Interview with ELMNT – From Gorillaz to Kanye + Single Release

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One act of courage was the spark that led ELMNT to gain insight and experience in the music business and launch his own career in music.

ELMNT (pronounced element) burned the boats when he bought a one-way ticket to London, vowing not to return until some magic happened.

He soon found himself working with music’s top talents, not only learning the ropes of producing a record, but discovering that dreaming big is just as easy as dreaming small.  

He soaked in every moment, and worked on some successful projects, but that success did not fulfill him.  His proximity to fame gave him an edge.  “It was too easy, compared to my friends who had to struggle.”

Regardless of the success, he was on a journey to find his own voice and carve his own path.

“Start with art, finish with art” is the lesson he returned with, from his experiences abroad.  

ELMNT always starts with the raw artistic elements, like a Periodic Table mad scientist, and combines the right ingredients into the beaker of a song.  He flicks on the Bunsen burner, and the end result is refined art in its purest form.

The same process he learned, producing for the Gorillaz, he uses for a variety of musical genres for the bands he works with. 

[Listen to the Rock Star Today Podcast for the full story of Gorillaz]

Photo: Riley Paul Mclean | Design: Rosalie Pampena

When ELMNT is not helping others shine on his label Free 99 or judging for the Juno Awards, he is producing his own music, such as a newly released track Sideways.

The song was mastered by Tatsuya Sato of Kanye’s College Dropout and Jay-Z’s In My Lifetime fame.

When Tatsuya seeks you out on social media, after mastering your songs to give you props…that validation is priceless.  

ELMNT was born in former Yugoslavia, grew up in Serbia and immigrated to Canada in the summer of ’93.  

He grew up in a music loving family, his dad being a musician.  

“I’ve always had this eclectic taste in music because it was brought to my house.”

He was immersed in Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin as well as Serbian traditional music and Yu Rock.  

The local scene birthed much talent that shaped ELMNT’s youth, such as Goran Bregović who was well recognized on the Jazz scene with his band Bijelo Dugme.

That early 70s rock was the building blocks of ELMNT’s style, where warmer and richer tones took shape.  That is where “rock started having a soul to it.”  It was gritty, yet soulful.   

He was part of a crew called 4 Elements with his god brother, eventually landing on his own, and dropping 2 vowels.  

When ELMNT found himself in Toronto ON, bands like Nirvana, Silverchair, and Wallflowers soaked in, while he skateboarded or played basketball.  

Soon, Tupac, Biggie and Eminem would open up yet another musical universe that would introduce him to Common, J Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.     

Sideways borrows from that childhood impression by adding string arrangements from Scott Chancey of the Montreal Conservatory of Music.

“I felt I needed to portray more, artistically.  I wanted to create the beauty of a symphony.”  

ELMNT and his co-producers Resort 46 (Burton White & Nidal Eradi) experimented with different instruments, choosing not to sample on this track, playing drums, keys, bass and guitar.

The song evolved from the live sessions, complete with some background noise.  “It needed to have a stack of choir-like voices and this hopefulness that came from the string section.”  

Created pre-COVID, ELMNT chose to release it now because “it felt like a response to 2020.”  

I’m looking at the world sideways.
This sh!#$ weird like a side pocket misplaced.

The origin story of that last line being Seraphim, ever the fashion pioneer, who wore a shirt where the breast pocket was on the side of his rib cage.  

“It was this lighthearted comedic response to what I felt was already an alarm system tripping, societal speaking.”

We’re gonna end up in the Trump cages,
Next minute we’re gonna fill it like it’s contagious

“I just knew I had to release the record after that, you know.  It felt eerie in a good way.  It felt like, creatively, I had tapped into some form of message.”

The benefit of looking at the world sideways is having an antidote to the news, which is relayed to the public without altering the agenda behind its messenger. 

“As an independent that has the time to regurgitate the news, I can form an opinion about it.  It’s important.  What I prize most is that as humans, we are all slightly unique.  Each attribute that we have brings a collective understanding of the world around us.  I feel a necessity to speak, especially now through my art, where I can find a way to keep it lighthearted and relevant.”

Convincing people of his point of view is the not the goal, rather, he aims to bring up better questions, which will push society further. 

As humans, we have always had individual trauma, but it seems we were forced into a collective trauma on a worldwide scale starting in March 2010.     

Looking at the world sideways involves changing one’s perspective of this traumatic event and seeing the good hidden within it.  For ELMNT and many others, values have shifted. 

“I care more about relationships than I do about prized possessions.” 

ELMNT will not let an inbox message go un-replied.  “I would never want to be ignored myself or feel voiceless.”

He also sees that there is an axis point between the greed that has perverted society and the need to care for others.  

“We are all inter-connected and affected by each other’s decisions.”

For ELMNT, this applied to humans, as well as nature. 

In the end, his focus is with his art, his label Free99 and his production to raise up those around him.       

“If I can help you, I will” is the motto L lives by. 

We can help.  Why not send a little love his way by downloading the track and sharing:  Sideways

Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their days jobs with out of the box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives.

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