Divine Elements Interview
Redefining Drum & Bass
Interview by Norman Mayers
In the cutthroat world of Los Angeles drum and bass, it can be extremely difficult to make a name for yourself. So how did Concise and Ru, founders of drum and bass live act Divine Elements make an impact in the nationís largest drum and bass market? For starters their involvement with the 818 and Grapevinez crews in LA has built them a solid network and position in the scene. But it wasnít until Divine Elements released a DVD and CD titled Defining Moment that they announced their arrival. There are literally hundreds of DJs, but how many live drum and bass acts can you name? Divine Elements hopes to bring something new to the drum and bass community by presenting an all encompassing mood, a vibe that transcends just one track or one sound but one that truly tells a story. Their music unfolds like the lost soundtrack to the Matrix, a futuristic opus that carries both emotional weight and dancefloor appeal. Centered in both the dark and the spiritual, Divine Elements hopes to open your ears to the cinematic quality of drum and bass, a fact that has been lost in favor of the next perfect beat. Urban-Breakbeat was able to get a word from this immense rising talent.
How did you two meet and how was Divine Elements formed?
We met through a mutual friend that was in the scene, and we started kickin it and djing together, and at the time Concise was knee deep in H20 Productions throwing underground parties. Ru came into the company as a dj on the roster and we were really feelin the same styles. Eventually, we wanted more from the music besides just playing other peoples tunes, so we started writing our own.
What is the significance of the name Divine Elements?
The name divine elements was used because Conciseís name is Devin and the name Ru stands for Ruthenium, which is an element that is combined with platinum to make it stronger and more wear-resistant. Put the two together and you got Divine Elements. The whole idea of elements was also formed from the fact that we donít just consider ourselves the only ones in the group. Divine Elements was formed to collaborate with other artists that bring significant contributions to the group ie: Kris Jung- our beat boxer, Omz- our scratch dj, Kief Life- our Hip Hip mc, and percussionists and vocalists are in the works. We all bring a divine element to the group.
What do you feel you bring to the drum and bass community?
We feel that our music brings a refreshing, significant style to the Drum and Bass community. It really is unlike all the other stuff out there, and itís done live on computers and synthesizers, which not many people do in drum and bass. It gives people more of an interactive performance than just watching a dj play records.
Who are some of your influences?
Thereís so many, itís hard to reference them all. A few would be Roni Size and Reprazent, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, The Violence crew in San Francisco, Thievery Corporation, underground Hip Hop in general, Ming and Fs are a huge one, and jazz, rock, and classical are all in there too.
What was the vibe you wanted to create with your album Defining Moment?
The vibe we wanted to create with the album was a mesh of different styles of music that not only drum and bass heads would enjoy, but something that would open the doors for people outside the scene as well. We wanted people to experience it like a movie. Something that had ups and downs, not just constant head-banging in your face drum and bass. Itís something you can listen to at the club or just driving down the Pacific Coast Highway on a nice day. The album changes up from hard- ass D&B to epic ďmovie soundtrackĒ styles, to chilled out tracks at the end. The album, in itself, is a defining moment in that the theme starts out hard to represent the struggles we all go through to reach our defining moment in life, then moves to epic, to describe the incredible feeling of that moment, then to a chill vibe, which is the release of all those struggles.
What was the concept behind the DVD?
The concept behind the DVD was basically to show people what we do. It showcases our act with tour footage, and also gives people a look at our personal side, with slideshows of us with our homies throughout the tour. We feel that the vibe of the DVD goes hand in hand with the vibe of the album, while showcasing the vision of it as well.
What do you try to achieve with your live show?
When we perform live, the goal is to not only play music, but to give the audience something to look at, and interact with. The act consists of different variations in the set. For instance, we bring our Beatboxer on stage and do renditions of classic rock mixed with hip hop and drum and bass. Itís unlike anything youíve ever seen.
What equipment are you using during your live performance?
The equipment we use consists of a Mac Powerbook, analog synthesizers, VST plugins, midi controllers, effects processors, turntables, and MCís and vocalists.
Is there a tour in support of the album and DVD release?
Yes, we are currently starting a follow up tour for the album and DVD called the Element of Surprise tour, which includes stops across the states and beyond.
What is in the future for Divine Elements?
Our goal is to eventually become a 5- 8 person live act that involves a culmination of vocalists, percussionists, strings, guitar, and a fully coordinated media and lighting display. We donít want to give away too much, because there wouldnít be any element of surprise.
For more on Divine Elements check out the following links: