Quiet Riot

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Today, Element exhibits the same laissez-faire attitude toward his future. Fame and fortune may be in the cards, or not. "A lot of people say, 'Why don't you move to L.A.?'" he says, reflecting on the move that took his friend Zach Sciacca from nearby Granite Reef Road in Scottsdale, where the two used to trade records and turntable tricks, to big-time success in Hollywood as Z-Trip.

"But now, I get to go out and do big shows overseas and still come back here, where I've lived my whole life. It's cool."

Element is more jazzed about the future of DJing, which he sees as a limitless frontier. "There's a kid I met in Japan called DJ Kentaro, who won the DMC [Disco Music Championship] title in 2002, which is like the Super Bowl for DJs. And I watched him play with a traditional Japanese guitar player, scratching and beat-juggling with an instrument I had never heard in hip-hop. It was incredible."

Element cites crews like X-ecutioners, who've mashed-up with rockers Linkin Park, and DJ Qbert, who's taken scratching to an art form, as further inspiration.

"I see a lot of musicians working live with DJs right on the spot, cutting up with drummers and percussionists, and it just seems endless, the music to be made."

It's a music that doesn't need to sprout from L.A. or New York or anywhere other than the cotton fields bordering Element's backyard -- providing there's electricity, a couple of turntables and a crate of records nearby.

"As long as I can always find a few mom-and-pop record stores wherever I'm at," he adds, smiling, "I'm happy."

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Jimmy Magahern
Contact: Jimmy Magahern