Born 6 Dec 1962, London. Musician. Songwriter. Half of alt-pop duo Everything But The Girl (EBTG). Club DJ. Producer. Remixer. Record Label Owner. As a singer and songwriter Ben Watt’s career began with early eighties folk-jazz solo recordings on London independent label Cherry Red Records (‘North Marine Drive’ album, ‘Summer Into Winter’ EP with Robert Wyatt). In 1982 he formed Everything But The Girl with singer-writer-partner Tracey Thorn, going on to record nine studio albums (1984-1999) over a fifteen year period, scooping one UK platinum and six UK gold discs, plus a handful of UK Top 40 hits. After EBTG’s highpoint, the global and US Billboard Number 1, ‘Missing’ (1995) and award-winning interpretations of electronica in the ensuing years (‘Walking Wounded’, ‘Protection’ and ‘Better Things’ with Massive Attack, ‘Temperamental’), he began his route to international club DJ status in 1995.
Encouraged by DJ-producer Howie B to start spinning, he cut his teeth in London in 1995 mixing freestyle sets of Jazz, Drum n Bass and Deep House. Guest sets followed at top London nights such as James Lavelle's Dusted, Fabio's Swerve and Howie B's own west-side Sunday parties.
In 1998 he established the seminal London Sunday day-night club and compilation series, Lazy Dog, with Jay Hannan. Moving away from EBTG's mainstream eclecticism and into club-oriented dance music production, he also turned out an accompanying string of acclaimed dance floor remixes for Sade, Sunshine Anderson, Zero 7, Maxwell and Meshell Ndegeocello. Lazy Dog folded at the top in 2003 after five years of sell-out parties around the world and compilation sales of 100,000.
In April 2003, unfailing in his energy and enthusiasm for music, he launched his own independent House and Electronic Music record label, Buzzin’ Fly – now a new benchmark on the world club scene with a string of revered underground hits and a series of best-selling mix compilations. As well as a home for his own club-oriented productions (‘Lone Cat’, ‘Pop A Cap In Yo’ Ass’, ‘Just A Blip’), the label is committed to new talent and has unearthed Justin Martin (Breakthrough DJ nominee at House Music Awards 2004 and 2005), Franco-Portuguese trio Rodamaal, and new Eastern European talent such as BarBQ and Kimouts. The label won Best Breakthrough Label at the House Music Awards 2004 and was runner-up as Best British Label in the DJ Magazine Awards 2007.
From 2002-2005 as part-owner-founder of new West London nightclubs Neighbourhood and Cherry Jam, he orchestrated the music policy and image of both venues, helping establish their three-year reputation at the forefront of the capital’s club scene. Under his creative direction Cherry Jam's intimate surroundings hosted international DJs as well as rock icons The Libertines' first official debut show, art exhibitions and the long-running spoken word night, Book Slam. At Neighbourhood, Watt brought in big guns like Groove Armada, the Rough Trade Records 25th Anniversary, the inaugural House Music Awards and a string of top DJs to guest at his own in-house nights. He left both venues in 2005.
In Sep 2005, he received two nominations in the House Music Awards 2005 –Most Innovative Producer, Outstanding A&R – as well as one for Label Of The Year for Buzzin’ Fly. In 2006 he accepted an invitation from leading UK independent radio network, Galaxy FM to launch the Buzzin’ Fly Radio Show (as editor and presenter) on their flagship Digital DAB network. The hour long show is also re-streamed worldwide on the web and re-boadcasted by several leading European networks. Listenership is put at 400,000.
In February 2007 he launched a sub-imprint of his record label Buzzin’ Fly called Strange Feeling, a home for alt-indie and electronic pop. Debut signings, Danish band Figurines have already drawn strong attention for their albums ‘Skeleton’ and ‘When The Deer Wore Blue’.
Now a central figure on London's club scene he DJs regularly in the capital as well as all over Europe, Australia and North America with regular sell-out shows. 2005 saw him tour extensively on the festival circuit (Good Vibrations, Homelands, Coachella, Ibiza, Lovebox Weekender, Electric Picnic) and he currently fronts Buzzin’ Fly’s new London residency on bi-monthly Saturdays at The End.
June 2008 will see him open Sonar 2008 with Goldfrapp and open the We Love Space Sundays party in Ibiza as one of their new summer residents, before a featured set at the Exit Festival in July. The summer will also see Buzzin’ Fly’s 5th Birthday celebrations with a major party and art exhibition in London plus a triple CD retrospective.
Unfinished projects include his long-running ‘Outspoken’ project, a series of evocative spoken word narratives set to music that he has been writing since 2002 with narrators as diverse as UK R’n’B MC Estelle, art-rock Australian Robert Forster (The Go-Betweens), New York Japanese dancer Miho (wife of film director Hal Hartley) and Grenadan-Brixton poet Malika Booker.
Apart from a life in music, his graphic autobiographical memoir, ‘Patient – The True Story Of A Rare Illness’ (1996), detailing his extraordinary battle with a life-threatening auto-immune disease in 1992 was published to wide acclaim by Penguin (a Sunday Times Book Of The Year, Esquire Non-Fiction Award Finalist) and Grove Atlantic Press US (a New York Times Notable Book of The Year.) It has subsequently been translated into Spanish and Swedish.
He lives in London with partner Tracey Thorn and their three children.