Original Headz

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Original Headz
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In January 2021 UNKLE announced a new newsletter would be coming soon alongside an "UNKLE ARKHIVE SALE"[1] The first issue arrived on January 29 2021 and makes mention of several releases for "later this month", which presumably means February. Following the main message there were several images with some text promoting various recent UNKLE releases.

Transcript - Vol 1, Issue 1 - January 29 2021

Welcome to Original Headz, the new monthly Studio:UNKLE newsletter, about all things UNKLE related, where you will be the first to get news, updates and exclusive access.

Whilst we've found ourselves in and out of lockdowns, I’ve had the opportunity to go through my archive in more detail. During this process I've found a selection of UNKLE and Mo'Wax related items, which are on sale from today. These are the last remaining stocks I have of these products, and you have first access.

Already hitting the ground running this year with new single Exodus / Revisited, the next 12 months looks to be a productive year. This month we are dropping new remixes: Leila Moss' Atoms At Me and Japanese Television's Falling Spikes, as well as a new UNKLE single to be announced shortly from the first Ronin mixtape.

We have also been working over the last six months with All Purpose Studio, developing a new UNKLE website, which I'm very excited about. This will launch soon and will be a constantly evolving space, featuring new work as well as building an online archive where all of my work will eventually exist in one place.

Living In My Headphones will return later this month, and we will also continue to release new and retrospective DJ mixes on Mixcloud.

Studio:UNKLE will continue to release regular limited edition apparel, merch, collaborations and charity drops. We are constantly trying to push the levels of quality, as well as looking into new recycling techniques to be as green as possible. Over the next year we will continue to re-release archive and unreleased material, including the Surrender-All catalogue, as well as new remixes from The Road, and a series of new UNKLE records, starting with two Ronin mixtapes. One of these is more club orientated, in collaboration with Steven Weston, while the second is more after-hours, and was produced in collaboration with Miink. I'm really excited and will keep you posted as the projects unfold.

Your continued interest and support is extremely appreciated as we try and chart a new course and adapt in this unique and challenging time, where music and art is threatened due to the unimaginable change in our landscape. We are extremely grateful for your help.

Thank you and take care, James and all at Studio:UNKLE


The Arkhive sale is now open. As Original Headz subscribers, you are the first to know. The sale features a range of T-Shirts, Hoodies, Toys, Prints, Brochures, and Music from the UNKLE archives.


UNKLE kick off the year with a brand new track, featuring long-time collaborator and Mercury Prize nominee, ESKA.

With a year of cancelled touring, James found his way back to his DJ roots. He compiled a series of mixes inspired by his That's How It Is night, run with Gilles Peterson at London's Bar Rumba. The tracks played there, as well as at the Dusted sessions at the Blue Note, serve as the inspiration for this unique take on a classic.

Collaborating with West London multi-instrumentalist Miink on production, James delivers a track with the classic Mo' Wax soul, given a contemporary twist.


For the latest set of remixes of UNKLE's The Road: Parts I & II, James has enlisted the help of Kentucky-born LA-based producer Amtrac. Having met due to a mutual love of each other's work, James reached out to Amtrac, who set about crafting two unique takes on album opener Farewell.


James: "Really pleased to be sharing with you a new DJ mix for the dope Keinemusik crew. I haven't done a club mix for a while so I focused more on that tip, with old and new cuts from disco to techno, as well as my new remix of Ar.Mour (out now). The Ar.Mour Ronin Dub, which I did with Steven Weston (whom many of you will know from UNKLE:LIVE) is taken from the forthcoming Ronin mixtape project (details to come soon)."


Ronin studio sessions (James Lavelle, Steven Weston, Alex Thomas, Jack Leonard)... The Road Not Taken - coming soon.

Transcript - Vol 1, Issue 2 - February 26 2021

Welcome to the second issue of Original Headz.

Tomorrow (Friday) sees the launch of the final chapter of the Arkhive Sale featuring a selection of Prints, Records and T-Shirts uncovered during the recent lockdowns. This is the last stock available of these items. As Original Headz subscribers, you once again have first access.

We realise that there were issues with the timings of our last sale for some of you, particularly those in the US. It can be difficult to manage sale times across the different time zones but we have taken on board your feedback. This sale will launch at the later time of 5pm UK time, exclusively to you - as subscribers, you are getting a 24 hours heads up of the on-sale time. Visit this link at 5pm UK tomorrow - you can use the links below to save a reminder to your calendar. The sale won't be advertised elsewhere until 8pm or later on Friday. We hope this works better for everyone.

We also understand there were some issues with Russian and Singaporean shipping being unavailable last time; our warehouse has advised that this is now resolved.

We appreciate your support and are grateful for the feedback.

It's been a great start to the year especially with the recent release of Do Yourself Some Good, the new single (taken from the forthcoming Rōnin I record) which has had some amazing support from radio, in particular BBC 6Music and club DJs. We will be sharing more information later this month on the release of the mixtape, which I finally mastered last week with the amazing Matt Colton. I am very excited to get this out into the world and share it with you.

I’m currently working on the finishing touches to the 2nd part of Rōnin with Miink, which is going great and will follow later this spring.

With the new announcements here in the UK of a more optimistic year ahead, the spring starting to brighten our days and the prospect of performing this summer things seem to be looking more positive.

I wish you all well.

Love and thanks, James and all at Studio:UNKLE


The Arkhive Sale Part 2 will go live tomorrow Friday at 5pm UK time. The sale features a range of T-Shirts, Prints, and Records from the UNKLE archives.

The sale will go live here, and you can use the following links to add a reminder to your calendar - plus we'll send you an email at 5pm.


UNKLE return with the uplifting new track, 'Do Yourself Some Good'. The single is taken from the forthcoming mixtape, 'Rōnin I' set for a March 26th release on Studio:UNKLE.

James was inspired by his early DJ roots, playing at clubs like 'That’s How It Is', (which he ran with Gilles Peterson) and Dusted (at the Blue Note), the Mo' Wax Period, and his love of breaks, samples, Super Disco Breaks and edits. Experimenting with these influences to create something new, the track is rooted in the classic Mo' Wax spirit and given a contemporary twist through the use of modern production techniques. The track was produced with long-time UNKLE collaborator Steven Weston.

The track has been supported by Mary Anne Hobbs, Lauren Laverne, Shaun Keaveny, Jason Bentley, Laurent Garnier, Ross Allen, Bill Brewster, DJ Harvey, Ashley Beedle, Don Letts, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Warren and more.


Atoms At Me - [UNKLE Reconstruction] is a brand new remix for long-time UNKLE collaborator Liela Moss. Having first worked with UNKLE during the War Stories sessions, as part of her band The Duke Spirit, Liela has featured as a vocalist on every UNKLE album since, and regularly performed as part of UNKLE:Live. This remix is the first to be taken from her forthcoming album Who The Power (Reformed).


Following the release of their III EP in September of last year, psych-rock band Japanese Television have enlisted UNKLE to remix their track Falling Spikes, taken from the forthcoming EP III Remixed.


Living in my Headphones returns to Soho Radio from March 17th for its monthly residency. Tune in here.

Transcript - Vol 1, Issue 1 - January 29 2021

Welcome to the third issue of Original Headz.

I'm pleased to announce that today sees the digital release of Rōnin I, the first of two forthcoming Rōnin mixtapes rooted in club culture. If you pre-ordered, check your inbox for your digital download code.

Rōnin was an idea that started in the first lockdown, where Steven Weston and I started doing some remixes for a new set we thought we would be playing later in the year. We had a busy schedule of touring planned, which was going to be based around a more dance-orientated show that had premiered at Fabric for their 20th-anniversary celebrations.

We assumed that summer shows would be postponed by a few months but as the lockdown continued and any hope of live shows disappeared, we decided to work on it as a mixtape series. This meant we could create an hour’s worth of new remixes for each mixtape and incorporate brand new tracks in the spirit of a new live show, but give it a proper release due to the circumstances.

The record is meant to be like a night out at a party or club from the beginning of the night to the end, or a new UNKLE:Sounds show. It’s the set I dream of playing out in a festival or club when we finally get to come together and dance again.

I’m currently in the studio finishing Rōnin II with Miink, which will follow later in the year.

New announcements about Rōnin merchandise will follow in April and new remixes are in the pipeline.

Wishing you all well.

Love and thanks, James and all at Studio:UNKLE


UNKLE's Rōnin I mixtape featuring the brand new singles 'If We Don't Make It' and 'Do Yourself Some Good', as well as seven brand new UNKLE remixes is out today digitally.

The album will be released in a variety of formats including a deluxe limited edition splatter vinyl in a tip-on sleeve, as well as clear and transparent orange vinyl editions.

The album will be released in a variety of formats including a deluxe limited edition splatter vinyl in a tip-on sleeve, as well as clear and transparent orange vinyl editions. There’s also a deluxe 2CD edition in a tip-on sleeve, as well as a standard cd edition, and two cassette editions. 20 hand signed and numbered test pressings of the album have already sold out. Every order includes an exclusive signed postcard. Available to pre-order here now.


Track listing for Rōnin I:

  1. 初登場
  2. Ar.Mour (Rōnin Dub) [Feat. Miink]
  3. The Other Side (Rōnin Def Mix) [Feat. Tom Smith]
  4. On My Knees (Rōnin Def Mix) [Feat. Michael Kiwanuka]
  5. If We Don’t Make It (Rōnin Throwdown)
  6. Do Yourself Some Good (Rōnin Throwdown)
  7. 初幕間
  8. Find An Outsider (Rōnin Reconstruction) [Feat. The Big Pink]
  9. Days and Nights / Reprise (Rōnin Re-Edit) [Feat. Dhani Harrison]
  10. Feel More / With Less (Rōnin Reconstruction) [Feat. Liela Moss]
  11. Catch Me When I Fall (Rōnin Vocal Mix) [Feat. Callum Finn]

On Wednesday, March 31st at 9pm GMT, UNKLE will join Tim Burgess for Tim's Twitter Listening Party, to discuss the album. Head to UNKLE's Twitter then to follow live.


Big thanks to Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC Radio 6 Music who has supported the Rōnin project from the beginning, and invited James to do a guest mix which airs today. Click to listen back here.


To celebrate the release of Rōnin I, UNKLE have made a free phone wallpaper. Simply save and upload to your device.


BAPE vs UNKLE. Return of the Original Headz. Released to commemorate the opening of the new BAPE London store. In collaboration 1995 to 2021. Available now at A BATHING APE® locations and BAPE.COM.


James returned to Soho Radio last week, after 6 months off, premiering new material, as well as the usual eclectic mix. Listen back over on the UNKLE Mixcloud.


External Links

Newsletter sign up page

Web version of Issue 1

Web version of Issue 2

Web version of Issue 3