Man from Mo’Wax

He is an icon of the UK underground dance scene, but few people know that James Lavelle of Mo’Wax Records is an Oxford lad whose career began right here.

On Monday he returns to town, dropping into the Westgate Curzon cinema from 6pm to present the award-winning documentary The Man from Mo’Wax. James will take part in a Q+A along with director Matthew Jones after the screening and will hang around to sign records.

Mo’Wax was a driving force of the mid-90s trip hop, turntablism and alternative hip hop scene, releasing albums by DJ Shadow, UNKLE, DJ Krush, Liquid Liquid and Blackalicious.

James threw his first event aged 15, raising enough money to buy decks, and moved to London to start the pioneering label at just 18. He is now a permanent resident at Fabric.

“Doing this Q+A in my hometown will be a chance to meet young and hopeful producers going through all the challenges I’ve experienced,” he says.

“They can learn a lot from my journey. It makes sense to come back to where it all started – especially at a time when Oxford’s nightlife seems to be coming under siege. With venues like The Cellar being pressured to close, there are fewer opportunities for first-time performers and its harder for musicians to get themselves out there.

“Oxford is where I spun my first vinyl, threw my first party, and where the first seeds of Mo’Wax were planted.

On the film, he said: “This film is a unique insight and an honest take on my life and career.

“It’s a whirlwind journey along the road of failures and successes, highlighting the amazing experience of being a teenager starting a record label during the 90s where the lunatics were running the asylum.

“While there are two sides to every story, I am proud of the creative adventures highlighted in this documentary and the fact that I’ve been able to be a part of this cultural movement, that over the last 25 years has had such an impact on the world we live in today. I hope you enjoy the ride!”