Psyence Fiction becomes fact
Three years in the making and countless setbacks later, the Unkle album is finally about to be released. Its creator JAMES LAVELLE checks
his head. Words: Rory Weller
‘People were walking out. I had a gun to my head and l was freaking out a bit at everyone.” says .\lo Wax‘s James Lavelle. ‘Shadow got to the point where it was like “Please James. let me go. Let me have a life.”
It‘s more than 30 months since the original release date for The l'nkle album l’svc/icc Fiction and Lavelle is a relieved man. The busiest b-hoy in the business has been to hell and back in the search for his own personal lloly (irail. and the album. co- produced by San Francisco vinyl junkie DJ Shadow. is finally finished. It famously features collaborations with a slew of artists as diverse as Thom Yorke from Radiohead. 'l'he \"erve‘s Richard Ashcroft. Beastie Boy Mike I) and .\letallica bass player Jason .\'ew stead.
l.avelle talks with a certain weariness. the project has been ongoing for such a long time. expectations are running so hiin and his own reserve of creative energy is at an all time low. liirst shot at the album came in the summer of 95 when Lavelle. Shadow. former l'iikle colleague Till] (‘ioldsworthy arid half the Mo \Vax personnel met tip in Meat l.oaf's old mansion in I.os .-\ngeles to start work. .\'ot one of the tracks (apart from a scratched sample) appear oit l’svi'ni'c [’n'/ion.
'Hey man. w e were young and free.‘ Lavelle e\plains. ‘l‘d set up .\lo \Va\. l'd worked in record shops since I was fourteen. It was the opportunity to have some fun. The whole idea of going to l.:\ was escaping. it was basically go out and do this record and not get invohed in se\. drugs and rock ‘n‘ roll. And I suppose ultimately that‘s what it became.‘
The whole project would have been shelved e\cept for l.a\elle being introduced to The \'erve's
r5, . % , It, A v;
Lavelle and DJ Shadow: it could be a while before they can face doing
'The whole idea of going to LA was escaping, it was basically go out and do this record and not get involved in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. And I suppose ultimately that's what it became.’ James Lavelle
Psyence Fiction II
second album A i‘v’orrliern Soul in “)6 and he realised Richard Ashcroft had the power he was looking for. moving away from instrumental hip hop and creating something a little more timeless. Shadow was brought in to co-produce the project shortly after he‘d released his gold selling lz'iirlIi-m/iici'iig album on Mo Wax and together they tracked down the people they wanted. ‘I wasn‘t going to work with anyone else.‘ says Lavelle. "I‘hat‘s why we waited so long. The vocals had to reflect something we believed in. it couldn‘t just be a compilation record. or a soundtrack to Godzilla.' .\'ow Lavelle says he‘s being made to feel as if he is some sort of fast buck. hype merchant choosing to work with these people. ‘When I made the record I didn‘t
what people would think. In a certain way I think I‘ve done something wrong. not in the music. but just because I did it with those people. that they're big stars or whatever. l didn't really care what the ACME thought. I just believe in those people. sorry.‘ No apologies needed.
Psyence Fiction is released on 24 Aug.
realise the implications of
ROCK Imogen Heap
Strange as it may seem, the majority of people in would-be chart contender bands can’t read music. Which is perhaps why / Megaphone, the debut album of classically trained Imogen Heap, sounds so startlingly different
from much that is flooding the
From the gossamer shimmer of 'Sleep’, With Heap's gentle piano augmented by phantom strings, to the breathy skip and jump of her recent single ’Come Here Boy’ Via the cot and paste sway of 'Shine’, this is as refreshingly out of step With angry Morrisette clones as it is With the lips, hips and tits but no talent pop moppets aimed at the teenie/tahIOid market.
If Heap’s music doen’t easily fit any marketing niche, if it stands out, then so does Heap herself. Over six foot tall at the age of nineteen, Heap cuts an imposmg figure that is further marked out by her unc0nventional habit of wearing six inch leather horns on her head.
’I always need to have something on
my head,’ she explains. 'It relieves
pressure. I never wear the same hat in a row but have gone through glasses, shades, goggles and a tiara.’
Heap is the first to recognise that she ’seems to have acquired a stage persona’ which she describes as ’a condensed version of me. It’s a bit of me as I want to be; inside, waiting to come Out.’
Without overindiilging in armchair
psychology, perhaps it's not necessary :
to scratch too deep to find the root of
this individuality nor how it informs
’As a child, I didn’t want to know
anything outsmle my head,’ considers Heap. 'I’ve always concentrated on my songs. It's only recently that I started to read newspapers, to listen to other CDs, that I started to read books Now I’ve gone to the other extreme, I keep buying CDs and I have to read everything I can get my hands on '
It may come as no surprise that / Megaphone is an anagram of Imogen Heap (Jonathan Trew)
a / Megaphone Is out on A/mo on Mon I7Ai/g.
Imogen Heap: no megaphone required
13-20 Aug 1998 THE “ST 122