Dear James Lavelle, it’s been 2 years now…

Posted on July 10, 2015 by

An open letter to James Lavelle, from an irritated backer of the Mo’ Wax Kickstarter campaign who’s still waiting for the Psyence Fiction deluxe edition.

Mo' Wax - James Lavell, Dale Cooper, Ben Drury
Photo : James Lavelle, me and Ben Drury at the Mo’ Wax Urban Archaeology exhibition. Shot by my mate Alex.

Dear James Lavelle,

here we are : today it’s exactly 2 years since your Mo’ Wax Urban Archaeology Kickstarter campaign has been funded, and I’d like to talk about it if you don’t mind. Sorry in advance for my average English, but I guess you know what I’m about to tell you anyway.

In June/July 2013, in 1 month, you raised £38,916 from 552 people from around the world, whilst your goal was £30,000. I’d call that a great success.

Obviously I’ve been part of this campaign. I consider myself as one of the most hardcore Mo’ Wax fans, so I was extremely excited, not to say that I went crazy, when I found out that something involving Mo’ Wax was about to happen.

The problem is that you almost fucked it all up. Let’s see why.

The guided tour

I’ve personally backed the project by choosing the “guided tour” of the exhibition. Indeed, it was the right thing for me : an opportunity to meet one of my heroes and being told some good stories, surrounded by all the lovely stuff I’ve been trying to get my hands on for the last 20 years.

So, I’ll be honest, that night was one of the best memories of my life, and I’ll never forget it. It was absolutely awesome to meet for the first time and chat a bit with you, Ben Drury, Andrea Parker, Trevor Jackson, Paul Bradshaw… as well as to meet the UNKLE 77 forum mates, from the UK, from Australia, from the USA… The beers were cool and good, the exhibition was amazing, well beyond my hopes.
But I’m still waiting for my guided tour.

James, what was wrong with it? You know that the people who pledged for the guided tour are mostly die-hard fans, who wanted to hear their hero (you!) telling some good stories about their passion. It was the only real interest of this reward, because the exhibition was free, and it stayed exclusive to us for no more than 2 hours.
Did you fear something?

The prints

Yes, as you can see there’s an S because there was supposed to be two different prints, in two different rewards. I must admit that, retrospectively, I’m quite happy I was not rich enough at the time, because I’d have pledged on 3 rewards : the guided tour, the £75-limited-to-300 print, and the £150-limited-to-200 print. In the end, there was only 1 print, limited to 200. What if I had paid £225 to get 2 copies of the same print? Did it happen to anyone?

The Psyence Fiction deluxe edition

This is probably the biggest issue of them all, since it concerns 359 angry people. This was supposed to be made of unreleased material from the Psyence Fiction recording sessions, whereas now it looks like no one did not even know what was available in the archives. Also, we have been confirmed that DJ Shadow has NEVER EVER been involved in this project. So the latest Kickstarter update was a total lie.
What’s up now? I don’t care if you meet some obstacles, shit happens and that’s OK, but please just LET US KNOW and I’m sure we’ll all understand.

The “complete set of the Mo’Wax back-catalogue on vinyl”

This is an issue for just one backer, but still a huge issue! The guy has spent £2000 for a bunch of records, and he recently confirmed me that 2 years later he still doesn’t have them. How come you did not find some time to pick up the records, put them in a few boxes, and give them to him? He’s in London, so you don’t even have to care about shipping!


In the past 2 years, you’ve have been involved in a lot of projects with Mo’ Wax and UNKLE. Let’s make a list :

  • Meltdown
  • the first 2 (very expensive!) releases of your new label Songs For The Def, and some more crazy priced stuff available at Meltdown.
  • the Mo’ Wax book
  • the Nike collaboration
  • the Converse collaboration
  • the Bape collaboration
  • the Build & Destroy fragrance
  • the Saatchi exhibition / sale
  • the Rammellzee 12”
  • the UNKLESounds gig at Koko
  • the Venice Biennale
  • the Supreme exhibition / sale
  • the recent UNKLE gig in Moscow
  • the forthcoming Station 2 Station project
  • and apparently “you” are recording a new UNKLE album

Dear James Lavelle, you really need to realign your priorities, because you are clearly doing it wrong.

The money

£38,916, that’s a lot of money. And I’m wondering : where the hell did it go?
Surely, printing a few low quality tees, posters, 2 color prints, and stickers, is not very expensive, is it?
The book maybe? It was not part of the Kickstarter, so I assume that Rizzoli has paid for the photo shoots and the excellent work of Ben Drury. Did they?
The exhibition was part of Meltdown, right? So, again, I assume that Southbank Centre or whoever organizes the festival has injected money in the exhibition. The free beers? Brewdog provided them as a sponsor.
I’m not saying that you’ve misused our money, I’m just asking : how did you use those £38,916 we gave you? And please don’t tell me Saatchi!

Do you have any idea of what crowdfunding is? It’s a trustful collaboration between you and the rest of the world. You don’t just ask people to open their wallets, you agree to give them what they’ve paid for.

I don’t want my money back. I want the full project to come to an end, and I’m still confident that it will. I want you to keep us all updated about what’s going on.
I know you are not an internet guy, you’ve never been close to your fans, and that’s OK. But you have some guys to do the promo for you, so tell them to stop posting on Facebook as if there is nothing amiss. This is not OK, and this lets people think that you are fooling them.
Please, be respectful to the people who supported you!

I’m not the kind of guy to take legal action, not even to report to Kickstarter, but, 2 years without an honest word, James! That’s enough.

You’ll never read this anyway.

Yours truly,
Ben aka Dale Cooper

UPDATE – 15th July 2015 : James Lavelle’s management have just posted a quick update on James’s and UNKLE’s Facebook pages as well as on Kickstarter to clarify the situation.

18 thoughts on “Dear James Lavelle, it’s been 2 years now…

  • Paul says:

    Looks like James spent out all the money. Calm down, Dale, as soon he gets them from the new projects we all get the deluxe

  • Paul Eluard says:

    Well i texted james and he says he’d send me my records early august. At least he’s alive. Let’s see now. Starting to lose hope. Maybe he got a reminder it’s been two years

  • Matt says:

    Have you changed your name?
    Anyway I believe it when I see it. Is James no longer offering to let you look through the archives and pick them out yourself?

  • Hi Matt. Haha not changed my name, just preferring pseudos.
    I told him I’d rather he ships it directly because I’m not in the mood to arrange a date again to go through the archive. Would have been nicer, but that was adding a layer of James’ timing I’m not willing to deal with.

  • Matt says:

    Ok, fair enough ‘Paul’.
    Good luck getting your stuff. I’m still really intrigued as to what you’ll get, so please let us know!

  • p01ntm4n77 Kev says:

    I’m expecting the special 7 inch pic disc that I pledged for along with the signed PF Deluxe CD!!

  • p01ntm4n77 Kev says:

    SFTD releases were expensive and the pressing of The First Time was of a low standard…

  • DM says:

    A valiant few have been campaigning and leaving comments, requests, you name it on every possible website, forum, even to the point where some sterling individuals have contacted JL’s management or even obtained responses from Josh Davis himself, and still to date, no update since January on what the fuck is going on??? To my mind, if you take someone’s money on the pretense of offering something in return and then not delivering on that understanding, its theft or fraud. Why we all realise that there are some conditions associated with crowdfunding and Kickstarter where this basic principle is a bit of a grey area, its the sheer lack of respect that has been show to every single funder who contributed money. 10/10 for the article. Lets hope James pays some fucking attention!

  • well it seems he got the message…

  • Andrew Perry says:

    What a compete embarrassment to the British Music industry. To have a twat like this!! He has used all my money, and everyone else’ (probably on DRUGS as usual) and not delivered what he should have!! He should go into Politics…because he’s just like a politician…not a musician! He should Brexit himself out of this country becuase he’s made our country look like a complete fraud…which is what he is!! Let me know if you need more money for more of your drug habits/ No doubt another album of shit music will be released with Pablo. But oh wait, it has a nice shinet Limite Edition front cover!! Give me and the rest of the country a friggin break you fagott!!

  • Aanand says:

    Hi everyone – I know it has been ages since anything has been put up here but has anyone got any news? Like everyone (*i guess) I’m still waiting…Look forward to hearing from you and please can someone pass on JL’s management team’s details please. I would like to get in touch with them. Many thanks, Aanand

  • deadair says:

    I’d say count yourselves out. You should report it to kickstarter itself and cut your losses.

    Hopefully a refund happens. But I’d say there’s no music coming.

    Mo wax. Falls apart.

    Surrender all. Kaput.

    Return of mo wax. A couple releases and it’s done.

    Blah blah def or whatever. Won’t last long.

    Obviously his biz partners don’t last long…

    At least I got me a signed copy of the OG Do Androids….

  • WHW says:

    F*** this guy. I added the Kickstarter into the Psyence Fiction wikipedia page. No slander, just the straight forward facts. I will update it monthly, assuming he doesn’t have someone delete it.

  • David says:

    2019 Checking in, nothing yet

  • Xander says:

    Well, I take it most of us may have seen the news on Kickstarter. JL has thrown the towel in – I’m afraid, I’m done with the dude.
    I don’t even expect him to fulfil the vinyl/tee/tape bundle he’s offering as an apology to the £25-35 tier backers, I didn’t even want to take my refund because i actually want him to see this thing through to some extent – I’m afraid my understanding days where done a few years ago. I now expect to kiss that money goodbye as this is his exit plan.
    It’s left my relationship with Unkle totally tainted – I’m gonna be bundling up my collection and selling it on – including whatever comes out of this insincere gesture. I’m done.

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