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James Lavelle: The Dark Night

MoWax founder Lavelle releases new album accompanied by dark visual graphics on his label Surrender All

Not many people can lay claim to the cumulative accomplishments of James Lavelle. The impresario continues to impress as ‘Where Did The Night Fall’, his fourth album under his UNKLE moniker, sees its release on his Surrender All imprint. But the DJ-come-producer-come-label owner has been busy on other creative fronts as well, placing emphasis on film to coincide with his new release. Lavelle's earlier film collaborations include the mesmerising video for Thom Yorke's ‘A Rabbit in Your Headlights’ and more recently the video for ‘Heaven’. Also worth a mention is the enviable line of musicians he’s worked with since UNKLE’s conception; artists such as Brian Eno, Richard Ashcroft, Massive Attack and Ian Brown have all contributed to prior Lavelle projects.

Whilst the latest offering boasts a guestlist that has come to be expected from an UNKLE album - including Autolux, Queens of the Stone Age’s Mark Lanegan and Sleepy Sun - Dazed inquired as to what’s coming our way for this installment. For the artwork alone, James has opted for six varying animations from Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton-Jones, one of which can be viewed exclusively below. There's also a UNKLE retrospective at BFI Southbank today that will showcase previous album's art and film. As for the actual  ‘sound’ of the record? We’re told to expect an amalgam of psychedelic rock, afrobeats, strings and UNKLE’s trademark electronica. Dazed caught up with this James of all trades for a chat...

Dazed Digital: With 'Where Did The Night Fall' being your fourth proper album, is it indicative of your current tastes or is it more like a 'fourth in the series' sort of deal?
James Lavelle: It’s definitely indicative of current tastes within the group of people involved, I see it as more of a new beginning for the group rather than the fourth in a series. That said it still has references to the past as it’s an UNKLE record

DD: What do you think UNKLE fans will make of this record?
James Lavelle: Hopefully they will dig it as always. I am sure we will lose a few but gain others along the way, but hopefully people who have enjoyed the last albums for what they were will get this one.

DD: Your relationship with all that’s cinematic, both sonically and aesthetically, has become part and parcel of what you're about. What should we be expecting this time?
James Lavelle: We have made a short film with English director Paul Andrew Williams who directed ‘London to Brighton’ and recently finished ‘Cherry Tree Lane’. He’s very gritty and realist, a great new British talent. We have also done a video for ‘Follow Me Down’ with Warren and Nick with Liberty Ross doing a performance piece which is a cinematic version of the artwork; very psychedelic and seductive and I’m also working on a video for ‘The Answer’.

DD: Similarly, your album artwork has always been quite distinctive, what was the thought process behind having Warren and Nick doing the six different animations surrounding W.D.T.N.F?
James Lavelle: We just wanted to play with the artwork in simple ways to bring them to life in movement to create some small visual clips of sound and image to see how the photos could grow and change.

DD: You recorded this album between London, Ibiza, Melbourne and LA. Where in the world is it that you find your creative juices flowing the freest?
James Lavelle: I like moving around,  different places work depending on what you’re trying to do but a lot of my ideas come from going away somewhere quiet in order to give you time to let your mind wander.

DD: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time that might surprise our readers
James Lavelle: Silly mundane things like doing things to the house, cleaning and shopping for food, basic simple things that I never have time for when you’re constantly travelling and running around, they take your mind off the constant noise and give you a sense of reality!

'Where Did The Night Fall' will be available on Surrender All on May 10th