Sign up for our weekly newsletter
TRCH The Da Vinci Code

Interview: The Elementz

1 June 06 interview: Jared Wilson

"One Christmas in a hall way in Bilborough, Little Zoutr played a Christmas carol on his brand new £5 Bontempi organ."

The Elementz are one of the hottest hiphop production crews in Nottingham. Having worked with the likes of Scorzayzee, Karizma and Skinnyman on their first EP, they took it upon themselves to make a further step up for the successor. In came the likes of Taskforce, DJ Skully, Mr 45, Rukus, Blitz, MB and Shifty Spirit. The men known individually as Zoutr and Liati are local samurais of sound. They have a plan for Elementz Universe that stretches way beyond what most hiphop heads in this city would even think about. We think they might just make it happen.

Tell us about Elementz Universe Volume 2.
Liati: It’s definitely a progression for us. We’ve done a lot of live recording and moved away from samples on a lot of it. We came with a variety of styles to let people see our range a little bit, and hopefully give the audience some vibes for all moods and occasions! We got pretty much the whole Hiphop rosta at 1Xtra rinsing the EP and they’re all playing different joints. P and Skitz are rinsing Big Tune We Bus’ Feat Karizma cause its got that big and bashy sound, Twin B gave On My Case Feat Taskforce Record of the week with Nisha and Dev heating it up in the daytime. Blakey’s playing Crazy and Mista Jam’s reppin Notts with Warriors Feat Shifty Spirit along with Ras Kwame, so were definitely achieving what we set out to do in terms of exposing the range.
Zoutr: We know we took a while finally getting it out. It’s taken us a year but we’re building the label and studio and if we rushed it we would never have linked the VIP’s that featured on this EP. If volume 3 is going to be bigger and better than volume 2 then we have our work cut out.

Are you releasing your records yourselves these days?
Zoutr: Yes the Elementz Universe series is on our own EU Entertainment imprint. We’ve got some guest tracks coming out on other labels and some remixes later this year. Watch out.
Liati: We got EU Entertainment and The Elementz running much tighter now, We’ve learned a lot more about the industry through the production of Vol.2 and I’m vibing off the fact that shits moving now. Hearing our music all over the radio tells us we’re doing something right. It takes more than just a hot product, you really have to sell that hard to reach mans on road, DJ’s, industry and the media combined. I don’t understand artists and so-called labels that sit on their product once it’s released, that’s not going to elevate our scene here in the UK. We know that our record needs to move so we’ll make that happen no matter what. You get out what you put in, so whenever I feel bait I remember my goals, like when your on the road sometimes shotting CD’s and your just not into it because its raining and you were up all night in studio with no sleep, you have to focus on why your there and go do it. I know bear mans that wouldn’t commit like that. I feel good about self releasing because I’m in control, I can see exactly what’s happening so I can learn more from it. I don’t mind the work it involves, it gives you discipline. So when someone comes to us with a decent deal, or we find the right representation, I wont be that artist that hasn’t got a clue where his money and dealings are. I’ll be the one asking questions, all up in the spreadsheets and diaries making sure I’m being dealt with in way that will build on what we created from all these years doing it ourselves.

Where did you start out in music?
Zoutr: One Christmas in a hall way in Bilborough, Little Zoutr played a Christmas carol on his brand new £5 Bontempi organ.
Liati: That’s gangster.

What’s your favourite of your own tracks?
Zoutr: Either the one that I deleted or the one on that disk that I sat on. Possibly the best tracks ever..
Liati: You move on, they feel different once they finished and new joints get produced. I love the feeling you get when you haven’t played one for a while and you hear it in a club or something, I’m like…”you know what Zoutz, we smacked that joint up innit bro!” My favorite Elementz production is the one we’re making each time were in studio and we’re connecting. That’s when you bear your soul in music. When you go in your zone and find something that sparks your fire then your ghost writing from there its natural. That’s a beautiful thing.

What’s your favourite track of all time?
Zoutr: Smashing Pumpkins' Landslide.
Liati: Anything by David Hasslehoff. A bad boy who ain’t afraid to rock leather trousers in front of thousands of screaming Germans. You know it makes sense.

What are your favourite cities and venues to play? Do you get out of Notts much?
Zoutr: We spend too much time producing smashers to do loads of gigs. It would be great to get more shows done but we need a manager really. We need a fat hairy biker who would bully people into paying us proper.
Liati: Right now I’m sharpening my DJ skills back up, I want to get back out there, we need to be getting more exposure in the clubs and showing mans what time it is with people like Karizma hosting proceedings. Plus we’re planning a stage show at the minute where me and Zoutz clash each other live with our MPC’S loaded with brand new Elementz material. You know its gonna get crazy!

If you could get anyone in to work with you, who would you choose?
Zoutr:Scorzayzee on the raps, Thom Yorke on the hooks, Scorsese on the videos and a world tour with the Pussycat Dolls. 
I Check this one out: The Meters on Keys and Lead, Jill Scott on the hooks, Roots Manuva , Mos Def and Talib Kwali on the verses and Jimmy Douglass engineering. That’s a joint right there. Theres a lot of people id love to reason with and jam with in the studio as well, people like Quincy Jones, Paul C (RIP) Jaydilla (RIP) Jimmy Douglass, Timbaland, The Neptunes and Jazzy Jeff.

Who are the best upcoming artists we should check out?
Zoutr: Keep an eye out for Zone2, Professor Green, 3Mindz, Trend, DJ Klassik, ULC, Hanzo Steel and My Last Confession.
Liati: Ill Mana, Shifty Spirit, Wariko, TB, L Man, Big Cakes, C Ray Waltz, Broke n English, Ewan Huzami’s Radio show on Itch FM, Supanova. This is just the beginning…

What can people expect from your show with us at the Orange Tree?
Zoutr: We’re going to bring the Bluetooth server down and give out free ringtones and wallpapers! Also you could buy Elementz Universe Volume 2 for cheaper than anywhere else. You heard it here first...
Liati: You know we represent Notts and LeftLion to the fullest, so you know we’ll come through and shake the venue. You can expect us to reach with Special Guest Rappers and may even drop an exclusive or two. Yo Zoutz, you think they ready for the “Live Fast” Remix Feat. Lowkey, Shameless and TB?
Zoutr: That’s gonna get dropped like an orange from a tree.

What do you listen to on the stereo at home?
Zoutr: Right now I’m listening to Blood money, the new Mobb Deep album. I think I’ve heard 50’ say Guh guh guh “G unit” about eighty times now. Not what I expected but some big beats still.
Liati: I’m under some vibes right now. Just got the Sickamore Mixtapes back from like two years ago, Snoop’s Welcome to the Chuch Vol. 1 and 2 are getting rinsed again. Mr Me Too, Clipse, Ghostfaces Fishscale LP, L Mans new stuff, Gangsters by Wiley, Jill Scotts first album, a healthy chunk of Neptunes, Sa Ra’s various funky funk, Dungeon Familys Trans DF Express, Taskforce Various Music from the Corner’s, Sways LP and of course J Dilla’s still on rinse, especially Champion Sound. RIP to a genius producer, blessings most high. Also, Dwele, Rahsaan Patterson and various funk from the goldmine.

Describe your average day...
Zoutr: House of Pain on my alarm clock and girly tunes in my girls car on the way to work. Then some fresh beats and label manouvres until bed time. We’ve been flat out this year with remixes, running the label and setting up the new studio. It’s all good!
Liati: I peel open my eyelids at 7.30am with whatever beat is going round in my head going round in my head, which I then start humming. Clear my head, then give thanks for the day, fix up and attack the diary: promo, production, stressing distribution and the indie stores to make sure were selling units, eat something. I link Zoutz (like when something major happens in Starfleet and that big red robot links together out of little robots and starts shiftin mans up, that’s how we do it!).

Tell us about your studio
Zoutr: Setting up our new premises is a big priority. The new studio will be called The Elementz Universe so we just getting ready to move in, setting the business side up and what not. We’ll soon be able to provide a cost effective service for artists to come there and record, get produced and engineered, and even put together their mixtapes, and demo packages. It will be a relaxed environment focused on making good music and helping artists achieve their potential. We’ll also be running workshops in the future for kids from the ends to come and express themselves in a positive way off the streets.

What was the last album that you bought?
Zoutr: The last CD was Taskforce- Music from the corner 4 and the last Vinyl was Ghostface Killah - Fishscale. Both classics.
Liati: I’ve been lucky enough to get some good music sent through recently so I’ve not bought much. The last one was Sway’s album I think. Oh and Mary J’s album for my girl.

What was the last book you read?
Zoutr: “Nothing in this book is true, but It’s exactly how things are” by Bob frissell. Some things are hard not to believe.
Liati: Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. It’s a beautiful awaking to a horrible reality that we all could face in this world. Very powerful and not as depressing as I probably just made it sound. It’s about staying true and faithful to the beliefs you develop and not allowing the powers that be to dictate your future, even when it seems inevitable. It’s written as a diary and the style is addictive and too suspenseful to describe. I felt the main character as though she was my sister in this. Complacency Kills!

What was the last thing that made you laugh?
Zoutr: I went to a new comedy night ran by Divine Interventions last month. They had some fresh new stand up acts but the local guy James Billington killed it. Don’t sit in the front row readers.
Liati: Overdubbing Starfleet with our own Elementz narration with a 40oz in hand.

What is coming up for you over the next year?
Zoutr: The Elementz will remix for food this year.
Liati: The Elementz will be stationed within our new command centre The Elementz Universe Studio where we’ll endeavor to feed UK music more than ever before this year. Watch for forthcoming tracks produced Chester P, Rukus, Lowkey, Shameless and TB. The Karizma EP called I am Karizma, the first Elementz grime project, The KarmaZoutr project and the MPC Soundclash stage show. Then its all in the stars what happens next.

Anything else you want to say to LeftLion readers?
Thank you for your support. Stay big, go cop the new EP Elementz Universe Vol.2 Feat Taskforce, Karizma, Rukus, Blitz, Shifty Spirit, MB, DJ Skully and Mr 45. Onelove.

We have a favour to ask…

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion now