Lazy Boys

Everything But the Girl's Ben Watt used to be half of a soft-pop duo; these days, he's manning the decks and pumping the bass

Explains Watt: "Every form of music has its peaks, doesn't it? They have those moments that you latch onto. In pop music, we call them hooks. They're the choruses that happen every 40 seconds. In dance music, you look for those wonderful breakdowns and the resurgent builds back into the bass lines. Those are the hooks of dance music, and when they're executed properly in the hands of great producers, with great fat beats and wonderful production and perhaps a great vocal or musical hook, you think, 'Wow, that's dance music at its greatest.' And I think dance music has its own hooks. I don't miss pop hooks at all."

On both Lazy Dog and Lazy Dog, Vol. 2-- and, presumably, when they perform at Velvet -- Watt and Hannan prefer house music tempered with the female voice. Theirs is a smooth, jazzy sound with a load of acoustic instrumental flourishes, breakdowns and solos; the four-on-the-floor booms remain consistent throughout the two-and-a-half-hour mix, and the line between what's sampled and what's recorded live is often blurred. In a microcosm of Watt's career, his inspiration in track selection is derived from a lifetime of musical obsessions. The sound is far from cutting-edge, and those who prefer their house music more complex or booming may be disappointed with the track selection. This is smooth, inspired dance music, designed not for armchair contemplation but for maximum dance-floor penetration.

With Everything But the Girl on hiatus while Thorn devotes her time to her and Watt's three children, Watt has found himself without the steady musical mission he's known for close to 20 years, a dilemma he's solved by remixing and producing tracks (he's producing and mixing Beth Orton's new record). "I can live in both worlds," he says. "I have a studio at home, so when I'm in a period of work where I'm doing remixes for people -- recently for Sade and Maxwell -- I can be mixing upstairs but I can come down and see my kids when they come home from school. It's great. But also I can cut loose from the kind of domestic side of life and go and tour with Jay, or go and play Lazy Dog and feel connected with a younger, kind of more vibrant social culture. I'm very lucky to have both worlds, really."

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