In the intricate and extended tapestry of drum’n’bass, few threads are as vibrant and vital as DJ Storm. Storm, born Jayne Conneely, boasts a legacy that stretches through the very heart of the genre, marked by her tenacity, innovation, and unwavering commitment to the craft. Of DJing. It is a craft that comes to Bucharest as DJ Storm headlines Odyssey Sessions at Control Club on Friday, September 8 2023.
Born into an era when the music industry was brimming with experimental sounds and styles, Storm’s origins trace back to Kettering, a south Midlands quarry town in the UK. There, she met Valerie “Kemi” Olusanya or Kemistry, and their shared passion for music would eventually lead them to lay the foundations for a seismic shift in an electronic music scene dominated by male counterparts. While their individual tastes varied – with Storm’s fondness for synth-pop and Prince contrasting with Kemistry’s penchant for northern sounds like Cabaret Voltaire and Nightmares on Wax – this diversity would characterize their unique DJing style.
Embarking on their musical odyssey in the late 80s, the duo made their mark through late-night sessions in Finsbury Park, north London. Storm had freshly graduated and often found herself on Kemistry’s floor. Iconic venues became their playground, from Rage at Heaven with Fabio and Grooverider to the vibrant scenes at Coventry and the warehouses around Charing Cross.
Their rise to fame is attributed to their distinctive DJ style and significant contributions to the drum’n’bass discography. Releases such as their collaborative mix for the DJ-Kicks series on Studio !K7 in 1999, which remains a foundational document for the genre, elevated their status as drum’n’bass moved from dark, smoky London clubs to international venues. Performances at legendary gigs such as the now-iconic Blue Note Sunday sessions, further solidified their place as forces to be reckoned with in the already competitive UK nightlife scene.
By the early ’90s, their reputation was exponentially growing. During this time, a fateful encounter with Goldie set them on a trajectory that would define drum’n’bass for years to come. Their collective vision led to the establishment of Metalheadz. This seminal label would become synonymous with drum’n’bass, nightlife, and electronic music culture at large. Alongside releasing Goldie’s classics like Timeless and Inner City Life, Storm and Kemistry curated a series of mixes showcasing the genre’s very best – the best example being ATM Mag’s History of Metalheadz cover mix. In addition to the music, Storm managed Metalheadz’s logistics with meticulous attention to detail and held residency at the label’s infamous Sunday Sessions at London’s Clockwork Club.
Beyond the Kemistry collaborations, DJ Storm has carved a unique niche as a solo artist with mixes that resonate deeply with fans across the globe. Tour stops have come at the likes of Dekmantel, Houghton Festival, Glastonbury, XOYO, and more, each of which draw from a vast palette of tracks that range from deep rollers to the fiercest amen breaks.But beyond the releases, affiliations, and events, Storm’s journey has also been punctuated by personal trials. The tragic loss of Kemistry in 1999 threatened to halt her trajectory. But the enduring spirit of their partnership and peer encouragement led Storm to eventually return to the stage, immortalizing their shared legacy with every track she played. Integral, in this era was the establishment of female drum/n/bass night Feline at London club, Herbal
On the topic of representation, DJ Storm has been vocal about its importance in music. As an advocate for female talent in a male-heavy industry, she’s contributed to platforms highlighting and supporting women in drum’n’bass. Through Red Bull Music Academy workshops, mentorship programs, and public speaking events, she shares her experiences and insights, championing the next wave of talent. This legacy can be heard in the swathes of DJs and producers who now pepper the global drum’n’bass landscape with names like Alley Cat, Decibella, Mantra, and MC Chickaboo.
Reflecting on DJ Storm’s storied career, it’s evident that while the drum’n’bass scene has morphed, splintered, and redefined itself multiple times, some elements remain immutable. And central to that consistency is the indomitably progressive spirit of DJ Storm, whose influence remains unyielding, like the pulsating beats she’s known for. Any listen to her recent sets, available across SoundCloud these beats blend classics with the contemporary, continuing to resonate with fans through her evident passion for the genre and craft.
Aside from her four-times-in-a-row Drum’n’Bass Award Best Female DJ wins, DJ Storm is not just a figurehead in drum’n’bass but a testament to resilience, innovation, and passion. Her narrative intertwines inherently with Kemistry and Metalheadz, but her individual accomplishments and relentless drive have cemented her position in the annals of electronic music history as the “First Lady of Drum’n’Bass”.