You probably haven't seen Element at many local club gigs recently, and there's a good reason. The 30something hip-hop DJ, a former resident of the iconic Blunt Club night, has been hitting up cities around the globe over the past several months, dropping his god-like turntable tricks and scratch wizardry in joint in such far-flung locations as Israel and the UK.
We were recently able to catch up with Element, known to his mama and papa as Logan Howard, and learn about his latest travels, which former Prince prodigy he met up with, the new summertime soul mix he dropped yesterday, and whether or not he'll ever return to the Blunt Club.
Name: Logan Howard
AKA: DJ Element
Preferred Genres: Hip-hop, funk, soul, reggae, dancehall, neo-soul, '80s, dubstep, moombahton.
One of the things you're known for is dropping numerous mixes. What's your latest? The "Sol Shades Summer Mix," a downtempo mix of neo-soul music.
How does you go about choosing the songs? When it comes to soul music. I'm all about the mood, as well as the arrangement. I like for the songs to complement each other in the mix. Making sure they flow together. So on my end, I got to choose very wisely.
Is the end of August a little late to do a summer mix? Not if you live in Phoenix. Our summers last until October.
What's your favorite summer song of all time? "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince or "Summertime" by The Dove Shack.
How many mixes would you estimate you've made in your DJ career? I lost count. Since I'm in radio it's hard to tell because I record shows constantly.
When are you on the air? Mainly, Saturday, 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. on 101.1 The Beat. The show is called "Rhyme & Reason Radio." The show consists of our hosts Mattlocks and Roknowledge, DJ Fact135, DJ Les735, DJ Psycho Pat, and myself. We mainly play current underground and classic hip-hop. One of the hosts, Mattlocks, and myself found that we were big fans of soul music and decided to do a podcast called Sol Shades. we been doing the show for over a year now.
Do you think that more local DJs should be on the radio? Yes, because Arizona has some of the most underrated DJs in the world. They need to be heard. Were always taking submissions for Rhyme & Reason if anyone out there wants to give it a shot.
Where have your travels taken you lately? Been doing a ton of out-of-state gigs. I've been to Israel, Japan, South America, UK, Mexico, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, in the past couple of months.
Any cool stories from the road you'd like to share? I met Sheila E. at SFO airport. I've always been a big fan of her work. I just walked up and introduced myself. She was very nice and down to earth person. Speaking of the purple one (Prince), I got a project I'll be releasing later this year with his old backup band Grupo Fantasma.
So how much crate-digging have you done in the cities you've visited? Oh man, a grip. I've come up on a lot of great songs, but in DJ Element fashion, I ain't giving out any titles.
Are there any countries you haven't visited but would love to hit up? I would really like to visit Cuba, New Zealand, Africa, and Puerto Rico.
Any desire to be the first DJ to ever perform at McMurdo Station in Antarctica? I hear penguins are really into funk and soul classics. Hah, I actually would do a gig like that.
What's your favorite track of the moment? I'm feeling the new Nas album Life is Good. The song "Nasty" is my is my fave.
Have you stepped away from weekly club gigs? If I do guest spots on Thursday, my boy DJ M2 has me at his night Groove Candy at The Roxy in Scottsdale. I love that place.
Will you ever return to The Blunt Club? No comment.
Erp. That sucks. Is there any drama afoot? No comment. I'll just leave it at that.
Are there any other local gigs you have coming up? Yeah. The Boom Boom Room at Hidden House [tonight]. That's a monthly I started with my cousins (K.Supreme, Emgee, Iron Giant, and Reflekshin). We've been doing [it] since 2007.
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Are they native as well? Yeah were all from Salt River Indian Reservation.
The Boom Boom Room with DJ Element, K.Supreme, Iron Giant, DJ Whoa, and Reflekshin takes place at 9 p.m. tonight at Hidden House. Admission is $5 after 11 p.m.