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About Unkle

Everything James Lavelle has created and initiated has been driven by the same irrepressible sense of curiosity and an incorruptible willingness to take risks. The music released today under the banner of UNKLE is very different from early UNKLE records. The spirit is the same. James Lavelle was a fresh-faced fourteen-year-old when he began to travel every Sunday from Oxford, where he lived, to the Soul 2 Soul shop in London. “Soul 2 Soul were my heroes”, he says. “Them, and The Wild Bunch. It was my sort of Punk. My escape.” Before long, he was working himself behind the counters of two of the most influential record shops in town, first Bluebird Records, then Honest Jon’s. James made friends easily, and he applied an extraordinary dedication to the discovery of music - old or new, whatever the style. The early 90s were an inspirational time in London. Acid Jazz, House and Hip-Hop had vastly expanded the horizons. The boom in clubs, all attempting to forge a distinctive identity, provided a fertile breeding ground for idiosyncratic music. Aged nineteen, James Lavelle had established himself as a DJ who refused to stick to conventions, welding together to joyful effect all that was blaring out of the windows of Britain’s inner cities. When he started Mo’ Wax Records in 1993, he naturally brought the same approach to the label. DJ Krush, DJ Shadow, Beastie Boys-cohort Money Mark, Air, Blackalicious and many more thrived under his enthusiastic and anti-authoritarian guidance. Mo’ Wax, like Stiff and Island in previous eras, became the record label that defined the zeitgeist.


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