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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 Stone Roses - Stone Roses

I didn't really like bands. I was into DJ culture, and hip hop, and acid house, and…I've been thinking back—because obviously when you do these lists you suddenly realise you can easily list 30 albums! I had New Order, and Oasis, and The Verve, and all these other northern bands in there, but I wanted something that represented that kind of relationship [I had] with the north of England musically.

I think this Stone Roses record has just stood up to being one of the great moments in British history and also in the amazing music that's come out of the North of England.

I've obviously worked with Ian as well, and it was a huge thing, really, when I started working with him. Because it really opened up this gateway into the north – there was always a divide and it was suddenly like, “fucking hell” – I'd be DJ-ing in Manchester and people would be coming there like, “well, you're cool because Ian thinks you're fucking cool!” It was like this ultimate sort of stamp of approval.

I think the record has just held up as one of the most important British records in a way, and I think that their relationship with eclectic music always has stood the test of time. ‘Fools Gold’ was the first thing I heard and that track just got me into the album because it was coming from a world that I'd grown up on. They've used the beat from Young MC and it was just kind of like: “this is a band I can get into and understand.” I wasn't into The Cure or The Cult or the Pixies or whatever at the time, that wasn't my thing. I get it now, but I didn’t then. I'm talking about my early teenage years – you're a lot more elitist about music when you're 13 or 14 [laughs].

There's a lot of great memories listening to that record. It was amazing when they did their first [comeback] show in Manchester, you know. Ian brought me up. And my relationship with him and Mani (Mani's played on a lot of UNKLE records over the years), I love Ian, and I'm very happy for them that they've found the success that they deserve.

Did you go to any of their last shows?

A few, yeah. I didn't go to Wembley Stadium, I wasn't around. They deserve to do that and get the benefits of that. I was doing shows with Ian when he had nothing. Nothing. Not a penny. They've sold shitloads of records and [got] completely fucked over. I have synergy with Ian and them for that for the same reasons that I had that done to me. I've never made a penny on Psyence Fiction, so I understand. Ian said to me when he did it, “you've got kids, you want your kids to be able to enjoy and see what you do”.