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.