James Lavelle played his first DJ set at 14, launched pioneering record label Mo'Wax at 18 and released the genre defining UNKLE album Psyence Fiction at 22. His phenomenally rapid rise seemed limitless, but it's only when you're going so fast that the wheels fall off.
The Man from Mo’Wax tells the remarkable story of one of the most enigmatic yet influential figures in contemporary British culture. Unearthed from over 700 hours of footage including exclusive personal archive spanning three decades, we get the rare opportunity to watch a boy become a man in the world of music.
The result is an exhilarating, no holds-barred ride into the life of an extraordinary man and an equally extraordinary era, taking in some decidedly flawed decision-making (both personal and professional), Lavelle emerges as an innovative artist who thinks big and consistently overcomes adversity.
"I became a DJ because I couldn't Breakdance. And I was no good at Grafitti."
The Underground's loss, music's gain. Well, not in every sense - musically, James Lavelle (b. 1974 in Oxford, England) has been at the heart of the London underground for almost a decade. And in love with all kinds of music for all of his 27 years. Like the rest of us, it was the parental record collection that switched James Lavelle on to music, early Lavelle sets included the likes of Stevie Wonder and Deep Purple, an eclectic mix that was an embryonic blueprint both for James Lavelle as a DJ and for his label Mo Wax; good tunes are good tunes - the genre doesn't matter. But back to the young James. And hip-hop, the one style of music that initially captivated him. It wasn't just the music; the UK's fledgling hip-hop scene was as much about Tacchini as it was Whodini and the breaks were the rhythms for breakdancing. Which James couldn't do, not that it mattered, he was already sold on the breaks. Inspired by the sound systems put together by the likes of Afrikaa Bambaata in the States and by the Wild Bunch over in Bristol, James started buying records by the bucketload and providing the soundtracks to his home town Oxford's own blockparty scene. The first party he put on, at 15, made him enough money to get a pair of decks and with Oxford starting to run out of vinyl, London beckoned. There's probably no better example of right place, right time.