One of the best turntablists in Arizona, if not the entire southwest, announced today that he's hanging up his headphones for good and bidding farewell to the DJ world.
Logan Howard, known to many by his moniker DJ Element, dropped a bombshell on the local music scene within the last hour when he stated on Facebook that he's retiring from his lengthy career as a scratcher and selector as of today.
Howard's announcement, which was posted online just before noon, was short and to the point:
It's been a good 16 years, I've traveled the world, met a lot of great people, seen a lot of beautiful cities. But now it's time to call it quits. It's been a long journey. I hope i made everyone proud with what i've accomplished in that time. All my DJ homies hit me up, I'll be selling my entire record collection and selling ever piece of of equipment that i own.
And believe us, he's accomplished a lot. Over the course of the decade and a half that he's been working the wheels of steel, Howard was not only a longtime resident at the weekly Blunt Club, but was also found behind the decks working his turntable magic at countless local hip-hop events.
The 33-year-old Native American, who was born and raised on the Salt River Pima Reservation and started performing in 1997, has also has pulled air shifts on such hip-hop station as Power 98.3 and 92.7/101.1 The Beat and won slew of high-profile competitions and titles (including the Culture Shock DJ Battle in 1998 and 1999).
And then there are his appearances on cable networks like MTV and BET, as well as his world travels, where Howard jaunted around the globe opening for such blockbuster acts as Jane's Addiction or staging scratch sessions on three different continents.
Howard's success is due to his enormous skills at cutting and scratching, which was evident in both the dozens upon dozens of mixtapes he's released over the years (such as the Sol Shades Summer Mix from earlier in 2012) to numerous YouTube videos of him ruining records.
Despite his enormous talents, Howard was one of the shyest and most subdued cats in the Valley's hip-hop scene, which was detailed by former staff writer Jimmy Magahern in his 2005 cover story on the DJ.
"El's basically sick," says Valley hip-hop promoter Ty Carter, bestowing the ultimate compliment on the man he's come to rely on as a can't-miss opener for concert acts like Dilated Peoples and other hip-hop legends. "He represents the Babu and the Beat Junkie type guys. He just brings a lot of skills to the table. But man, is he a humble dude, you know?"
Howard was just as subdued and humble when we spoke to him via Facebook chat regarding his retirement. When asked for the reasons behind his quitting the DJ biz, Howard simply echoes his Facebook post.
"It's about that time," he states. "I've done a lot in 16 [years]."
While he declined to provide any more insight, Howard mentioned that he "just figured it was time for something new."
He also stated that this isn't a joke (despite a few of his friends and fans asking such in response to his Facebook post) and that he has no plans to DJ again anytime in the immediate future.
"Right now it's the last thing on my mind," Howard says.
When asked what the highlights of his career have been, Howard told Up on the Sun that playing in Japan in 2002 ("That was my first show overseas"), the tour with Jane's Addiction, and working as a DJ for the annual Rock The Bells Tour were his favorite moments.
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In addition to his plans to sell off his ample record collection and various gear, we asked Howard if he had any designs on teaching or passing on his wealth of knowledge via the renowned DJ program at Scottsdale Community College or during the turntablism workshops at Cypher: The Center for Urban Arts.
"I thought of doing classes but no one was interested," Howard says.