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A retrospective exhibition celebrating the 21st Anniversary of the birth of the iconic record label Mo'Wax.
A retrospective exhibition celebrating the 21st Anniversary of the birth of the iconic record label Mo'Wax.
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552 backers pledged £38,916 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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About The Project | What Is Mo'Wax?

Mo'Wax was a London-based record label that was started by James Lavelle in 1992 when he was just 18 years old.

Culturally, the label’s cocktail of influences ranged from Star Wars and Def Jam to Japanese Manga art. Crucially though, Mo’Wax was uniquely British. From Luke Vibert and Doctor Octagon to resurrecting David Axelrod and Liquid Liquid, Mo’Wax seamlessly jumped from hip hop to techno with the excitable glee of a young graffiti artist with a new wall to paint. Notable releases include La Funk Mob’s ‘357 Magnum Force’, remixed by Richie Hawtin and Carl Craig, fifteen years ahead of their commercial zenith at Cocoon, Ibiza. Equally, Lavelle cites the ‘Headz’ compilation as a key part of their creative peak, which featured music from Attica Blues, Nightmares On Wax and ‘The Time Has Come’ by UNKLE. Released in 1994 with artwork by 3D from Massive Attack, it was one of the first albums to popularize the term trip hop.

Mo’Wax scored commercial and creative payoff with the release of turntable genius DJ Shadow ‘s ‘Endtroducing’. A million-seller across the world, it caught the ears of pretty much everyone. Other key releases followed from the likes of Money Mark and of course ‘Dr. Octagonecologyst’ , the debut solo album from Dr. Octagon, which included seminal hip hop single ‘Blue Flowers’. Other key singles came from Andrea Parker – with the wistful ‘Rocking Chair’, as well as music from Liquid Liquid, DJ Krush and Rob D’s string-drenched classic ‘Clubbed To Death’. Shadow’s ‘Influx’ released in 1992 was another high point.

As well as their far-reaching musical impact, Mo’Wax’s artistic identity was crucial, and Ben Drury, the Head Designer of the label, designed over 400 record covers during his tenure. The label’s presence was strongly felt within the worlds of fashion and art, including collaborations with the distinctly British designer Alexander McQueen, Nigo and Bathing Ape, Supreme, Japanese toy creators Medicom, and American artist Kaws, as well as creating the limited edition sneaker ‘The Dunkle’ with Nike. What’s more, Mo’Wax was also responsible for bringing attention to the American graffiti artist Futura 2000, who created the original UNKLE Point Man, and who would often be seen at the Mo’Wax office in Soho, creating new designs.

Towards the end of the label’s life, James Lavelle worked with the likes of Nick Huggett who went on to sign M.I.A and Adele, and Toby Feltwell who went on to run Bathing Ape and set up Billionaire Boys Club with Nigo and Pharrell. After numerous releases that helped redefine the face of British music and street culture, and having immersed his efforts in his band project UNKLE, first with DJ Shadow and then with new partner Richard File, Lavelle finally walked away from Mo’Wax in 2002.

How Can I Get Involved | What Will I Be Funding?

2013/14 marks the 21st anniversary of the birth of the label, and over a decade since the last release.

To celebrate this milestone, we want to host a very special exhibition of the Mo'Wax archive, including never before seen artwork, proofs, paintings, toys and clothing, as well as personal notes and other memorabilia. So we need YOUR HELP to raise funds to restore the archive and put on the show.

The exhibition will take place in London, but if we raise more, then we will try to tour it to other cities in the world!

All the money we raise will go into finding a venue and installing the show, as well as framing, archiving, production and publicity. 

The exhibition will also coincide with the re-release of UNKLE's seminal album Psyence Fiction, with a special version of the album available exclusively to Kickstarter Backers.

Apart from financial support, we also want hope that this campaign will help rebuild the Mo'Wax community, and provide an exciting platform for celebrations around the world! If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, please take this opportunity to get in touch!

Risks and challenges

The main risk with a project like this is due to the level of uncertainty that we face when it comes to the archive itself. As most of the items we want to exhibit have been packed away in storage for the last decade, we don't really know what condition things will be in! With this in mind, we have factored in a certain amount of contingency budget for restoration and preservation of items, in particular the paintings, and we are working with a team of experienced project managers who will be overseeing the process and keeping costs down.

We also realise that with this element of the unknown, working to a tight timeline is difficult, which is why we are launching the campaign this early (ie a year before the exhibition) to give us enough time to overcome any other time-consuming hurdles.

The great advantage that we have is that we are working with preexisting objects, and we don't have to worry about issues that occur when creating anything new.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.56

    A HUGE THANK YOU to you PLUS your name on the Urban Archaeology website and on the 'Supporters' wall at the London exhibition in 2014.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    A brand new and exclusive digital download of 'The Best of Mo'Wax Mix' by Mo'Wax founder James Lavelle, created especially for Kickstarter.

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    86 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $23

    Exclusive Mo'Wax Urban Archaeology T-shirt designed and created especially for Kickstarter backers!
    (Men's style only, please state your size when pledging - S,M,L,XL).
    Price includes UK P&P.

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    36 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $23

    A commemorative Mo'Wax Urban Archaeology Poster and Sticker Pack, designed by Ben Drury. Price includes UK P&P.

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    9 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $31

    URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY STARTER BUNDLE: Mo'Wax Urban Archaeology Poster/Sticker Pack (£15) PLUS 'The Best of Mo'Wax Mix' (£5) PLUS
    your name on our THANK YOU lists (£1).
    Price includes UK P&P.

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    16 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $39

    Deluxe Kickstarter Edition CD of UNKLE's Psyence Fiction Re-Release, including a very special 7" picture disc, available only via Kickstarter.
    Price includes UK P&P.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $54

    A SIGNED copy of UNKLE's Psyence Fiction Kickstarter deluxe CD re-release with special 7" picture disc. (Signed by James Lavelle).
    Price includes UK P&P.

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    77 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $62

    Deluxe Kickstarter Edition CD of the Psyence Fiction re-release (£25) PLUS Exclusive Mo'Wax Urban Archaeology T-shirt (£15) PLUS digital download of 'The Best of Mo'Wax Mix' digital download (£5).
    Price includes UK P&P.

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    110 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £75 or more About $117

    Limited Edition Urban Archaeology Screenprint designed by Ben Drury. Limited to an edition of 300 only, numbered and signed by Ben Drury and James Lavelle.
    Price includes UK P&P.

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    Limited 19 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $233

    An invitation for two to an exclusive launch party for the Urban Archaeology exhibition in London, with a 30 minute guided tour by James Lavelle PLUS a signed copy of the Kickstarter re-release of UNKLE's Psyence Fiction.
    Price does not include travel or accommodation.

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    Limited 24 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $233

    URBAN ARCHAEOLOGY SUPER BUNDLE: Thank you (£1) PLUS The Best of Mo'Wax Mix (£5) PLUS Poster / Sticker Pack (£15) PLUS Urban Archaeology T-shirt (£15) PLUS A Signed copy of the Kickstarter re-release of Psyence Fiction (£35) PLUS A Super Bundle Limited Edition Print (edition of 200) designed by Ben Drury (£100).
    Price includes UK P&P.

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    Limited 85 backers
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  12. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £2,000 or more About $3,112

    A complete set of the Mo'Wax back-catalogue on vinyl, taken from James Lavelle's archive.
    **Shipping outside of the UK is available but costs are TBC depending on your country! Please email us for a quote.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  13. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $7,779

    Your very own track remixed by James Lavelle!!! Plus the chance to visit him in the studio in London to see him at work. Specific date TBC once backer has pledged!
    Price does not include travel or accommodation.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $7,779

    An exclusive 2 hour DJ set by James Lavelle at your party!! Date to be confirmed once pledge has been made - gig is subject to approval. NB Price does not include travel and accommodation.

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    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)