Metalheadz DJ Storm is one of the few remaining purist DJs in the drum ‘n’ bass scene. Staunch in her belief that it’s best to choose a path and follow it to the exclusion of all others, when people go see her it’s because of her skills behind the decks, not in the studio. Ten years ago she, along with her sadly departed partner Kemistry and Goldie, founded Metalheadz sparking one of the most influential drum ‘n’ bass dynasties, and she’s about to bring the magic of that great label to Australia. ITM had the honour of asking her a couple of questions.
ITM: Because you’ve not done much production in the past, you’ve had to rely on your skills as a DJ for your success. Do you think there’s much different between people who are producer/DJs and straight up DJs?
STORM: Yes, of course there is. For a pure DJ as myself I see my skill of mixing as an art form. I spend time on the decks most days; it is not a chore for me it is what I live to do. I don’t produce so I don’t have any blinkers on as to what I play i.e. I don’t play all my own sound, I play everything I have less boundaries. I am here to give you the possibilities and DJ/Producers are there to promote mainly their productions so you get a slightly narrower view. I think all producers should not be DJs and likewise the other way round and now you hear producers being hounded into DJing when some of them don’t even want to, and that goes the other way round too.
ITM: How did you first meet Goldie? What was your initial impression of him?
STORM: I first met Goldie when he started going out with my best friend Kemi. My first impression was that he must be kinda special if Kemi was with him. He doesn’t see anything as impossible; every situation has an answer.
ITM: Why did you start the Metalheadz in the first place? Who was involved at the very beginning? Who came next and why?
STORM: Goldie, Kemi and myself had a dream: Goldie would become this amazing producer, Kemi and I would be the DJs and we would have a club, label and all the merchandising that goes with it. It was Goldie’s vehicle to create a label that was about the people that had turned him onto to drum ‘n’ bass i.e. Doc Scott, Peshay, Wax Doctor etc. The first release was decided on by Goldie and the silent partner Doc Scott. After Goldie got signed he had no time to run the label so he asked Kemi and myself if we could take it on.
ITM: What were those first couple of years at Metalheadz like? Was it scary?
STORM: They were some of the best moments of my life. It was so exciting and great fun. We had nothing so we ran it from a one bedroom flat. We all loved it and even though it was hard to get the word out there we believed so much in what we were doing and in the product we were holding in our hands, and we were right to believe, it was never scary we were all so fearless, it was exciting.
ITM: Through the life of the label, did you ever feel like it wasn’t going to work out?
STORM: Never, and whatever ups and downs it has been through in it’s history it has always stayed firm and that’s because it has a great leader who is prepared to put his neck on the line for what he believes in and people behind him who believe in his vision.
ITM: Why do you think it was so successful and influential?
STORM: Perfect product every time and all the above.
ITM: Do you think there is a particular Metalheadz sound?
STORM: Yes but it’s not describable in words you just have to hear.
ITM: Is there anything you think that unites all the artists involved with the label?
STORM: Respect and belief; we are a very big family.
ITM: What’s your involvement with the label these days? I understand you don’t take much of an active role in the running of the label anymore.
STORM: I have never exactly left Metalheadz, I am always there in the background and I give Headz great lip service. I see myself as PR for Metalheadz and I follow up on any opportunities, and govern things out there, I would say I have always been active.
ITM: Metalheadz seems to be going through something of a renaissance at the moment? What’s sparked this?
STORM: All labels have their peaks and troughs, but we are definitely back and very strong this because we are all working as a team again and our leader is firmly in place and loving it.
ITM: What set are you most proud of playing?
STORM: I am always proud of any set I do if I do a good job.
ITM: What projects are you working on at the moment?
STORM: Well obviously Metalheadz, and I have a few projects up me sleeve for next year. Watch this space.
ITM: You seem to put a lot of thought into your sets. Have you got any ideas for what you’re going to do in Melbourne?
STORM: Same as I always do; play a good drum ‘n’ bass set and make the crowd dance all night long.
ITM: Is it hard to maintain a passion for DJing after 10 years or so?
STORM: No never. I love it just as much as I ever did. If you lose that passion then you shouldn’t be out there earning money when your heart is not in it.
ITM: What artists are you really feeling at the moment and why?
STORM: All of them every one is making good tunes right now so it’s difficult to single anyone out. I have to say watch out for MDZ04, the new Metalheadz album, it’s pretty wicked.
ITM: What kind of sounds are you playing generally?
STORM: Drum and Bass. I don’t pigeon hole the music with all these stupid terms. I don’t play “Liquid” or “Clown Step” or whatever stupid name people want to call it. I am a Drum and Bass DJ and that’s what I play
ITM: What do you think the future holds for Metalheadz and drum ‘n’ bass generally?
STORM: A forward progression the same as always, and becoming even more Global. I mean drum ‘n’ bass will most probably be the only thing that can bring world peace.
Storm is accompanied by MC Rage this Saturday 2nd October at the Hi Fi Bar in Melbourne.