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DJ Storm rose to fame in the 90’s alongside her best friend Kemistry, and has always been excited to play in new places, like Brazil, Capetown, Sardinia. Storm has a special love for female DJs, so it was a no brainer to interview this leading lady repping Metalheadz for our Ladies Of DNB features.
Thanks for taking the time out DJ Storm for DNB Muzik! Exactly how many years have you been DJing now and which decade is your favourite?
I started DJing professionally alongside Kemistry in 1992 , we had our first pirate radio slot at the end of 1991 but had our first gig in 1992. I don't think I really have a favourite decade but I have a special place in my heart for all the years Kemistry was here, we had such a perfect relationship in every way . I had to really pick myself up and put myself back together after her passing and even though I carried on DJing on my own it took everything I had to get back on the decks as a solo act . The first few months were the hardest as even though we shared one set of records we never played each other's tunes, you had Kemistry's selection then Storm's and we would switch every set we played. So playing her tunes was really odd for me and it's the same when I do Old Skool sets but as time has gone on I feel a really lovely sense of her when I play her tracks it makes me smile now.
It’s very admirable being a part of such a legendary label Metalheadz from the beginning. How has the music evolved since the 90’s?
Being part of Metalheadz in the beginning was hard work but because we had such a belief in it. It never seemed like hard work, it was an exciting time to make the label be heard and it all happened so quickly - you didn't really have time to think about it. We just knew what we were doing. I think through the 90's Metalheadz certainly set a precedent for forward thinking music and it encouraged others to go forward with labels and clubs. It was an exciting time for dnb and it makes me feel proud to be a small part of changing views as to how dnb was being perceived by the media at the time. There were all those non believer's saying this music would never last but all of us in it knew it would. Development through the 90's was fast and furious and many differing styles were developed, output was massive.
Jungle / Drum and bass originated from the UK. How proud does that make you feel and when DJing worldwide, can you explain to people who may not experience the love just how huge it is abroad?
Drum and Bass being a home grown music always makes me proud and travelling the world promoting this sound has been awesome like I stated before - I can communicate with crowds through my DJing so it becomes a universal language of music and each DJ that plays tells their story. Drum and Bass is now a global music and it has created careers all over the world either by being an artist or promoter which is a magical thing. One of my favourite things is to hear how all the people I interact with got into this music and how it affected them, like I was initially affected, and how it's made a difference to their lives.
2015, how’s the year been for you so far?
2015 has been a good year so far apart from the nasty Flu bug.
You’ve moved up out of London, do you want to tell us how Kettering is treating you?
Kettering has been treating me well I am definitely missing the convenience of London and the shopping have to say Kettering has not got that going on . However I am really appreciating the beauty of the countryside here so lovely to go walking with dnb in my headphones.
What’s your favourite part of your day?
Not sure really once I am up I pretty much like the whole day.
What does our music scene mean to you?
The Drum and Bass scene means everything to me I love it today as much as the first day I discovered it. Doing what I love, DJing, is the perfect job, it's a joy to play to people and tell your story through a universal language of music. I love all of it, travelling and meeting promotors and other DJ 's and MC's all over the world and chat about this music that we all have a shared love of. I always feel privileged to be doing what I am doing and I never forget that.
A few DJs / Producers are having a bit of a gripe about the segregation in the scene at the moment. Do you have any thoughts on this?
This scene has been around for a long time now and there will always be gripes about all kinds of different things but that just lets you know that we care about this scene and that we take a certain responsibility for it. As for segregation that has been going on for years and I never see it as a negative as long as it's a version of DnB I welcome it all it does not affect what I play. I stay true to Storm and always play what moves me. Yes I have come up against opinions that I may not be playing certain tunes or sounds but I never let that affect me. I do what I love.
You won best female DJ at the Drum & Bass awards but were pretty miffed about the lack of ratio of women on the line ups still. Jenna G also mentioned this. Rather than asking why, what do you think could be a solution moving forward?
I would love to see a ratio of more women on line ups but in a male dominated scene it's a tough scenario to overcome. As the years go on I see more females coming through and making things happen but sadly there will never be a level playing field. My only solution was to start Feline which really worked and I hope to re-start it when I can find the right location for it which has proved difficult due to many reasons. I think also the fact of an unfair women to male ratio makes the scene unattractive for women to get into, that's why I love every woman that works so hard to get involved in it because it is really hard work to get taken seriously, which is sad but true.
I’ve read two turntables and a mixer sooth your soul. Is it still turntables or are you on CDJs now?
I am on CD's for upfront DnB but I still play Old Skool on vinyl on the Technics which I am still having a love affair with.
What tunes never leave your bag?
Over the years there are a few tunes that never leave my bag. Deadline by Digital, Phantom Force by Digital and Spirit, Silver Blade. Unexplored Terrain and Acid Track by Dillinja, Champion Sound by Total Science. In the Waiting line remix by SPY and the last 2 years Broken Man by Goldie, even though it now has remix for Goldie's original is the one, it has haunted me, in a good way, from the moment I heard it.
I’ve read a lot of interviews asking you the same questions! The question “What's it like being a woman in such a male-dominated scene?” – does it ever get tiring answering that one?
I never get tired of being asked that question because unless you are a female in a male dominated scene you have no idea what that's like so I I think when it is asked there is a genuine curiosity.
Metalheadz at one point was the only organisation that was booking more than one woman on a line up. It’s starting to shift now, but can you elaborate on why this is important?
The fact that Metalheadz was the first organisation to have two female residents was for me a must and a great legacy for Kemistry , we didn't go looking for it it happened naturally. DJ Flight like ourselves was consumed by the music and when we first heard her we knew she had something special and we had a vehicle with Metalheadz to be able to to bring her to the table. The first time she played for Metaheadz she did not disappoint and so became part of the family.
What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me, I am always interested in the people I meet on the road and getting to know them. I am inspired by the places I get to visit and differing architectures I get to see and feeling the vibe of a place. Most inspiring for me is the music I get to hear I am so lucky.
What makes you mad?
The thing that makes me most mad are shoddy set up's when I get to the decks it does not happen that often but when it does prepare for Storm to turn into a hurricane lol!
You made a track called Signature, any plans to do any more producing?
Maybe one day I will produce never say never.
You love discovering new artists – what’s caught your ear this year?
New producers I am loving this year are Response , Jaybee , Wagz and LSB.
You have talked about music being more a business than a passion for some people. Can you elaborate on why it’s important to not always treat our music as a product or a business?
I think when I started out with Kemistry we were consumed with a passion to be part of this music no matter what. We didn't have a lot of money but we knew between us we had to get involved and we just had to come up with a plan. Even when Goldie started Metalheadz it was tough to get the label established and the scene as a whole did not have a lot of respect from the media, so we had to make it work first on an underground level and hope that one day respect would come for this UK based music. As a DJ you had to be individual with your style and we found we had something . We may have all had the same selection but it was what you chose from that selection and how you put it together that made you unique . It's some situations over that last few years where promoters have favoured producers that have a product - seeing that as more viable which seems to have made it more business orientated than passion led. Having said that, I think there are still many organisations that combine both but for me I can tell a DJ that plays from the heart rather than from the head.
You made a very profound statement “The bigger community in the world doesn’t understand drum and bass. We have always tried to stay as underground as we can. We are one of the scenes that are very true to their roots, even when it earns money we don’t tend to become too over ground. Maybe we like that.” – Can you explain what being true to your roots means, and what you think of it’s commercial success?
The scene after all these years has an overground and an underground but I think the beating heart of this scene and the open creativity that this scene affords will always be underground. The overground part is still important as it brings new ears to drum and bass and that is still to be applauded.
You are a huge inspiration to male and female DJs, what advice would you give to us all?
It is great to know I have inspired people, the only advice I can give is that if you believe you have something to offer this scene go for it, it may be tough to breakthrough at times but don't be disheartened keep pushing for your dream.
Last few – What do you like to do in your spare time to relax?
To relax I get my headphones on and listen new tunes whilst walking.
If I saw you out, what are you drinking from the bar?
I am not really a bar person and I am not a great drinker but I do enjoy a nice glass on wine normally red and I like the odd Vodka with bitter lemon which I discovered in Germany . If I am over excited after my set abroad I will have one drink of this after my set so I can get to sleep in the hotel.
Can you name some ladies we should look out for?
Look out for all the ladies out there if I had to name them all it would be a massive roll call as today we are many which is fantastic.
Thank you so much for your time!
Interview by Missrepresent for the Ladies Of DNB Series.