Mo’Wax founder James Lavelle to curate Southbank’s annual Meltdown Festival in 2014

Mo’Wax founder James Lavelle to curate Southbank’s annual Meltdown Festival in 2014

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Lavelle promises to “shoot for the moon” in curating one of London’s most vibrant and important cultural festivals.

The latest in an untouchable tradition of influential artists and musicians to turn their hands at curation, James Lavelle has been selected to preside over the Southbank Centre’s 21st Meltdown Festival in the same year his standard-bearing UK hip hop label Mo’Wax will also celebrate its coming of age.

Speaking about the opportunity to curate the festival, which has seen the likes of David Bowie, Yoko Ono and Patti Smith take the reigns in recent years, Lavelle said that he intends “to create a vibrant and exciting collage of counter-culture and collaboration from the worlds of music, film, art and everything in between,” adding that he aims to “bring together my influences from the past, the present and my work as an artist in contemporary society as well as transforming the space in a way that’s never been done before, both artistically and musically.”

Having launched Mo’Wax with Tim Goldsworthy all of 21 years ago when he was just 18, Lavelle is also conscious of assuming responsibility as one of the scene’s (comparatively) elder statesman, setting out his stall “to inspire the next generation of young artists in the same way that I was inspired as a teenager. Together we will push boundaries, shoot for the moon and create something that people will never forget.”

The decision to elect Lavelle to the role has also been lauded by friend and contemporary Robert “3D” Del Naja of Massive Attack (who oversaw the festival in 2008) who said: “James kept me up during the 90s… and by that I mean no sleep! He is a brilliant dictator… I mean curator, his label Mo’Wax and the UNKLE project are a great testament to that. Meltdown next year will be a blast!”

Following 2013’s Yoko Ono-infused Meltdown which saw performances from Laurie Anderson and Boy George, the line-up for Lavelle’s festival is set to be announced in 2014. As artist Gavin Turk has put it, “Meltdown is a perfect moment for him to call in all this experience to redefine the way music and art can work together.”

Learn about Mo’Wax’s 21st anniversary exhibition Mo’Wax21: Urban Archaeology here and check out the ten best Mo’Wax sleeves here.

Check out all of James’ UNKLE releases with The Vinyl Factory here.