Ben Watt first appeared in London in 1981 as a young nineteen-year-old experimental songwriter-singer-guitarist. 1982's 5-track EP 'Summer into Winter' featured Robert Wyatt. His early work culminated in his sparse atmospheric debut album 'North Marine Drive' (1983, UK Independent Album Chart, No 9).
In 1983 he put solo plans on hold to perform and write full-time with Tracey Thorn in their recently-formed duo Everything But The Girl. The band stayed active until 2000, delivering twelve UK Top 40 singles, two platinum and seven gold UK Top 20 albums and one gold US album. 1995's global hit 'Missing' reached No. 2 on the US Billboard Top 100. The 1994 album 'Amplified Heart' and the 1996 album 'Walking Wounded' - for which Watt was nominated as Best Producer at the Q Awards - each sold over a million copies.
The duo's career was dramatically interrupted for a year in 1992 by Watt's drawn-out hospitalisation and near-death experience with a rare auto-immune disease Churg-Strauss Syndrome (aka EGPA) with which he now still lives - a period documented in his acclaimed 1996 memoir, 'Patient' (New York Times Notable Book of the Year; shortlisted for the Esquire Non-Fiction Award; Sunday Times Book of the Year)
Everything But The Girl quit on a high in 2000. Watt moved out of the mainstream into record production (Beth Orton), remixing (inc Sade, Maxwell, Meshell Ndegeocello), DJing and clubland. He co-launched the influential London day-night Sunday party and compilation series 'Lazy Dog' (1998-2003) and was creative director, resident DJ and part-owner at west London night clubs Cherry Jam and Neighbourhood (2001-2003) before starting his own award-winning electronic record label and club night Buzzin' Fly in 2003. He was nominated for Outstanding Contribution to Dance Music at the DJ Magazine Best of British Awards 2009, and as Best Deep House DJ four years running (2008-2011) at the global DJ Awards. He was a resident DJ on BBC 6Music's flagship electronic music show 6Mix from 2011-2014.
In 2013 he put Buzzin' Fly and his DJ career on hold and returned to his earliest roots in singer-songwriting to record 2014's award-winning solo album, 'Hendra' - his first for thirty-one years - released on his new imprint Unmade Road, through Caroline International. The same year Bloomsbury published his second memoir, 'Romany and Tom' - a searing but tender portrait of his parents' marriage - nominated for the UK's highly prestigious Samuel Johnson Non-Fiction Prize 2014 (now the Baillie Gifford Prize).
His third solo album 'Fever Dream' followed in 2016. Uncut posted a lengthy 9/10 review. The Guardian commented: "In his early fifties, he is making some of the best music of his career."
2019 saw the recording of a new solo album, 'Storm Damage', for release on Unmade Road through Caroline International in January 2020.
He lives in North London with wife, Tracey Thorn. They married in 2008 and have three children - twin girls, Jean and Alfie born 1998; and a son Blake born 2001.
10 Oct, 2019
Across four decades Ben Watt has maintained a committed forward-looking course, from the ardent echo-drenched folk of his early solo work with Robert Wyatt, through seventeen years as musical mainspring and co-lyricist in the best-selling Everything But The Girl with Tracey Thorn - and ten at the helm of his smart electronic label Buzzin' Fly - to his recent moving non-fiction and mid-life solo albums, the award-winning 'Hendra' (2014) and 'Fever Dream' (2016).
New album 'Storm Damage' (out January 2020) is no exception. Sonically adventurous, lyrically detailed and engaged, the album - written and produced by Watt - is a personal journey through anxiety and change cut through with an insistent defiance.
Sonically the album forgoes the acclaimed twin-guitar approach of its two predecessors, and boldly shifts focus onto - in Watt's words - "a future-retro trio" of upright piano, double bass and hybrid acoustic-electronic drums, set against a half-lit backdrop of lone analogue synths, spiralling echo spins and impressionistic "found sounds" adapted from online public-domain recording archives.
"I wanted a timeless-meets-modern live jam - the directness of an adorned trio capturing the spirit; and the samples, synthetics and electronic boom capturing the psychological mood," he says. "Tight, but allowed to slip its moorings."
Expect songs, improvisation and stories from across his career as Watt performs with his current band.
07 Oct, 2019
Ben Watt shares the video for his new track 'Sunlight Follows The Night', taken from the forthcoming album 'Storm Damage' released on 31st January
Pre-order from the link below.
04 Oct, 2019
Ben Watt announces his 'Storm Damage' tour of the UK in February / March 2020.
18 Apr, 2018
The Rolling Stone Weekender will take place at Feirenpark Weissenhauser Strand in Germany between 9th-11th November, 2018 and features Primary Talent artists:
19 Jan, 2017
Ben Watt's documentary from 2014 'The Making Of Hendra', is now available to view online either from his website or on YouTube.
22 Sep, 2016
Ben Watt and his band which features Bernard Butler, will tour the UK & Europe throughout October.
Tickets are available now.
29 Feb, 2016
Ben Watt unveils a new video for the track 'Between Two Fires', from the forthcoming 'Fever Dream' album, released on 8th April. Premiered in Clash Music.
04 Sep, 2014
The AIM Independent Music Awards took place on 2nd September, in London. Amongst the winners were Primary Talent International artists:
...Ben Watt 'Hendra': Best 'Difficult' Second Album
...Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip 'You Will See Me': Independent Video of the Year
16 May, 2014
Ben Watt used Twitter last night to announce that Pink Floyd's David Gilmour will be playing on three songs at his London show next week at Islington Assembly Hall on Monday May 19. The rare appearance follows Gilmour's cameo on Watt's recently-released acclaimed album, 'Hendra'.
Having already assembled the album's original band for the first time for the date, including ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, the addition of rock titan Gilmour is an unexpected bonus.
"We met by chance last September just before my album," says Watt. "It has all just fallen into place since then. First the album cameo and now this. He came down to rehearsal today to play pedal steel on 'The Levels' - the album track he's on - and now he's joining in on three.
His lead playing is just great. It is an honour to be up there with him and Bernard Butler at the same time."
Watt and Gilmour have already recorded and filmed a different acoustic version of 'The Levels' together earlier this year at Gilmour's studio on the south coast that was premiered by Q Magazine.
Remaining tickets for the London show from:
14 Apr, 2014
Released today Ben Watt's new album 'Hendra' has been receiving some excellent reviews in the UK media:
|27 Feb 20||Belgrave Music Hall||Leeds|
|28 Feb 20||Oran Mor||Glasgow|
|29 Feb 20||The Cluny||Newcastle Upon Tyne|
|01 Mar 20||The Deaf Institute||Manchester|
|04 Mar 20||The Greystones||Sheffield|
|05 Mar 20||Norwich Arts Centre||Norwich|
|06 Mar 20||The Portland Arms||Cambridge|
|07 Mar 20||Castle & Falcon||Birmingham|
|08 Mar 20||Phase One||Liverpool|
|10 Mar 20||The Fleece||Bristol|
|11 Mar 20||Wedgewood Rooms||Portsmouth|
|12 Mar 20||Komedia||Brighton|
|14 Mar 20||Queen Elizabeth Hall||London|
|21 Mar 20||Tuinzaal Nord||Amsterdam, Netherlands|
|23 Mar 20||La Boule Noire||Paris, France|