Ben Watkins

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Stephen Benedict Watkins

(1957-11-04) November 4, 1957 (age 66)
Wokingham, England
Other namesJuno Reactor
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
  • Composer
  • Musician
  • Multi-instrumentalist
  • DJ
Known forKnown for writing film scores for The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions

Stephen Benedict Watkins, short Ben Watkins, (born November 4, 1957 in Wokingham, England) is a British composer, musician, multi-instrumentalist and DJ. He is most known for writing film scores for The Matrix Reloaded[1] and The Matrix Revolutions[2] amongst others, as well as his ever changing musical project Juno Reactor.[3][4]

He is known for being one of the pioneers of what later became trance[5], having released the first trance artist album Transmissions in 1993.[6][7]

Early life and musical evolution

Ben was born on the 4th november 1957 in Wokingham as 2nd of 5 children into a family of artists. His parents would often let him listen to classical music for hours as a toddler.[8][5]

At the age of 9 he got accepted into the Chichester cathedral choir which paid for his education at the boarding school. Due to undiagnosed dyslexia[5] he found himself rather uninterested in the traditional school curriculum and while being educated in violin, piano and the classical guitar, got accepted to the Wells cathedral school in Somerset where he continued exploring musical possibilities by experimenting with his first band "Spiritual Sky", influenced by David Bowie, who's concert he attended as his first, T Rex, Slade, Led Zeplin, Pink Floyd and Queen.[9]

Due to his parents lengthily divorce and the conflicts involved, he left school at 17 and went busking around Europe only to return months later and establishing a rehearsal room in the now deserted parental house, where he and his older brother would continue living alone and evolving his musical projects while touring with his new band "Panther".

In 1975, at the age of 18, when his father sold the house, he started managing his band and with the rise of pub gigs accumulated about 250 performances all across the country partly under "Panther" and his next two band projects "Rainstorm" and later "IOU". With a van and a PA bought on a loan they played alongside bands like Japan, the Sex Pistoles, The Stranglers and Iron Maiden, putting all income back into the growth of the musical projects.[8]

Musical projects before Juno Reactor

1979 - 1979 I.O.U.

[10] (DJM Records)

In 1978, after signing with DJM records as "IOU"[11], they recorded their first single “No Entry” (B-side “Hot Blood”)[12] but soon after disbanded.

1979 - 1981 The Hitmen

[13] Through a connection at CBS Watkins partnered up with a guitarist and started writing pop songs under the name "The Hitmen". Despite feeling it is not his desired direction, but in dire need of finances, he signed up with CBS[14], what was at that time one of the biggest deals CBS made. Despite successful, Watkins describes this time as teaching him what he didnt like musically and emotionally[8]. After releasing two albums and 7 singles, he left the band.[15]

1981 - 1982 New Asia


1983 - 1983 Brilliant


1983 - 1987 The Flowerpot Men

After the death of his grandmother, Watkins inherited 200 British pounds which he bought a drum machine and an MC202 Roland with. Inspired by bands like D.A.F. and Suicide, he went onto combining that with live cello and his vocals. Meeting Adam Peters they started writing together and played them to Les Mills who was managing The Psychedelic Furs. He liked what they were playing and put them on tour with Dead or Alive, Siouxsee and the Banshees[18][19], The Psychedelic Furs under the name of The Flowerpot Men[20] (a rhyme on "Adam and Ben").

They recorded their first single with the bass played of Siouxsee and the Banshees, Steven Severin, in 1984, named "Jo's So Mean (to Josephine)"[21], on their own record label called Compost Records.[22]

In 1985 they recorded a cover of Dr. Johns "Walk On Gilded Splinters"[23] with Dr. John himself on guest vocals[24]. The B side featured a track called "Melting Down On Motor Angel" which would later become the title of their album under the new name Sunsonic, without the actual track being included on it.[25]

In 1986 they went on to produce the most notable song "Beat City"[26] which was featured in the movie "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off". In 2016 an official sound track compilation was released, featuring the song.[27][28]

1987 marked the last active year of The Flowerpot Men, releasing the EP "Alligator Bait",[29] before musically morphing into adding more house and dance influences and continuing writing music under the name Sunsonic.

1984 - 1986 The Empty Quarter

Watkins teamed up with Youth from Killing Joke to record the official sound track to Jonathan Moore's stage play "Street Captives" in only two days[30], premiering in 1983 and went on to publish "The Empty Quarter"[31] LP with predominantly pulsating bass lines, drums and early Greengate[32] samplers and synthesizers.[33] Eighteen months later they followed up with Delirium[34], having taken on the first LPs title as project name. They recorded Delirium, focusing more on rhythms and electronic elements with still some instrumental aspect, ranging from tribal to industrial to gothic funk, in only 5 days.[30]

1988 - 1990 SunSonic

When signing to Polydor Records, Watkins and Peters changed the name of their project to Sunsonic[35][36], releasing the album "Melting Down On Motor Angel"[37] in 1990 which marked the switch from rock-influenced synth-pop of the 80s to techno in the 90s.[38]

1991 - 1991 Apollo XI


1991 - 1994 Electrotete

[40] (R&S Records)

1992 - 1993 Jungle High


1992 - 1993 Psychoslaphead


In the media



  1. "Psylicious | Interview with Juno Reactor's Ben Watkins". Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  2. "Interview: Ben Watkins (Juno Reactor) "I'm Still Very Happy With The Matrix Films"". Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  3. "Juno Reactor". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  4. "Juno Reactor hometown, lineup, biography". Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Ben Watkins interview". 2008-09-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Juno Reactor – Mute Song". Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  7. "The pioneer of trance music "JUNO REACTOR" is coming back to JAPAN in MAY 2015!". SYNC MUSIC JAPAN. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "AAMI med zvezdami: Juno Reactor". AAMI Times. June 2019.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Aami Times". June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. "I.O.U." Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  11. "Ben Watkins discography". RateYourMusic. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  12. "I.O.U. - No Entry". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  13. "The Hitmen (6)". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  14. "RECOIL -> bio -> dm era". Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  15. "playboy1". Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  16. "New Asia". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  17. "Brilliant". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  18. "Siouxsie And The Banshees - Live Music - Page 2 - Gigography". Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  19. Naughton, Nuala (2013-09-12). Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience. Random House. ISBN 978-1-78057-798-2.
  20. "The Flowerpot Men". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  21. "The Flowerpot Men - Jo's So Mean". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  22. "The Flowerpot Men - MusicBrainz". Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  23. "The Flowerpot Men - Walk On Gilded Splinters". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  24. "Dr John's Walk On Gilded Splinters | The Stereo Society". Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  25. Fantod (2008-05-08). "Fantod Under Glass: The Flowerpot Men (Part 1 of 2)". Fantod Under Glass. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  26. "The Flowerpot Men / The Blue Room* - Beat City / I'm Afraid". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  27. "Oh yeah! 30 years later, we're getting a 'Ferris Bueller' soundtrack". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  28. "30 years later, Ferris Bueller's Day Off finally gets an official soundtrack". Consequence of Sound. 2016-06-21. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  29. "The Flowerpot Men - Alligator Bait E.P." Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  30. 30.0 30.1 "The Empty Quarter – Illuminated Records – 1986 – KILL YOUR PET PUPPY". Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  31. "The Youth & Ben Watkins* - The Empty Quarter". Discogs (in français). Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  32. "The DS:3 and Greengate Productions". Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  33. "The Youth & Ben Watkins – The Empty Quarter". Continuo's weblog. 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  34. "The Empty Quarter* - Delirium". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  35. "Sunsonic". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  36. "Sunsonic". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  37. "Sunsonic - Melting Down On Motor Angel FLAC download". flac music albums - Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  38. Fantod (2008-05-01). "Fantod Under Glass: Sunsonic - Melting Down On Motor Angel". Fantod Under Glass. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  39. "Apollo XI". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  40. "Electrotete". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  41. "Juno Reactor - Jungle High". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  42. "Psychoslaphead - Psychoslaphead". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-01-18.

External links

This article "Ben Watkins" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.