James Lavelle was one of the key players who shaped the cultural landscape of the 1990s. As the founder of Mo’ Wax Records and UNKLE, Lavelle nurtured, worked and rubbed shoulders with some of the most influential artists of the decade, including DJ Shadow, Ian Brown, Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft and Massive Attack.
Within ten years of leaving Oxford to work in a record shop, Lavelle had founded one of the most coveted music labels in the world. As a record producer, label head and tastemaker, he absorbed the 90s as a night owl, seeking out musicians, designers, film makers and unique individuals to share ideas and collaborate with. He tapped into what was without a doubt the most celebrated and innovative era since the 1960s, and was widely regarded as the greatest A&R man of the day.
In the twenty years since UNKLE’s debut, Lavelle has been prolific. He created three studio albums with UNKLE (Never Never Land, War Stories and Where Did The Night Fall), a host of critically acclaimed film scores, and curated a series of art exhibitions through Daydreaming With… most notably, the hugely successful Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick exhibition at Somerset House.
Lavelle’s achievements as an artist were recognised in 2014 when he was asked to curate the Meltdown Festival at the Southbank. He joins a long list of musical luminaries such as Yoko Ono, David Bowie, Massive Attack, Nick Cave and Patti Smith, as Mo’ Wax and UNKLE took their rightful place in the Southbank hall of fame. His unique journey as an artist up to this point was also captured in a two hour documentary. Matthew Jones’s ‘The Man From Mo’ Wax’ hits the cinemas in 2017.
Lavelle’s Meltdown was supposed to be a celebration of his rich history as an artist. Instead, it became the catalyst for a new journey.
When UNKLE opened the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall, Lavelle sensed something was happening. It was June 2014, Friday the 13th. Unlike everybody else that day, Lavelle couldn’t believe his luck. There he was, about to open the festival with UNKLE, surrounded by a new generation of artists and some faithful friends who wanted to collaborate.
ESKA, Keaton Henson, Liela Moss, Philip Shepherd and Mark Lanegan all performed with UNKLE that night. Little did he know that all of them would go on to collaborate with him on a new UNKLE record. That night reignited a desire to create something fresh and innovative, music that celebrated the rich history of UNKLE, whilst at the same time looked to the future. After the most successful Meltdown since the Festival began, Lavelle started putting the building blocks together for UNKLE’s fifth studio album: The Road pt 1.
“I hadn’t made a record in a long time, and the incarnation of UNKLE had changed in that now, it was me on my own. For that reason, I wanted to make a record that I hadn’t been able to before, going back to the roots of where I came from, with a foot in modern London”, says Lavelle.
He set out to make a record that tapped into the multi-cultural landscape of modern London. His mission was to unite the eclectic mix of ideas, cultures and genres under the UNKLE umbrella and create something unique. And he made a great job!
Now we can’t wait to meet Lavelle with his project UNKLE Live at GALAPAGAI 2017 fest. He will hit as the main headliner of the 2nd night, saturday – 29th of July in the island of Zarasas lake, Zarasai city.
Catch your tickets NOW: TO BUY