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James Lavelle: The Lives of the Artists

Energy drink Relentless has teamed up with UNKLE's main man for the second part of their cinematic documentary series, 'The Lives of the Artists: Follow Me Down'

Relentless Energy Drink gears up to the release of their second installment of the cinematic documentary series, 'The Lives of the Artists'. Exploring true artistry within sport and music, this year’s 'Lives of the Artists' stars UNKLE’s James Lavelle and snowboarders Xavier de le Rue and Jeremy Jones. The film’s tagline is 'Follow Me Down', a reference to the lead single from UNKLE’s new psychedelic opus of a record 'Where Did The Night Fall', featuring a stunning new visual aesthetic courtesy of the iconic fashion photographers Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones. And as the film’s tagline suggests, UNKLE have created an exclusive score for the film. Dazed Digital went to Russia with Relentless director Ross Cairns and UNKLE to capture the Moscow leg of the world tour, and spoke with Lavelle about his new musical direction for the album and score.

Dazed Digital: You’ve worked with a lot of different people with UNKLE over the years, how’s this year been different?
James Lavelle: There’s a real community that’s built up out of this beast, a lot of people who have worked together for a very long time and all have life experience. Our relationships are a lot more realistic. I wanted to creatively grow and change what we were doing and it brings it back to all of these relationships, it was about bringing everyone together who have been part of this over the years.

DD: The new UNKLE material seems like it’s in a different headspace to say, 'War Stories'.
James Lavelle: I’m proud of the fact that we got to a place were we needed to be, it was an organic process rather than a conceptual one. There was a lot of discovery within the music we’re doing now. With 'War Stories' it was all about escapism. Now we’re much more focused, we finally rebuilt the foundations of what I wanted to do.

DD: When did you first meet Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones?
James Lavelle: I met Warren 15 years ago. He was always trying to push this more technological, multimedia way of creating photographic imagery and through Mo’ Wax it seemed very apt with our influences. Back in the day he went to shoot the Lucas film vaults, he shot that Dazed cover... This is about complete and utter trust, we’re all in a similar place creatively.

DD: What were the themes to the new record?
James Lavelle: I wanted to do something that had a sexuality. It had been so 'boys with toys' before. This was fallen angels, really. Sensuality, seduction, psychedelia, love, trying to find some sense of this world that I’ve lived in for so long. Its been very surreal and dark and music now has been different. It was joyous doing the collaborations, there was an unexpected discovery, going back to basics and creating something that is a lot looser.

DD: In your own words, it’s been a pretty surreal ride.
James Lavelle: I’m a very impulsive person and sometimes I get that right, sometimes I get that wrong. It’s about ideas and what you believe in. I was very young when I had the power, the money and the relationships. I wasn’t prepared for it. I have my own demons and sometimes they come out to play. But I know what I’ve done and no-one can take that away anymore. Right now it’s a band of brothers, it reminds me of when I started Mo ‘Wax and it hasn’t been like that for a while. I’m searching for sense of peace and ensuring that artistic integrity is right through the chaos and anxiety. What I have is the art.

DD: Exactly...
James Lavelle: Actually, the best moment I’ve had was telling my daughter we were in the 'Twilight' film. It was fucking amazing, she was screaming down the phone. You know, with that I got my street cred back.

UNKLE have exclusively created a soundtrack for 'Lives of the Artists: Follow Me Down', influenced by the cinematic backdrop of the film. One track, ‘Set No Sun (feat. ELLE J & Joel Cadbury)’, with additional vocals and never-before-heard arrangement, is exclusively available for members of The Order - Relentless’ online community, to download for free at from 18 August 2010. The remainder tracks will be available at launch of the full film. The full film will be released on September 7th 2010, but in the meantime you can now view the film trailer and download the first UNKLE track, 'Set No Sun':
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