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Ben Watt Interview


Ben Watt Interview

Ben Watt


RS: Who's this Lephtee guy that I keep hearing about?
Ben Watt: Lephtee is a young guy with Ukrainian parents who lives in Detroit. He made his first record and sent it to me and was fairly astonished when I eMailed him and said I wanted to put it out on Buzzin' Fly. So that was kind of the story.

RS: What's your favorite new tune that you're playing out right now?
Ben Watt: You've put me on the stop, I can't think.

RS: I know that's an awful question for a DJ.
Ben Watt: Yes. Next question.

RS: OK, how about this. Are there any classic songs that you keep playing each night or you kind of drift back to?
Ben Watt: Again, an impossible question to answer.

RS: These next questions might not be much better. Do you think there'll ever be another Everything But The Girl record?
Ben Watt: Never say never. Tracey's making a solo record right now and that's going to come out probably on Virgin next February I think. She started writing songs again last year, having been out of the music business for five years, and we talked about an Everything But The Girl record but decided we didn't want to do one. So instead I pushed lots of young producers her way and she kind of cherry-picked the ones she liked, and she's written ten amazing songs and she's doing an album right now.

RS: Have you considered writing a sequel to Patient?
Ben Watt: Yes, but it's never been very successful. I actually, I wrote a novel about five years ago, a three hundred page novel, but when I read it back it was so bad that I threw it in the bin.

RS: Well I admire the fact that you're able to edit yourself, because a lot of artists think that anything they create is amazing, and you had the vision to see this didn't work and you just moved on to something else.
Ben Watt: Well, people said to me when we did the compilation for Everything But The Girl, the Like The Deserts Miss The Rain compilation, people said 'wow, that must have been so hard, you know, twenty years of music just coming up with sixteen tracks.' And I think, to be honest, Tracey and I struggled to find sixteen that we still liked.

RS: Well going back to that, I've got to use this Buzzin' Fly analogy. How did the electronic dance bug bite you?
Ben Watt: I think that the early 90s saw a real diversification in the rave scene in the UK, there was a whole new area of electronica and ambient music and trip-hop and deep house and lots of people were very inspired by it, people like Bjork and the Massive Attack guys and all that kind of stuff. And we were very much growing up in that environment and I think we were ready for change. I'd survived a life-threatening illness and I think we were bored with our career and the fact that we kind of ended up with an audience that was growing older and perhaps more conservative and we just wanted a change, and it seemed like a new sound and a new way forward and we just kind of embraced it and took the plunge.

RS: How much was it inspired by the success of the Todd Terry remix of Missing?
Ben Watt: I think it would be simplistic to say that that was the only trigger, there were a whole environment of influences. I mean, Massive Attack didn't ring Tracey to sing on Protection because of Missing, you know, that happened before Missing, there just seemed to be a new atmosphere in the mid-90s where people were starting to experiment in all tempos of electronic music. And we started getting fascinated by the idea of the remix and we had people remix Missing. Todd Terry's mix wasn't the very first mix of Missing that was done, it was about the fifth. Of course it was a major influence, but I wouldn't way it was the only influence.

RS: Good answer. I just read that you did an article in Arena magazine where you were talking about fashion and moisturizer, so I've just got to ask, what's your favorite kind of moisturizer?
Ben Watt: I would say Clinique M Lotion. And it's good value for money, you get more bang for your buck in the tube.

RS: And what advice to you have to DJs out there?
Ben Watt: Never give away your best stuff and always surprise people with a bad tune.

RS: Cool. That's great advice actually. How important to you think it is for producers to DJ and DJs to produce?
Ben Watt: Unfortunately, it's more and more important these days because promoters are very impressed by DJs who have successful records, there's a symbiotic relationship there. And I think the days of the DJ who was just a DJ, the kind of tinny registered character, those days are fast disappearing unfortunately. I think it's a shame because I think there is a role for the guy who is an expert DJ who doesn't necessarily have to be a producer. But in this day and age to get work and to get noticed, you seem to have to be able to do both.

RS: Very cool. One last question, what would you like to say to all your fans out there?
Ben Watt: Eat plenty of roughage and never wear green and yellow at the same time.

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