They say behind every great man there’s a great woman. This rings particularly true for DJ Storm, though it’s more like two women.
Storm, real name Jayne Conneely, introduced Goldie to jungle in 1991 alongside her DJ partner Kemistry. The two will go down in history as some of drum ‘n’ bass’s most important figures; driving forces behind institutions like Metalheadz and the storied London sweatbox Blue Note. Following Kemistry’s tragic passing in a freak road accident in 1999, Storm continued to carry the torch for drum ’n’ bass. Now she’s enjoying a career resurgence as the weight of her influence dawns on a new generation. Here, Storm takes us through the ages with a selection of tracks that act like a full body blow.
A track that sparked my passion for dance music
It’s All Right by Sterling Void [DJ International, 1989]. I’d heard it being played by Fabio & Grooverider and I needed it. Meanwhile, my partner Kemi was buying the ones she’d heard. We’re in the record shop hunting them down – sometimes you had to go in and sing the tunes, it was really embarrassing! It was the start of my DJ buying career.
A track that reminds me of pirate radio
Me and Kemi started out playing jungle on pirate radio. Goldie – who was the MC on our show – had his first EP pressed up [Ajax Project, Whitelabel, 1992] and we gave it away as a competition. Somebody phoned up and answered a question and we sent it in the post. Goldie had enough money to press it up but not enough money to get a label. We got potatoes, got inkpads, and we pressed them up. They’re really famous now.
A Blue Note club anthem
Spacefunk by Digital [Timeless, 2001], which has just been remastered. It was the most shocking thing we’d heard in a while. All of us were hungry to play it on this dirty system in this basement in this dirty corner of Hoxton Square. The soundsystem in Blue Note was ridiculous, people would be carried out and we’d clap [for] them, y’know, ‘well done for lasting this long’. It did the whole thing, it pleased your mind body and soul down there. Spacefunk does all of that – and more.
A track that got me through a bad time
When Kemi passed away I harboured on a couple of tunes. One tune was Joga by Björk [One Little Indian, 1997], because I felt so much like I was in a “state of emergency”. That’s the thing I’ve learnt about grief, you want the world to stop, and it doesn’t. I could feel all this angst that Björk was feeling. It was so perfect for me to feel it in music because music is so important to me, it kind of healed me. I needed to feel the pain she was feeling with her voice. Even when I get tense now I have to draw it out, I need a Björk moment!
The label that reminds me of this new era
It’s interesting playing right now – where I’m usually the only drum ‘n’ bass DJ on the line-up. I’m a drum’n’bass purist, but people like Mumdance, who I played with on the Different Circles tour, he can really do that merging of styles. To a certain extent that’s an artform in itself. When I play at those events I can throw in leftfield tunes, because the crowd’s minds are open.