Described once as the Hunter S.
Thompson of DJs, James Lavelle’s career has spanned the last
18 years, and at 32 he remains as individual a figure in contemporary
music as he was as a teenager, when he first gate-crashed his way
in with the genre-shattering MoWax records. Back then he was obsessed
with early street culture, DJing with Gilles Peterson at That’s
How It Is (the legendary club which lasted over 10 years), working
with the visionary designer Nigo on Bathing Ape, and launching a
label in MoWax. Now he divides time between his internationally-renowned
DJ career, his UNKLE act with singer/producer Richard File, and
a brand new independent set-up: Surrender-All, which combines music,
fashion and art.
The DJing takes him to clubs like Womb in Tokyo and Fabric in London
(which he was resident for 5 years) and he has been involved in
working with designer Antonio Berardi. UNKLE are readying their
third album after the international success of ‘Psyence Fiction’
and its follow-up, ‘Never Never Land’. And Surrender
is a new creative centre that connects everything Lavelle is interested
in – a record label, a studio, a clothing line– to one,
independently-run axis. “There’s a whole new set-up.
Trying to keep everything as simple as possible,” says Lavelle
bursting as ever with ideas.