Welcome to the third chapter of True Element’s story. This chapter will be broken down in to two parts. Part A will document True Element’s transition to working with Rap/Hip Hop crew PZK and the formation of PZK and The True Element Collective which included a full live band. Part B will document how True Element reformed and progressed as a live band when both crews separated to pursue different musical interests.
To read chapters 1 and 2 please visit:
During the later part of 2001 True Element had progressed from being a DJ Kraze One led project to a collective led project which had resulted in the compilation and release of their fourth studio EP entitled “The road less travelled”. The album launch marked the end of True Element as a traditional Hip Hop crew and for a short period all True Element activity ceased as the members of the collective either perused solo projects or concentrated on opportunities outside of music.
Further development in True Element activity was as a result of a letter sent to DJ Kraze One in 2002 from Milton Keynes music festival promoters Music 4 U who were putting on their first festival and were looking for local bands to perform outside of the Rock music genera. After a meeting True Element agreed to liaise with the promoters for further talks. DJ Kraze One also introduced local rappers Justice & Taadow who were part of a Rap/Hip Hop crew the PlayaZKlub (PZK) as they were also interested in performing at the festival.
After submitting demos the promoters came back and advised that True Element could perform but as PZK‘s lyrical content was to explicit and this was a family orientated event PZK were unable to perform. As a compromise DJ Kraze One invited Justice and Taadow to feature as part of the True Element performance which initially caused some tension in the collective but after a few jam sessions the issues were resolved and the performance went ahead as a collective effort.
True Element & PZK – Music 4 U festival 2002 Central Milton Keynes.
Shortly after the performance Justice, Tadow and DJ Kraze One collaborated on a demo that also involved a third member of PZK, Nausee as well as DJ Maniphest who provided scratches. The demo emerged as a result of the PZK rappers wanting to expand on the music they had already created with the groups producer J* to include some sample based Hip Hop beats. By this point DJ Kraze One had numerous unused instrumentals that were left over from the True Element era described in the previous chapter. The recording entitled “Lyrikal Kombat” never made it past the demo stages but shortly after PZK started work on their second album “City of circles” and returned the favour by inviting True Element to feature and contribute to the recording.
PZK feat True Element “Graffia” City Of Circles 2003.
City of circles was released independently by PZK in 2003 and featured several Milton Keynes based rappers from different crews. The production was masterminded by producer J* who together with rapper Taadow coordinated the project. True Element members Kraze One, DJ Maniphest, Fa-Real and singer Laura Christy all featured on the album.
PZK feat True Element “Eye wander” City Of Circles 2003.
In July 2003 the Music 4 U promoters contacted True Element & PZK and invited them to perform at a second event Music 4U2. By this point the PZK “City of circles” album had been completed and producer J* had returned to work in the USA which he was doing every summer. Rapper Fa-Real made contact with drummer “Mark (Real Deal) Wheeler” and Bass player “Julian (Big Jules) Hafferjee” who expressed interested in forming a live band for the event. The remaining members of PZK and the core members of True Element which included guitar player Paul (Fresh Strings) Fawcett agreed to try performing with a band and in the space of a handful of rehearsals put together several live versions and amalgamations of materiel by both crews. The below live footage is taken from the Music 4U2 event:
PZK & The True Element Collective – Music 4U2 festival 2003.
After the Music 4U2 event members of The True Element Collective were pulling in different directions. With the exception of the later recording sessions documented in chapter 2 the movement continued for a period as PZK & The True Element Collective. During the remainder of 2003 several members of the collective contributed to live shows in Milton Keynes promoting the material recorded with PZK and where possible performing with the live band.
PZK & True Element – Bar Central 2003.
When PZK‘s producer J* returned from the USA the collaborative project established a short lived full line up that consisted of rappers Nausee, Justice, Fa-Real, Kraze One, Taadow, Musicians, Big Jules, Fresh Strings, J*, Real Deal and newcomer DJ Boothy (then referred to as DJ Luke). During this period DJ Kraze One produced two backing tracks using the Roland S7:50 sampler to record live bass and guitar sections played by Big Jules and Fresh Strings. These were the first attempts at recording a representation of the project with the live band. The first of these tracks “Natural selection” made it to demo form but due to a lack of collective will the recordings were never completed.
PZK & The True Element Collective “Natural selection (demo)”.
In March 2004 PZK & The True Element Collective were booked to perform live at an event called Xscapeology that was set up and run by some of the same people that organised the Music 4U events. This would be the first and only time PZK & The True Element Collective would perform with the full new line us described in the above paragraph. The below video contains some live footage of the event:
PZK & The True Element Collective – Xscapeology March 2004.
The payment from the live show was put towards a recording session which took place approximately 2 weeks after the event. As a result PZK & The True Element Collective recorded versions of 3 live tracks that had been part of the recent rehearsal/performance. Producer/keyboardist J*‘s cousin and film maker/photographer Midian put together the below video of a track entitled “Liveo” using footage taken from the studio session and the recent Xscapeology performance.
PZK & The True Element Collective “Liveo” music video by Midian.
In the short space between performing and recording pressures of commitment to a live band had already started to become an issue for some of the collective. Creating tracks with musicians involved more jamming/rehearsing and this commitment coupled with competing internal views on how the project should be represented eventually created unresolvable differences between certain members. Only 4 of the 5 rappers attended the studio session which dictated which tracks were selected for recording on the day. The second recording from the live session was entitled “Graffia” which like all of the PZK & The True Element Collective‘s live recordings were never officially released.
PZK & The True Element Collective “Graffia”.
PZK & The True Element Collective separated shortly after the recordings were created. Producer J* and rapper Taadow left to work on a third PZK studio album that would also featured Justice and DJ Boothy. True Element reformed around bass player Big Jules and guitarist Fresh Strings and for a short period included rappers Fa-Real, Kraze One and Justice. While True Element auditioned for a drummer to complete the new line up, they returned to the studio to progress the third of the recordings from the recent studio session with PZK. Rappers Fa-Real, Kraze One and Justice rerecorded their vocal parts and True Element spend some time mixing the track so it could be used as an example of the new direction that the project had taken.
PZK & The True Element Collective “The truth will out”.
The reworking of “Truth will out” in the summer of 2004 marked the end of PZK & The True Element Collective as a joint project. Both crews continued to contribute to the local music scene and remained supportive of each others projects. Several members of both crews would continue to work together moving forward as the differences were all musical opinions not personal problems.
This concludes part A of the third chapter documenting the True Element story. To read part B please visit: True Element (Chapter 3 Part B).
To keep up to date with Break to the beat news, projects and events please follow our social media pages.