Fundamental Elements
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Fundamental Elements

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Band Pop Soul


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Fundamental Elements"

"Fundamental Elements have a sound that's both familiar and fresh. I don't know of anyone else pushing the musical boundaries the way these guys do. This is music for people looking for the next big thing." - Matt Bronleewe, Producer (Natalie Imbruglia, Jars of Clay)

"Soul CD Gets Feet Tapping"

This band denies you the ability to sit still.

The Fundamental Elements' newest release, "Untied," is a foot-tapping, head-shaking and heart-thumping ride from the upbeat tempo at the beginning with "Summer of 2001," "Untied" and "Three or Four Miles" and ending with the mellowness of "NYC" and "You and I." The funky combination of R&B, rock, pop, soul, hip-hop and funk has you constantly moving to the beat and has been described as Jack Johnson meets the Black Eyed Peas.

The band's stage presence and ability to work the crowd is something you have to experience. They leave the audience begging for more, are more than willing to comply and will play as long as they're given, be it half an hour or two hours. During their recent World Domination Tour with Columbia, Mo., band The State, I had the incredible opportunity to see them live, not once, but twice in a row. During my second visit, I spent the entire amazing two-hour set rocking out a mere five feet from the speakers in a bar in Columbia. I might have had trouble carrying on a conversation for a few hours afterward, but it was worth it.

The CD starts off with one minute and 14 seconds of pure introduction. On most CDs, a track devoted just to introducing the band is redundant, and I'm still not entirely convinced it's necessary here. But on "Untied," it serves to get you ready for their self - described "100 percent original blue-eyed soul music."

The intro flows smoothly right into "Summer of 2001," which sets the theme for the overall collection - that of love and relationships. Don't worry, though: Their inspired writing and unique musical style prevent any sappy renditions of the same old tired themes. "Summer of 2001" is a prime example of that, as it describes jealous love from afar.

The CD's third and title track, "Untied," is written and sung by vocalist and trumpet player Russ Mohr and tells the sad story of a guy who unexpectedly falls in love with a girl across the room but can't make the first move and tell her. The commonality of the situation doesn't detract from its applicability and proves the Fundamental Elements' eloquent ability to write lyrics accurately and realistically, describing the perils and joys of those in search of a romantic relationship.

This band doesn't need advisory warnings and sexually explicit language to expertly croon about the complexity of relationships. The next five tracks beautifully showcase the band's ability with "Three or Four Miles," "Bad News," "No Good to Me," "Living out Loud" and "Miss Match."

"Bad News" is noteworthy in that it reverses a little bit with our protagonist turning down a prospective relationship because he doesn't share the same feelings as the girl who has fallen for him.

Another notable song is "Feel Alright." It speaks to me. No, they aren't literally speaking to me - the Fundamental Elements still are singing the lyrics (this is soul music, not country) - but at this point in my existence I connect on several levels with what this song presents. It acknowledges the difficulties inherent in our existence on this green earth but also the need to keep on chugging along and to share the load.

Not to deny the quality of writing throughout this CD, but "Brand New Guitar" is a song best heard live. The connection you feel with the band and your fellow screaming audience members can't be matched while everyone belts out this song. The upbeat tempo and singable lyrics only add to an already incredible live performance.

Following the buoyancy of "Brand New Guitar" and continuing in the CD's overall relationship theme is "Queen." The CD slows in tempo after "Interlude," which would make a decent at-bat song and flows right into the slower-paced and mellower "You Know" and "NYC." Don't get me wrong - the songs are further evidence of their remarkable writing and musical ability - but the slower beat sometimes has me reaching for the next-track button.

The Fundamental Elements increase the tempo just a little bit too close with the thought-provoking song "You and I" and continues the relationship theme by singing about dealing with problems, great and small, with someone else.

Now I'm sure you all are wondering how you can experience the wonder that is the Fundamental Elements. For tour dates, CD purchases and ample distraction from that next round of homework, I urge you to check out their new Web site, If you want to preview the music before you buy, you can do that too through the music player built into the site or through the various links to online radio stations.

All I know is the next time they make it back to Kirksville (or Columbia or St. Louis - I'm not picky), you'll probably find me five feet from the speakers singing along. Don't worry though - the speaker will drown out my tone-deaf renditions.

-Alan Reininger - Truman State University Index

"Crusaders of Soul"

Soul – an aptly named genre for its capacity to touch the essence of both performer and audience member. The musical term “soul” defines a brand of music that combines rhythm and blues with an influence derived from the gospel greats. Add a touch of funk and, as a listener, you’re forced up out of your seat, thus creating a circuitry between you and the performers. The connection formed by soul music exists on a deep level as the upbeat music also creates a state of social consciousness which transcends the lyrics and composition. Artists such as Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder felt not only a calling to compose their music, they also felt the responsibility to utilize their talents to assist in global change.

By now you must be wondering, where can I see this amazing form of music in St. Louis? The answer is simple – wherever the local group, Fundamental Elements, are performing. Fundamental Elements, St. Louis’ own blue-eyed soul band, tour extensively. However, they always return to the local stages that first saw them perform. Although the “FE” brand of blue-eyed soul is not predominantly characterized by a Motown or R&B sound, it does not take long to for the listener to pick up on heavy influences from artists like Sly Stone and Stevie Wonder. The soulful delivery of their music, combined with elements of rock, hip-hop and jazz, just as importantly resonates with the deeper spirit and message of soul music. And these guys would like to see more soulful, groove-heavy music making its mark on the St. Louis music scene.

“St. Louis is definitely our home base,” says Joe McGill, the band’s guitar player. However, Joe went on to inform me that there is not an established soul market in our city. There are many, many bands in town that play soul. As a music enthusiast, I’ve enjoyed several local singers belt out Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and many more soulful greats. Yet when it comes to composing, creating and producing new sounds that progress the music genre, original soul bands are scarce in the STL. In fact, when asked about St. Louis-based bands that share their musical style, vision and worldview, the band named only one other act; a solo performer named JR for whom they have great respect. Nevertheless, as a full band, Fundamental Elements remain the only prominent, original soul band in St. Louis. The members, Russ Mohr (lead vocals, trumpet), Luke DeJaynes (drums), Mark DeJaynes (bass), Joe McGill (guitar, background vocals), Dustin Burggraaf (keys, background vocals), felt this was at first, disheartening. “We worried it would be hard to pack venues here. People generally don’t go out in search of our kind of music,” Joe said. Yet most people who see this band become instant fans and the Fundamental Elements soon realized that packing venues in the Lou wasn’t quite as difficult as they thought.

Fundamental Elements formed in winter 2004 and the band has steadily grown in popularity as well as in their craft. Band members changed a couple times in the beginning, but the current line-up has been in place for a year and a half with the addition of Dustin, who joined in August of 2007. Different members have lived in other states, such as Iowa and Tennessee, at various times since the band’s existence. Three months ago, the last member made the move to St. Louis as Dustin and his family came to our city to live permanently – a sacrifice for the benefit of the band. “Writing music is a totally different experience now when we are all in the same room. Before we would all add our own parts with one of us being the main writer. Now we all create the music together and it has lent to a different and tighter musical experience,” Mark said.

Although St. Louis is “home-base” for Fundamental Elements, they are steadily growing loyal fan bases in numerous markets around the U.S. including Nashville and Knoxville, TN and Columbia, MO where they are seeing continual growth in concert bookings and album sales. “It can be easier in other places because a soul community exists,” said Mark. “There are thriving pockets of music enthusiasts who seek out bands like ours.” Other members agreed, however they also commented on the changes they are helping to bring about in our own scene.

“We are trying to start a movement here,” said Russ. “We have great relationships with several soul and funk bands from other cities and have begun to invite them to St. Louis to help raise awareness in our home town of our music, our genre and our scene.”

The scene of which Russ is speaking is a socially aware group of musicians for whom charitable actions and positive change are just as, if not more, important than their music. “For us,” added Dustin, “being in a soul band means being very conscious on a spiritual and social level. Soul artists of the past didn’t just sit back and watch human suffering. And neither do we.” Fundamental Elements work closely with Blood+Water Mission – an organization dedicated to providing clean water to villages in Africa. The band has also participated in multiple other benefit concerts and charitable efforts.

“As both musicians and people, we need to be aware and do what we can through our skills and our ability to help others,” said Luke.

“We want to lead the way and develop a community of like-minded artists dedicated to reestablishing a soul/funk/groove music scene in St. Louis,” Russ added.

Alongside creating awareness, a community and helping raise money for wells in Africa, Fundamental Elements take the business of their music extremely seriously.

“With the last album [The Cycle We’re Living In], we raised the bar on our professionalism,” said Mark.

“Working with the producers on this album helped us take the next step career-wise,” Luke said.

“They aided in our growth as a band,” Mark continued.

Russ spoke up to add, “Of everything this band has accomplished, we are most proud of this album.”

The band made efforts to be more intentional in their writing on the new project, crafting a healthy dose of songs that speak directly to their worldview on social and political issues, faith, and the human condition.

Stephen Leiweke, an up-and-coming Nashville talent, produced the record. Jorge Casas co-produced a track on the CD, adding the Fundamental Elements to his long list of produced artists. Those artists include Gloria Estefan, John Secada and Madonna.

Fundamental Elements have an impressive list of national artists they have performed with as well. They have opened for Rihanna, Matisyahu, Ozomatli, the Spin Doctors, John Popper (of Blues Traveler), The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Three 6 Mafia and many other renowned musicians. The Cycle We’re Living In is doing extremely well in the independent market and the band’s reputation is growing on a national level. Dedication to their music, their mission and their music has been proven to be the “fundamental elements” of their growing success. - STL Sound Magazine

"Fundamental Elements"

From their first strum, the Fundamental Elements trade in earthy mellowness that's associated with sunny island life (à la Jack Johnson). On many songs, the group members' drums and guitars are as plucky as the singing, and their sound is always deeply soulful without being utterly depressing. Infused with Midwestern sensibilities, their songs are free-flowing, often romantic and always masterful — tunes that could easily be the soundtrack to a rollicking barbecue with friends or a quiet night at home. - Riverfront Times

"The Cycle We're Living In"

“Anyone who has seen Fundamental Elements live knows what a good time their shows are. Their new album “The Cycle We’re Living In” really captures that unique energy and is full of hooks. If you haven’t heard them already, this is the record to get introduced to what this band is all about.” - Brad O’Donnell (VP of A&R, EMI CMG)


2010 EP - "This Moment"

2008 LP - "The Cycle We're Living In"

2005 LP - "Untied"

2004 LP - "Birth of a Brand New Me"



Fundamental Elements mix a fresh blend of soul and pop/rock, with catchy song writing and remarkable musicianship to create songs that are making people take notice. Their tight, high-energy live performances have them being praised as one of the most promising and talented bands to come out of St. Louis.

This Moment is the much-anticipated follow-up to the widely acclaimed The Cycle We're Living In LP. A culmination of hard work and a partnership with producer Stephen Leiweke, the new album represents a definite maturation of the band. More energetic sonically and thought-provoking lyrically, the new record is a bold statement of the band's interpretation of the world around them. Jorge Casas, a long-time bass player, producer, and arranger with Gloria Estefan and other renowned artists, makes an appearance co-producing three of the 6 tracks on the EP.

The incredibly tight rhythm section comprised of brothers Luke and Mark DeJaynes, together with the keyboards of Dustin Burggraaf, all make-up the foundation of Fundamental Elements. But it's the sweet, soulful voice of lead singer Russ Mohr, coupled with his tasteful trumpet lines, that truly communicates their soulful music.

Having maintained up to 125 gigs per year since the band's inception in 2004, Fundamental Elements keeps the roads burning up with gigs nationwide, playing clubs, colleges, events and festivals, including Cornerstone, Ichthus, Red Gorilla and Agape, which attract thousands of music lovers each year.

FE has shared the stage with many well-known artists, including Rihanna, Matisyahu, Ozomatli, Bob Schneider, Murphy Lee, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Three 6 Mafia, Slightly Stoopid, The John Popper Project, The Spin Doctors, tobyMac, Dave Barnes, and Matt Wertz.

In January, 2010 frontman Russ Mohr was invited by gospel music veteran Michael W. Smith to participate in a recording of his song, "Come Together Now," where he joined a long list of renown Nashville stars including Wynnona Judd, The Oak Ridge Boys, dcTalk, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Nicole C. Mullen, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Matt Maher, and American Idol stars Mandisa, Paul Stacey and Chris Sligh to raise funds for disaster relief in Haiti.

FE is an official artist for Mocha Club, an online community focused on funding relief and development projects in Africa in five project areas: Clean Water, Education, Child Mothers + Women At Risk, Orphan Care + Vulnerable Children, and HIV/AIDS + Healthcare. In December 2009 they were also featured on Mocha Club's A Very Mocha Christmas compilation album. FE has a continually growing team of fans joining their efforts with Mocha Club.

FE regularly participates in other charities and benefit events and have helped raise awareness and funds for many causes nationwide in areas of health/medicine, disaster relief, foreign missions, hunger/poverty, social justice/peace and education.