the Modern Soul (Buzzin' Fly) - March 2004
- Buzzin' Fly Vol 2: Replenishing Music for the Modern Soul (Buzzin' Fly) - April 2005
- Inthemix.06 with Ivan Gough (Australian release; 2 CDs) - November 2006
- Buzzin' Fly Vol 3 (Buzzin' Fly) - June 2006
- Buzzin' Fly Vol 4 (Buzzin' Fly) - May 2007
- Buzzin' Fly - 5 Golden Years in the Wilderness (Buzzin' Fly) - June 2008
- Observer article. Girl Trouble Sunday 12 September 1999 Accessed 15 April 2010
- Times article 2 March 2007 Everything but the old man Accessed 15 April 2010
- Watts Biography
- Buzzing Fly Website
- Quietus Interview 5 March 2010 Accessed 15 April 2010
- A Fond Farewell: Buzzin' Fly 24 April 2013 Accessed 7 May 2013
- Times article. 2 March 2007 Accessed 15 April 2010
- Watts Biography Accessed 15 April 2010