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Baker's Dozen

Irrepressible Discoveries: James Lavelle Of UNKLE's 13 Favourite Albums
Elizabeth Aubrey , September 18th, 2017 14:19

With a new album on the way and a much-anticipated set at Brighton's Attenborough Centre at the ready, James Lavelle, the man behind UNKLE and Mo' Wax, takes Elizabeth Aubrey through the 13 records that shaped him


The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles are very important to me. It’s weird, because growing up I wasn't really into what I considered to be retro rock ‘n’ roll and I discovered The Beatles through ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ on Revolver. I was sort of weighing up what was more important to me – Revolver or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Their influence on music and technology has been so massive to me over the last twenty years or so. That record and the way it was one of the first real concept records was incredible. I suppose I've always liked records that are conceptual and the fact that their recording process basically changed the way that people looked at albums and music. On my new record, I did some recording with Dhani Harrison, George Harrison's son, so that was quite mad. Going to his house, his family house in Henley, and being in the studio with every guitar that’s been played on every Beatles record together with mellotrons, Kong synths and all that stuff. I've got big George Harrison thing now, just his whole way of his life and what he did, the songs he recorded. It’s hard to make a perfect record. With the album choices that I've made, I really thought they're albums that are albums rather than a collection of songs. Sgt. Pepper’s is the beginning of great albums, really, the point where records changed the way we looked at music – and it still does. There was this and Pet Sounds. To hold up after 50 years that well, is, my god – it's kind of incredible.

I think that Sgt. Pepper’s really changed the way that we looked at music. It was recorded on a four-track...I don't even know how you can do that! There are only a few albums that were made like that and changed the course of history. A lot of the records that I've chosen are records that were made very, very simply.