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"When I play records, the beat, vocals, the sound attacks me, and I respond. They make me sweat and contort, throwing me this way and that. Music has caused me serious pain at times, from tinnitus to disc degeneration due to contortionist-only angles I have twisted my back."
Born in London, David Watts listened to the first broadcasts of the influential John Peel of the BBC on a handmade radio. When his family moved to Toronto, Canada, the air was invaded by frequencies from stations from the state of New York. These stations broadcast soul, funk and the earliest of what we now call rap and hip hop.
David credits his open-minded parents for his liking of music of many styles, and not sticking to one particular genre unlike many of his contemporaries. He recalls his mother giving him a Jimi Hendrix cassette, while his father played Manu Dibango, The Eagles and James Last.
In the 80´s he returned to London, and began to work at Virgin Records. He learnt how to press a vinyl record, and how important press and promotion are for artists. The wide range of artists that he had the privilege to work with, suited his tastes; Iggy Pop, Ben Harper, Ice-T, The Micronauts, Unique 3, Les Negresses Vertes, Joi, Gang Starr, On-U Sound, Ryuichi Sakamoto, The Moody Boyz, Future Sound of London.
During one of his first DJ events in London, Aki of the newly-formed Nation Records (and later, Fun-da-mental) was in the club and gave him some records by Transglobal Underground, Loop Guru and Jah Wobble, who pioneered combining folkloric and traditional music with contemporary club-friendly beats and sonics.
Sometime after this quick meeting, he saw the socio-politico group Fun-da-mental perform and suggested to Virgin Records that they should see the band live, with the idea of signing them to the label. Around this time their DJ left the band, and their soundman Angus Angus suggested David as a suitable replacement, as they had previously rocked the turntables together and travelled around the UK to see bands like Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Mark Stewart+Maffia, Dub Syndicate, African HeadCharge, and The Beatnigs.
March 1993: David joins Fun-da-mental, but within six months some in the band begin to lose interest in the political dimension of the group, and the band splits in two. Aki and Dave continued as Fun-da-mental, recruited new members and eventually released their debut album ´Seize The Time´. Daring to step into a political minefield that others avoid, Fun-da-mental witnessed first hand the effects of global politics that is entwined in their musical productions.
They were the first group to visit post-aparthied South Africa in 1994; performed for refugees in earthquake hit areas of Turkey; visited post-civil war Beirut; performed in council estates in the bullet-scared city of Sarajevo.
"For me, the point of Fun-da-mental, is to say ´We, the underclass, the immigrants, the brown, the black, the poor etc. have a voice, regardless of our status. We, the voiceless have something to say, and we should be heard, and our views taken on-board´".
July 2006: Group founder Aki Nawaz was threatened with imprisonment under the British Anti-Terror laws, as Fun-da-mental´s latest album "All is War / The Benefits of G-Had" did not shy away from the topics of the day which seem to be immersed in war against our civil liberties, the abuse of power and trampling of democracy under the guise of the so-called ´War on Terror´. Their record company refused to release the album, which seemed strange as they previously thought the album to be an articulate collection of material calling for discussion and debate on the issues at hand. Songs that examine the minds of suicide bombers, government scientists, political masters, icons and servants, the common man, was finally available online, and eventually a CD version was made at a secret location in central Europe, as no UK manufacturing companies wanted to touch the project for fear of also being imprisoned under the Terrorist Act.
Now located in Tenerife, Canary Islands, D.WattsRiot has been presenting the Ear Conditioning radio program since 2006. Canarian airwaves now carry a previously unheard-of mixture of Spoken Word, Eclectic music, Film dialogue, Electronica, World music, Alternative music, Jazz and much more within an action-packed sixty minutes.
Some of his favourite musicians that are contributing to the program are also providing music for the Guevara Convention, a tribute to those involved in the struggle for dignity and respect. Every month, as of October 2007, the 40th anniversary of the death of Ernesto ´Che´Guevara, a work that reflects revolutionary thought or a socio-political situation is made available online. Artists such as DigiDub, Filastine, DJ/Rupture, Konondo Dub, King L Man, Checkpoint303, Coldcut, Dr. Das (ex.Asian Dub Foundation) are all set to contribute.
2008 sees D.WattsRiot putting Canarian folkmusic and other sounds into his sampler for a recording project under the name King L Man, and also working with the Clandestino Festival in Gothenburg, Sweden as a co-curator, suggesting artists and bands for the sixth edition of the festival, which he has taken part in for three of the previous five editions.
(Biography supplied by artist)
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