For music fans of a certain age Ben Watt’s face is most familiar as the man behind Everything But The Girl’s 1995 club hit Missing.
The Todd Terry remix hit number 3 in the UK and topped the charts in countries across the world.
The success came as shot in the arm for Watt and singer Tracey Thorn, whose 12-year career had been waning amid the popularity of genre busting grunge and Britpop bands.
Speaking to WoW ahead of a gig at Hebden Bridge Trades Club, Watt confessed the Todd Terry remix had done them a world of good.
“We had a successful career in the 80s and then we had a slump as a new generation of fans came in,” he said.
“Then I had my illness and we felt we were at year zero again in many ways.
“We just wanted to come back with something fresh and re-invent the sound in some ways.
“We started to experiment with break beats and samples mixed with acoustic guitars and then Tracey got asked to work with Massive Attack on their Protection album and it all seemed to come together.
“It seemed like a sound that was worth pursuing but obviously the Todd Terry remix of Missing was bigger than anybody expected.
“When it was first delivered none of us thought that’s going to be a global number one, we just thought it was a decent New York club mix; and then it took on its own life.
“I then got more and more into electronic music as a way of expressing ourselves.
“Missing was a spring board and then we went off and made Walking Wounded and that’s the record I remember the most from the 90s
“I remember feeling very liberated by it.”
Watt, an ‘indie rocker’ of some 20 years went on to experiment with new sounds, samples and beats on their subsequent releases before going it alone as a DJ, nightclub boss and record label owner.
Now after more than a decade of electronic music he has returned to his first love; simple folk rock storytelling.
And he revealed the sudden death of his sister in 2012 had compelled him to write songs again and awakened him to the fact that he had unfinished business with the music industry.
He said: “After my sister died I ended up going down to the studio and picking up my guitar and writing songs, which I hadn’t done for a long time.
“I’ve been in the electronic music scene for the last 10 years but I just had this instinct that I needed to get back to words and my own creativity again.
“In many ways I’m reconnecting with that 19 or 20-year-old self that had a very early career on Cherry Red record label in the early 80s.
“I had two well received records and then I went and parked all of that and went in with Tracey for 20 years.
“In many ways I feel I’m going back and connecting with the spirit of that boy back then.
“It’s interesting to think what might have happened had I not chosen a different fork in the road.
“It feels like unfinished business but also I feel words and telling stories in simple ways seems very important again.
“We live in an age where we’re very wrapped up in ourselves.
“We’re all very narcissistic with our smart phones and our Twitter accounts.
“I wonder why we’ve seen this resurgence in interesting folk music and people telling stories; perhaps it’s a need to just be in a room with people and say ‘I feel like this, do you feel like this?’.”
Ben Watt will be performing songs from his new album Hendra accompanied by Bernard Butler at the Trades Club on Friday, April 18.