Line-up /POD: James Lavelle , LRB, Donal Mooney
Chocolate Bar: Sidetracked
Advance tickets ?15 for Jamie lavelle
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JAMES LAVELLE Bio
JAMES LAVELLE became a DJ because I couldn't break-dance and I was no
good at graffiti. Still under the age of 30, he has already become one
of the most recognized producer/DJs to emerge from Londons underground
by association with his cutting-edge breaks label Mo Wax Records, the
power-production of U.N.K.L.E., Brit-rock darlings South and now for a
second turn with the highly prestigious globe-trotting DJ series
Global Underground with GU #026: ROMANIA, due out this spring.
Like the rest of us, it was the parental record collection that
switched James Lavelle onto music. His early sets included the likes
of Stevie Wonder and Deep Purple with an eclectic mix that was an
embryonic blueprint both for James as a DJ and for his label Mo' Wax.
Good tunes are good tunes-the genre doesn't matter, but the one style
that initially captivated him was hip-hop, and not just the music.
The UKs fledgling scene was as much about Tacchini as it was Whodini
and the breaks were the rhythms for break-dancing. Inspired by the
sound systems put together by the likes of Afrika Bambaataa in the
States and by the Wild Bunch over in Bristol, James started buying
records by the bucket-load, providing the soundtracks to his hometown
Oxford's own blockparty scene. The first party he put on at 15 made
him enough money to get a pair of decks, and when Oxford starting to
run out of vinyl, London beckoned.
Even during his work experience at Bluebird Records in West London,
James Lavelle was selling tunes to the founding fathers of modern
British dance: Pete Tong, Dave Dorrell, Norman Jay, Tim Simenon-the
list is as long as it is distinguished. It also included Gilles
Peterson, whose new Talkin' Loud label, with its fusion of different
sounds, had given James an idea for a label of his own.
Taking its name from the night he'd started promoting, Mo' Wax Please,
Mo' Wax was set up in 1993 with 1,000 from Honest Jon's Records where
James (still only 19) now worked. At Honest Jon's, James had started
putting hip-hop tracks alongside the classic breaks that had inspired
them; from the outset, Mo' Wax worked along similar lines.
Out on the floor, James was again looking to do something different.
He was playing Saturdays at the Fridge in Brixton and with Patrick
Forge at the Gardening Club but was looking to take the anything-goes
eclecticism of Mo' Wax Please to a bigger audience-which made
starting a club on a Monday night seem a bit odd. But That's How It
Is, founded with Gilles Peterson at Bar Rumba, was an instant classic,
and eight years down the line is still at the same time and in the
Meanwhile, Mo' Wax was taking the Lavelle musical approach to even
greater heights with the release in 1996 of DJ Shadow's seminal
Endtroducing, a record that turned music on its head and catapulted
Mo' Wax into the spotlight as never before. James says simply, It
changed everything, and for a while things did go a bit mad with both
him and his label in ever-increasing demand. While the groundbreaking
Mo' Wax nights at the Blue Note still epitomised his laconic DIY
approach to music, James found himself being overtaken by business and
celebrity, thus prompting a move to Los Angeles to spend three months
working on a new brainchild to be called U.N.K.L.E. It took five years
to create the album Psyence Fiction.
With contributions from Ian Brown, Richard Ashcroft and Thom Yorke,
the album was an immense piece of work and was the British alternative
dance record that James had always envisaged making.
The sheer length of time spent in the studio making Psyence Fiction
inspired James primarily to get back into clubs and to start DJing
again. A DJ support slot for the Verve followed, as did similar tours
with Massive Attack, The Beastie Boys and Radiohead. James was also
heavily involved in fashion, providing catwalk soundtracks for
Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayn and Japanese label Ape. There was a
season in Ibiza and opening night sets at London super-clubs Scala and
Fabric where he continues to spin at his now famous Friday night
It was a back to his roots move; a chance to play the records he loved
to people who loved them, to both entertain and educate a whole new
generation of clubbers in the same way he'd been entertained and
educated in the '80s. Ultimately, James is just a music fan like
everybody else. The school kid with the broken glasses who made it,
is how he terms it. I don't want to be in magazines, I just want to
In between playing records during this time, James produced guitar
band Souths debut album From Here On In. Lavelles production touch to
Souths moving rock riffs struck a chord with critics and fans alike,
garnering the band amazing reviews across the board. He also put
together the soundtrack for Sexy Beast , the Jonathan Glaser film
featuring Ben Kingsley.
U.N.K.L.Es newest effort Never, Never Land was just released in the
U.K. this past fall. Special remixes of songs that appear on the
album can be found in America on GU #026: Romania, as well as some
other Mo Wax-influenced treasures. Standouts in the mix include: Eye
4 An Eye remixed by Dylan Rhymes & Force Mass Motion; U.N.K.L.E.
remixes of Queens Of The Stone Ages No One Knows and Souths Colours In
Waves plus other delights from Meat Katie & Elite Force, The Chemical
Brothers, Photek and Richie Hawtin.
On GU #026: Romania, James Lavelles sheer enthusiasm for his music
ensures its freshness. I've got the luckiest job in the world, he
says, and you cant help but believe him. This is the lad who has gone
from stealing VW badges to being name-checked on record by Mike D; the
James Lavelle musical revolution has gone full circle and that big
wheel just keeps on turning.