Some thirty-one years after he released his debut album North Marine Drive, Ben Watt is set to perform at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge with the Ben Watt Trio on 28th October.
After the release of his solo album, Ben Watt spent the next thirty years on a wide variety of projects, before returning to his roots to release his excellent second solo album, Hendra.
It has been quite the journey. Fresh from his debut album in 1983, he went on to form alt-pop duo Everything But The Girl with singer-writer-partner Tracey Thorn. The highly successful partnership lead to nine studio albums, including platinum and gold selling discs in the UK, a collaboration with Massive Attack on the excellent Protection and success on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Watt then made the move over to DJing, achieving great success mixing jazz, drum ‘n’ bass and deep house (which he later focussed on with his London Sunday day-night club and compilation series Lazy Dog) with further critical and commercial joy at London Club The End and on sell-out US tours.
Following the success of Lazy Dog, Ben Watt launched into club ownership as the part-owner-founder of London nightclubs Neighbourhood and Cherry Jam, where he took on responsibility for the music policy and image for both venues. The venues saw the likes of Groove Armada and The Libertines performing.
An almost natural progression into record label ownership followed as he launched his own independent label Buzzin’ Fly, focussing on underground house and techno.
Now, thirty-one years after the debut album, things have come full circle. The album Hendra, which he describes as ‘simply a folk-rock record in an electronic age’ received widespread acclaim from the likes of Mojo and Q. Hendra also features Bernard Butler (Suede) and a performance from Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on track The Levels. Speaking of the change of direction following his label ownership, Watt comments ‘Some might see it as a strange fork in the road after Buzzin’ Fly, but everything for me has always been about finding a truthful and vivid point of connection with an audience – whether on dancefloors or in folk clubs. Words, beats and notes – it’s all we have. It’s just a question of playing them in what feels like the right order at the right time, and at the moment, ‘Hendra’ just feels right.’
The Ben Watt Trio will see Ben Watt on stage alongside Bernard Butler and Martin Ditcham (Talk Talk, The Waterboys). A UK tour in April and US tour in June received excellent reviews, with sell-out crowds enjoying engrossing and engaging sets.
The full tour listing:
23rd October – Exeter, Phoenix
24th October – Bristol, Fiddlers
25th October – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
27th October – Edinburgh, Voodoo Lounge
28th October – Manchester, The Ruby Lounge
29th October – Dublin, Whelans
1st November – Hull, Fruit
2nd November – York, Fibbers
3rd November – Leicester, Musician
5th November – Brighton, Komedia
6th November – Southampton, Joiners
10th November – London, Village Underground
image courtesy of Edward Bishop
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