Ben Watt is the coolest dad on the planet. Formerly half of the duo Everything But the Girl and now half of DJ duo Lazy Dog, Watt explains the intricacies of hip life from his rain-soaked London home.
“In Lazy Dog we always have to do these mini-whirlwind tours where we get out for 10 days and play as many gigs as we can until we fall over. It suits my family life because it means I'm not away from my kids too much. We're kinda like Navy Seals though-we go in under the cover of darkness, blow up the harbor and then we're outta there.”
After Watt and his wife Tracey set aside the success of Everything But the Girl in order to start a family, Watt continued to blow up metaphorical harbors all over the world. Lazy Dog-which pairs him with fellow English DJ Jay Hannan-is just one thread of Watt's incessant musical involvement. He's also a London club owner and served as producer on Beth Orton's latest release, Daybreaker.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘How can you go from being in a live band to just being a DJ?'” Watt explains. “People don't have an understanding that it takes a lot of thought and preparation and understanding of an audience to do a good job as a DJ. It's one thing to have great records in your box. It's another thing to play them in the right order.
“Lazy Dog is a forerunner of this new scene that's been bubbling for a while,” Watt continues. “It's interesting to see how the era of the superclubs-which was rising pretty fiercely when Lazy Dog got started-has finally died off.”
Watt sees the club scene in a five-year cycle. The enormous beat palace was yesterday's habitat. Now, dance culture is returning to the “intimate club that offers the social atmosphere as well as the soulful dance scene.” Though he'd been on more than a few large-venue tours during his 17 years with EBTG, Watt is thrilled to return to 500-capacity joints.
“It's sweaty and the ceilings are low and there's a vibe and then you fuck up and it's a party and it's great and real,” he explains. “There's also the big American rave scene, where you're basically playing rave to the 16-year-olds in the suburbs, but that's never really been what I want to do.”
Who doesn't love a little 16-year-old rave?
“You've got to be kidding,” Watt grimaces. “Me and Jay are just the record selectors in the corner, the ambience coordinators. That's what a DJ should be about.”