Born 6 Dec 1962, London. Musician. Half of pop-folk-electronica duo Everything But The Girl (EBTG). Singer. Songwriter. Club and Radio DJ. Record Label Owner. Non-Fiction Writer.
As a singer and songwriter Ben Watt's nascent career began with early eighties alt-folk solo recordings on London independent label Cherry Red Records ('North Marine Drive' album, 'Summer Into Winter' EP with Robert Wyatt). In 1982 he formed EBTG 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 much-feted 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 1996.
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, 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, Detroit's unique Lephtee and Italy's Abyss. The label won Best Breakthrough Label at the House Music Awards 2004.
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.
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 two London residencies – monthly underground Sundays at Plastic People, and bigger quarterly events at The End.
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 weekly Friday nights on their new flagship Digital DAB network. The hour long show is also re-streamed worldwide on the web from the Buzzin' Fly website.
Apart from a life in music, his graphic autobiographical book, 'Patient' (1996), detailing his extraordinary battle with a rare life-threatening auto-immune disease (which he still lives with) in 1992 was published to wide acclaim by Penguin UK (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.)
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 from widespread tastemaker media voices including NME, 6 Music, Update and The Fly.
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, New York Japanese dancer Miho (wife of film director Hal Hartley) and Grenadan-Brixton poet Malika Booker.
He lives in London with partner Tracey Thorn and their three children.