TF Archives

Ben Watt interview

Author: Phil Watkins
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Despite being in the music industry for over twenty years, Ben Watt is considered by many to be one of Deep House music's new school leaders. Originally one half of Everything But the Girl with Tracey Thorn who is also currently experiencing great success with Tiefschwarz for 'Damage', Ben is now Creative Director and label boss for the world class label, Buzzin' Fly. With the latest release of his new compilation 'Buzzin Fly 3' showcasing the best of the label up until now, I got a chance to have a chat with Ben…

You are about to play your first all-nighter at the End in London to celebrate the third birthday of the label, are you still enjoying your involvement in club land-
Yes, although I have become increasingly introspective of late, and worry a lot more before I play. Strange. You would imagine it would get easier. But I struggle to settle and relax before a big event. Ironically when I actually start I relax completely and throw myself into it and I hope the crowd feels it as intensely as me, but the run-up is agony at the moment, unfortunately.

Is DJing a suitable 'sea change' from your time with EBTG -
I still feel I express similar feelings - pathos, depth, honesty, directness
- so in many ways I feel I am just working with different tools. I have found songwriting very hard lately, almost impossible, but threading journeys out of other people's music is a release. I am interested in the interface between pre-recorded pieces and brand new elements like injections of spoken word so the line between artist album and DJ mix becomes more blurred.

One of the stand out contributions from Buzzin Fly 3 is the inclusion of some exerts from 'Outspoken'. Do you have any plans for future collaborations with Baby Blak or others-
There are other things recorded. The project has been ongoing for four years now. I can't finish it but slowly things are emerging from it - the Estelle track, the Baby Blak ... there is more, but how it will emerge I have no idea right now

What are your plans for the direction of the label over the coming year-
I make no plans. I follow my instincts.

Can you give us an insight into what goes into producing a compilation like Buzzin Fly 3- How do you come about to choosing the tracks you have-
This latest mix took a long time. I re-worked it 4 times. I wanted to go somewhere unique and honest and fresh, using new sounds mixed with old sounds, with a sharp gear change midway. I mull it over for ages, testing out keys and blends. I then record sections live to capture a feeling but with the capacity to revise certain sections if I feel they could be better. A studio environment is there to be exploited. I don't really hold with these 'all live on 2 decks mixes'. If you want that, go to the gig.

You end your Myspace 'About' section with a reference to the multitude of questions you must get asked about EBTG reforming. Do you ever get tired of these questions or do you simply see them as an inevitable consequence of EBTG's success-
I don't really mind. I am flattered people still care and remember.

On your Myspace page it mentions that 'Unlike many pages up here, this one is actually genuine'. Has Myspace proved to be a useful means of interacting with your fans and networking within the industry- Have there been any particular success stories of artists you've discovered or remixes that have come about through Myspace-
It is a bit of a monster and seems to grow exponentially. I find it hard to keep up. I try and send messages to my friends and bulletins to everyone else. There are moments when it is lovely. I got a message from a Hungarian friar who had recorded some beautiful ballads. I was able to tell him how much I liked his voice and he got back to me. I am still yet to sign my first 'Myspace' artist or track however. I came close recently, though!

Buzzin' Fly and your good self were nominated in 3 categories