FUN-DA-MENTALLY DAVE WATTS
Dave Watts, known to some as a member of the musical force Fun-da-mental and his genre-bending DJ sets under the name D.WattsRiot.
The engine behind the album ‘Headonix’ released under the name KingL Man.
A document, a response to the perpetual state of conflict. With the album, survivors of perilous conditions in open seas hold the mic among rhythms reminiscent of home and electronic patterns. Japanese vocals married to social justice and a Black fist from a Pause-Button Kid.
A London Thing
A Londoner, born to Barbadian immingrants, toyed with crystal radio sets and caught early transmissions of BBC Radio 1 & the sounds of the Sixties. Moving to Toronto, Canada, in the early ‘70’s, brought a new perspective, North America and it’s offerings… Attending school without a tie for starters!
A new circle of friends and tuning into radio stations from upstate New York, beaming the beginnings of rap and hip hop to late-night ears out there.
Passing to London on the way to Morocco in 1986 he found a city breathing heavily with musical expression from every pore and pavement.
The Virgin Years
He returned to London permanently two years later and started working at the record label Virgin Records, within a postcode to many creative efforts known worldwide. Typically the first job was packing records into boxes, and those boxes onto pallets.
He established fertile relationships with musicians as Bad Brains, Unique3, Iggy Pop, Ben Harper, T-Bone Burnett, Ice-T, 23 Skidoo, Les Negresses Vertes, Luke Vibert, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Following one of Dave’s first DJ stints in London, Aki Nawaz, from the recently-born Nation Records introduced himself with some vinyl and disappeared. A few years later he re-appeared as founder of Fun-da-mental.
Witnessing the delivery of performance and feeling in time with what he heard, Dave brought them to attention of Virgin’s A&R Dept. t Unknowingly, the band were soon to invite him to fill the DJ role due to DJ Obeah departing.
Years of recording samples from films, documentaries, live radio broadcasts, telephone conversations etc, making loops on cassette, came to use beyond mixtapes.
He joined Fun-da-mental and two days later stepped onstage with them at a ‘Whirly Gig’ event in Shoreditch, London. Two months after they lit the match at Glastonbury Festival.
The bands reputation on the streets and in the media was gaining traction, MTV added the ‘Countryman’ video which was filmed in Pakistan, to a high-rotation slot, beaming pro-First World, anti-colonial perspective into homes around the globe.
Upon the eve of a UK tour, the two MC’s suddenly quit, leaving Aki and Dave to not only produce the music but to take up vocal duties, while finally recruited two new MC’s, Mushtaq and Hot Dog Dennis.
The four proceed to deliver Fun-da-mental’s first album, Seize The Time, named after the book Seize the Time: The Story of The Black Panthers and Huey P. Newton by activist Bobby Seale, the co-founder of The Black Panther Party.
The band’s political unapologetic stance was embraced where it mattered locally and internationally, taking them to perform in South Africa two months after Mandela and the A.N.C. ascended to power. They performed for refugees in Sarajevo, opened their ears to the stories of the Maori in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Aborigines in Australia.
With the ever shifting political landscape under their feet, the band continued producing provacative albums & EP’s, Erotic Terrorism, All is War, There Shall Be Love, Why America Will Go To Hell, The Last Gospel.
Dotted throughout this period Dave collaborated with the System 7 / Sabrettes-led project ‘Repetitive Beats’, Algerian crooner Rachid Taha, Italy’s Almamegretta, Belgian metal-funk combo Crumb.
Now based at FDM HQ, Nation Records, Dave began a DJ partnership with the label’s A&R Man, Rich McLean aka DJ Overhaul. They became Dub Sessions regulars at Disgraceland, alongside The Orb, Nina Walsh, Digidub, Andrew Weatherall. The Nation World Service as the project was titled, entered the studio, producing ‘Skaning For Jallunder’, released via Nation and a remix of ‘Terra Mae’for Fourth World (Airto Moreira & Flora Purim) released on Melt2000.
The Canary Islands Mentality
Fun-da-mental were invited to perform at Womad in Las Palmas, which lead to Dave later reside in the Canary Islands. From this base, he returned to the radio waves with his ‘Ear Conditioning’ program, carried by radio stations in Tenerife and Sarajevo.
Became Resident DJ at Txola, La Laguna, Tenerife, and performed at most of the festivals of note in the region, Womad Las Palmas, Womad Fuerteventura, Eolica, Aquaviva, Ciudad de la Musica.
A Fun-da-Mental DJ slot at the initial Clandestino Festival in Gothenborg, Sweden led to Dave becoming Co-curator of the festival for nine years. Programming the likes of The Bug, King Midas Sound, Gonjasufi, Adrian Sherwood, Kode9 + The Spaceape, Leila and Gonzo (Discrepant) among others.
Ear Conditioning as an Artist Booker | Managment and Event Consultant, took form, initially representing the artists Gonjasufi (Warp), Lowdjo (Belgium) and himself.
He is curator side with Keroxen in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a multi-disciplined festival which takes place inside a converted oil refinery tank.
In 2014 his KingLMan project debuted with the single ‘Vultures’ Bazaar’ on his own Ear Conditioning imprint. The dub ethos of space around the rhythm takes the lead around the Motown-esque vocals of reggae singer Earl Sixteen.
The debut album titled ‘Headonix’ was released digitally with vinyl following in June 2022 in collaboration with Keroxen | Discrepant.
With a cast of collaborators from near & far, the album speaks of Migration, Racism, Political Manipulation, Celebrity-status while seeking a calm bay on the horizon.