Beginning his career in folk-rock in the ’80s as part of Everything But the Girl along with partner Tracey Thorn, then taking a turn into the dance world in the ’90s (remember EBTG’s mega-hit “Missing” remixed by Todd Terry?) and ’00s, Ben Watt’s first solo album in 31 years, Hendra, returns him close to the starting point on his musical path. Watt, 51, sees it all quite rightly as a good thing.
Known for championing emerging DJs for a decade with his roving Lazy Dog party and London-based Buzzin’ Fly label, which released bespoke floor movers from Justin Martin, Jimpster, Spencer Parker and many others, Watt gave up his career as an indie dance-music mogul a year ago to focus on his third book, Romany and Tom for Bloomsbury due in 2014 and his BBC 6Music 6Mix.
Out of his departure from dance music came a renewed interest in his guitar, and before long his noodling led to a collection of songs that became Hendra. Before a three-stop jaunt to America — which was suddenly canceled due to last-minute visa issues — Watt explained the genesis of Hendra and why he has no regrets for going back to his musical roots.
Many people were surprised when you shuttered Buzzin’ Fly in 2013. Now that a year has passed, how do you look back on that decision? Any regrets?
None. It was a considered decision over a period of time. I put ten great years into the label, helping young artists and producers, throwing ace parties, travelling the world, but something was beginning to change in me. I needed to get back to words and my own creativity again. And I simply didn’t have the time or the resources to do both. I am very proud of Buzzin’ Fly. And I shuttered it without ever having to compromise.