Tag Archives: bass

Legendary Metalheadz co-founder DJ Storm headlines NYE at the Bongo for SSL XL

31 December 2019 -
We’re excited to be welcoming one of the founders of the legendary Metalheadz drum n bass label, DJ Storm, as she headlines SSL XL’s NYE event.  This recent feature by Becca Inglis for Dazed Digital back in January gives you the full back-story….
The story of Kemistry and Storm, the unsung pioneers of drum & bass.  20 years ago, the Metalheadz duo released their seminal DJ-Kicks mix – here, Goldie, B.Traits, Mumdance and more reflect on their legacy.

In our Under the Influence series, we trace the ideas of underground artists, designers, labels, and collectives, and the impact that they’ve had on pop culture as we know it, examining how the revolutionary aesthetics and attitudes of outsiders make their way into the mainstream – and importantly, how much that should be valued and not forgotten.

Kemistry and Storm hold an almost mythical status in the drum & bass scene. Their mid-90s sets captured their flair behind the decks, defined by an unparalleled track selection, long, carefully crafted mixes, and a potent chemistry between the two DJs that spurred the crowd on. “I knew they were bound for stardom,” says Goldie, who established the Metalheadz label with help from the two DJs and gifted them with their first set of turntables. “They would mix it, man. They were holding shit, arranging the drops, they would drop again into another double drop. They were underrated, and they were just so much darker.”

Kemistry (Valerie Olukemi A. Olusanya, or “Kemi”) and Storm (Jayne Conneely) both grew up in Kettering, a small town in the UK’s East Midlands, and would together help shape Metalheadz into one of drum & bass’s most notorious record labels. They inspired a new generation of DJs with their 1999 contribution to the DJ-Kicks series, a 17-track, one-hour mix that’s at times dark and dystopian, at others smooth and melodic. But their trajectory was tragically cut short when, just three months after DJ-Kicks came out, a freak car accident took Kemi’s life. “Kemi had always tried to find something where she could be who she was, and look like she was, and achieve something – and that was in DJing drum & bass,” says Conneely. “She’d found it and she was so content. She always said, ‘I just want to make a difference.’ And you know, that’s what we have on her plaque. ‘DJ Kemistry, she wanted to make a difference.’ And she did.”

Olusanya first introduced Conneely to rave culture in 1988, after Conneely, fresh from studying in Oxford, had qualified as a radiographer and moved to London to look for work. In need of a place to stay, Conneely took up Olusanya’s offer to split the rent on her bedroom in a Finsbury Park townhouse, where her friend proceeded to bombard her with the sounds of pirate radio stations. Conneely had so far missed the underground dance scene, but through Olusanya’s recommendations she discovered a love for the art of mixing. Together, they began practising on Olusanya’s Amstrad system, holding their thumbs over the belt drive to get their records in time. “We started getting really obsessed with raving and buying vinyl,” Conneely says. “We were kind of asking ourselves the question, how can we be with this music 24/7?”

Then Olusanya started dating Goldie, after he spotted her working in Red Or Dead on his cycle route to Camden. At the time, he was known as a graffiti artist, and had just returned home from painting and exhibiting in the US. While ravers were holding their second Summer of Love in the UK, he had been busy immersing himself in America’s burgeoning hip hop scene. Olusanya and Conneely took him to Fabio & Grooverider’s party Rage, credited as the incubator for early jungle music, at London nightclub Heaven, where he got his first taste for hardcore. “The tunes that these two were playing were the catalyst for Kemi and Storm,” Goldie says. “Kemi was the Fabio, Storm was more the Grooverider. I realised how passionate they were about these guys. I kind of related to that because of my passion for hip hop DJs.”

Goldie was quickly assimilated into this harder and faster genre of music, joining his friends every Thursday at Rage then piling back to their flat for afters. Olusanya and Conneely dragged their Binatone and Amstrad Midi-systems into one room, where they practiced mixing their huge bank of records. “That was my introduction,” says Goldie. “They introduced me to absolutely everybody that was making music in the way that I wanted to.” It was here, in the small hours, that he shared his dream for the trio: he would make the music, Kemistry and Storm would DJ, and they would all be united under one iconic drum & bass label. He paid for their first proper set of decks in 1991 off the back of his first EP, The Ajax Project, and set up Metalheadz in 1994. A year later, the Blue Note in Hoxton offered Metalheadz what would become the label’s legendary Sunday night residency, where they pushed a tougher sound to an increasingly international crowd. Goldie became busier when London Records signed him to produce his seminal album Timeless, and in 1995, he asked Kemistry and Storm to help manage the label.

“I think they were a big part of me getting on Metalheadz,” says Steve Carr, better known as Digital, who made his debut for the label in 1996 and has maintained a tight relationship with them since. “I wasn’t the obvious thing, and neither were they. I’d make one or two of the regular amen tracks, but then I’d make some quirky stuff. And they were into it, they championed me.” Kemistry and Storm helped foster a community of drum & bass devotees who were pushing the genre in new directions. They handled the promotion and A&R for classic tracks like Dillinja’s “The Angels Fell” and J Majik’s “Your Sound”, and hosted meetings where they offered advice to the label’s young producers, helping to steer the musical direction of a song or deciphering which DJs should be given the next release. “They always looked out for artists,” says Digital. “Not just in a music sense, but the people. That’s what made Metalheadz. They got that family vibe. They literally pulled people together.”

DJ Flight is best known in the drum & bass scene for her show The Next Chapter on BBC Radio 1xtra, but she hadn’t even considered DJing when she first encountered Kemistry and Storm. She was transfixed when she caught them at the SW1 Club in Victoria when she was just 17. “I was just staring at them, watching what they were doing,” Flight says. “One of the guys that I was out with came over and said, ‘That will be you in five years time.’” After that, Flight turned up to every gig she could, and with her heroes’ encouragement, created her first two mixtapes. Her big break came one night at Swerve, Fabio’s drum & bass night at The Velvet Rooms, when Kemistry and Storm asked her to make a tape they could give to Goldie. “They said, ‘We want to bring in a new girl into the camp and we think you’re ready,’” she says. But Kemi died shortly afterwards, and Flight only heard Goldie’s feedback months later when she bumped into him at a Metalheadz night in Camden. “He said, ‘Kemi and Jayne think you’re good. That means you’re good. Let’s give you a go,’” she says. By coincidence, Flight’s first set with Metalheadz was also one of Storm’s first gigs since the accident. At the end of the night, she gifted Flight with Kemistry’s decks.

“For women especially, to see somebody like you up there, it’s definitely inspirational,” says Alicia Bauer, aka Alley Cat, who started DJing in San Francisco and now manages her own label named Kokeshi. She met Olusanya and Conneely when she came to support one of their gigs in Germany, and later moved to London where she and Flight both became residents at Feline, a night promoting women in drum & bass that Conneely ran at Herbal in 2007. Alongside artists like Miss Pink, Mantra, and MC Chickaboo, they targeted the gender balance in lineups by filling both the upstairs and downstairs with women DJs and helped to create a space that prioritised women ravers in a male-dominated scene. “The great thing about it is that a lot of girls came out to our night, so it got skewed more toward the female audience,” says Alley Cat.

“Kemi had always tried to find something where she could be who she was, and look like she was, and achieve something – and that was in DJing drum & bass. She’d found it and she was so content” – DJ Storm

Kemistry and Storm’s contribution to drum & bass is crystallised in their DJ-Kicks compilation, which sits in a club culture hall of fame alongside entries into the series by Carl Craig, Four Tet, and Nina Kraviz. The series curators, the record label !K7, hunted for the duo for two years before they finally tracked them down in 1998, when a mutual acquaintance introduced them while walking the streets of Miami. “I thought they were very brave to back Kemi and myself,” says Conneely. “We were women in a male-dominated scene, even though we were doing well in our careers. It was nice to see that they had no bias and they just thought we were the best at what we do.”

Kemistry and Storm made a bold but fitting move for DJ-Kicks. Not only were they the first female duo to feature, theirs was also the first pure drum & bass and jungle entry on a predominantly house, techno, and downtempo-oriented series. “It was a Metalheadz vibe,” says Conneely. The pair seized the opportunity to showcase their favourite producers of that time. Their friendship with Goldie bestowed them a one-off version of “Hyaena”; a dubplate of DJ Die’s “Clear Skyz” illustrated the Bristol sound; and John B., J Majik, and Dillinja were some of the producers championed at Metalheadz. “It’s a good representation of that time,” says Digital, whose track “Mission Accomplished”, a collaboration with Spirit, appeared on the mix. “They covered a lot of the scene. It’s a good album to look to for a bit of proper history for the drum & bass scene and the different artists involved.”

“I’ve never rinsed a CD so hard in my entire life,” says B. Traits, the Canadian DJ who joined Shy FX’s Digital Soundboy label in 2007 and went on to host her own weekly slot on BBC Radio 1. She had just bought her first set of turntables when she listened to Kemistry and Storm’s compilation. “It wasn’t all the big tracks of that year. Every single track was excellent, and it was blended perfectly. Their skills as DJs cut through on that mix, as selectors and as master mixers. To actually see two female DJs that were successful was a game changer for me, especially when I could literally count on one hand the amount that I knew. And they were united. It was like, you can be a part of this crew and you don’t have to be a dude. You can be a part a movement.”

Kemistry and Storm styled themselves as one singular DJ, each retaining their own distinct style while sharing a box of vinyl between them – Storm was known for her deep, growling tunes, while Kemistry favoured more off-kilter sounds. Ordinarily they split their sets down the middle and they took turns to start or finish, but the DJ-Kicks album led them to create a more integrated mix. “We wanted as many artists that we cared about as possible to be on this album, so we had to break it down differently,” says Conneely. “I think that was a real true idea of how Kemistry and Storm work together.

But that union was abruptly severed just a few days after they returned from touring DJ-Kicks around America. On the drive back from a Southampton gig, a rogue cat’s eye, a reflective device used to mark out the centre of UK roads, came loose and flew through the windscreen. Olusanya was killed instantly. “We were very yin and yang, me and Kemi,” says Conneely. “We balanced each other out. So for me to lose half of myself… it was just so shocking.” When Storm returned to play a night run by V Recordings, she continued to split the set between Olusanya’s records and her own. “It was overwhelming at first,” she says, “but actually, it was the best thing I ever did, because it was the place I still felt Kemi. I’ve changed my style over the years to be more ‘Kemistry and Storm’ rather than just ‘Storm’. We were both brave, but I think Kemi was braver first to play that slightly more obscure tune.”

Conneely’s influence has now spread beyond drum & bass with the help of Mumdance, who saw Storm play with Kemistry when he snuck into Brighton’s Essential Music Festival at 13 years old. He’d never heard a DJ mix tracks live before, or experienced a sound system so loud. “That was probably the first dancefloor epiphany that I ever had. It was the first time I’d been physically hit in the face by sound,” Mumdance says. “The Metalheadz aesthetic, and that dark, dystopian dread that Storm specialises in, is probably the prime influence not only on what I do, but on what Pinch does, on what Logos does, and countless other producers.” Mumdance finally met Conneely at a Boiler Room showcase he hosted in 2014, where he invited some of the artists who’d most impacted his style over the years to perform. “She said it was quite pivotal to the next wave of her career,” he says. “A lot of kids who had never heard of her saw her come on deck and smash it. Now she’s been discovered by a whole new crowd.”

In today’s club culture, Storm gets to spread her dark and wild sound to multigenre events like Dimensions and Unsound festivals, and Mumdance’s label Different Circles’ nights. It’s an apt throwback to the genre’s origins, when Fabio and Grooverider were first mixing rave techno with breakbeat, watched by two fledgling DJs who were trying to emulate them at home. “We were like little sponges at the time,” Conneely says. “Fabio taught me how to tell a story, Grooverider taught me how to select. When Randall came along, he put the mixing into perspective. That is what we wanted to achieve, and I think we did. People started saying, ‘We love your style, it’s kind of the rough with the smooth.’ I think Kemistry and Storm took a little bit of everybody and made it into our own.”

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The Livity Sound crew take over the Bongo for Headset’s 5th Birthday Party, Friday 20th Dec

16 December 2019 -

We’re mighty excited to be welcoming (amost) the entire Livity Sound crew, from Bristol, for Headset’s 5th Birthday Party this Friday night.  Should be more than a wee bit special, not least as our festive 5am licence kicks in as well!

PeverelistHodgeBakongo (Roska), Anina and Danielle will join resident/promoter Skillis. TICKETS // FACEBOOK

The Skinny’s clubs scribe, Nadia Younes, did this interview (copied below) with label boss Peverelist in which he talks about the label, the Bristol scene and his involvement in it.

Peverelist on Livity Sound and Bristol techno

This month we take our label series outside of Scotland and look to Bristol’s Livity Sound ahead of the label’s showcase at The Bongo Club for Headset’s fifth birthday party

Edinburgh club night Headset has long been a champion of the Bristol electronic music scene, with previous guests including Peach Discs’ co-founder Gramrcy, Idle Hands’ boss Chris Farrell and DJ/producer Hodge (pic. above). It feels fitting, then, that for the party’s fifth birthday they would celebrate Bristol’s burgeoning scene with a showcase of one of its pivotal labels.

Livity Sound was launched by Tom Ford, aka Peverelist, in 2011 and over the last eight years has been responsible for releasing music by some of Bristol’s most exciting artists. In its early days, many of the label’s releases came from Ford himself, as well as Joe Cowton, aka Kowton, and Craig Stennett, aka Asusu – both of whom played crucial roles in the label’s formation. “I’d been working at a record shop called Rooted Records for ten years, where I founded a label called Punch Drunk which focused on documenting the music around the Bristol dubstep scene,” says Ford.

“Unfortunately the record shop was forced to close and I decided it was time to do something more focused on my personal interests,” he continues. “I’d been working on music with Joe [Cowton] a bit at the time and he encouraged me to start the label. In those early years I worked closely with Joe and also Craig [Stennett] to create the aesthetic of the label.”

Since then, the label has maintained a focus on releasing music by Bristol-based artists, but its growing success has also seen it attract interest from further afield, with releases from Simo Cell, Toma Kami and Laurel Halo. “I’ve always worked closely with Bristol artists and given support to other Bristol labels when they’ve asked,” says Ford. “It’s a cool city for music, although I’m not quite as involved now as when I was working at the record shop; that really acted as a hub for the scene – I miss it.”

Having previously performed at Headset himself, Ford will be making a return to the night as part of the label’s showcase alongside other returning guests Hodge and Roska, in his Bakongo guise. “Hodge is a label regular and my promotion partner for when we run our parties in Bristol – awesome DJ and producer to boot,” says Ford. “Bakongo has just had a release on the label and is a bit of a legend in my eyes for a decade of killer underground releases under his Roska alias.”

Fast-rising DJ and illustrator Danielle Doobay will also be making a return to Headset, having played three times before. Doobay is one of the co-runners of Mix Nights – a DJ workshop series for women launched with the help of Shanti Celeste and local organisation Bristol Women in Music – with Daisy Moon and Em Williams. Meanwhile, Anina (pic below) will make her Headset debut and is proving to be one to watch through her slot on independent Bristol radio station Noods Radio and releases on labels like Tape Echo.

“Danielle is a good friend of the label and a regular at our parties – amazing DJ who’s been really busy this year playing some of the best parties in the world,” says Ford. “Anina  is one of Bristol’s most in-demand DJs – always plays a belter. A lot of people will know her from her blinding set at this year’s Freerotation festival.”

If Bristol isn’t a city currently on your musical radar, then Livity Sound’s showcase is sure to prove exactly why it should be.

Headset’s 5th Birthday: Livity Sound Takeover, The Bongo Club, Edinburgh, 20 Dec

 

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Bristol heavyweights Pev & Kowton bring bass and UK techno vibes to the Bongo, Fri 10th Mar

09 March 2017 -

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The set from Bristol’s Pev & Kowton is an eagerly anticipated one this weekend.  The duo is perhaps best known for their Raw Code b/w Junked 12″ on the Hessle Audio label from 2013 – two forward-looking slices of audio, aimed squarely at the dance floor.

However, they are also responsible for a slew of fine releases via their own Livity Sound imprint, their main focus over the last few years, where abstract rhythms coalesce with deep bass frequencies for a sound that’s authentically British and excitingly fresh.

Simply described, in their own words: ‘Record Label. UK Techno. Sound System Frequencies. Body Music.’  Livity Sound is uncompromising but not inaccessible, with real substance to the music – hidden depths for mind, body and soul.

Resident Advisor did a good interview a few years ago, which reveals something of the duo’s working methodology in the studio.  See here.  This twelve minute live jam recorded for RA in late 2013, with third Livity Sound wheel, Asusu is also fun.

But they’re actually playing  a DJ set this Friday.   No doubt the tremendous new Jinx / Scanners 12″ release on the label, from Forest Drive West, will get an outing.  Scanners is no less of a gem on this 12 but isn’t up on YouTube yet.  Check out its subliminal vibes in full on Bandcamp.

Either way, we can’t wait to hear what they’ve got in store for us!

MORE INFO

TICKETS

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Ben UFO opens the Bongo’s 20th Birthday festivities at Substance this Friday!

27 September 2016 -
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Copyright Anne Kokalj
From The Courier (Dundee):

The legendary Bongo Club in Edinburgh marks its 20th birthday with a month of celebrations. The party starts on Friday night with a set from one of the world’s best DJs, Ben UFO. Gayle Ritchie finds out more…

Twenty years is a huge milestone for any club to reach these days.

So get on your dancing shoes because the Edinburgh institution that is the Bongo Club is alive and kicking and marking two decades of its commitment to diverse, alternative acts, music and DJs with a month of celebrations.

Despite being forced to move location twice, the club is now firmly rooted on the city’s Cowgate and is as popular as ever.

For those into underground techno parties, Substance – billed as one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass music – is hosting a night to remember this Friday (September 30), with Ben Thomson, aka Ben UFO, on the decks.

As co-founder of Hessle Audio, Ben confounds expectations with his seamless dancefloor heavy sets that encompass everything from hard techno to Afrobeat, house and electro.

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Substance and Ben UFO -get your dancing shoes on! © The Gentleman Amateur

Over the past five years, Ben has built a reputation as one of contemporary dance music’s most daring and wide-ranging selectors, with his keen ear and razor-sharp abilities enabling him to cut between eras, lineages and mixing styles with dazzling ease and fluidity.

Having cut his teeth in early dubstep and drum and bass, his roots lie in UK rave culture – yet his selections cast the net wider, drawing new mutations of this culture into the orbit of house, techno and other global dancefloor sounds.

In clubs, his sets manage to be simultaneously considered and raucous, sliding from sidewinding broken rhythms into an irresistible four-to-the-floor groove, or broadsiding you with unexpected tangents, old favourites and bizarre secret weapons.

Ben has come far since broadcasting internet radio from two turntables on his mate’s bedroom floor. As well as holding down a residency at London’s club fairyland, Fabric, he stays busy touring Europe’s festival circuit, while continuing his now-eminent radio show with Hessle Audio on Rinse FM.

Substance’s Adam Richardson is more than just a bit excited about the night.

“Ben is obviously much in demand and we’re delighted to have got him on board to play what is a relatively intimate venue,” he said.

“His eclecticism is fitting for the occasion, the Bongo being a broad church both musically and in the diversity of its crowd. Add to that the biggest and highest spec sound system we have ever worked with, brought in especially for the evening, and you have a pretty unmissable party.”

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Ben UFO – a master of contemporary dance music (Photo: Steve Dykes).

With support from residents Gavin Richardson and Velocity Funk, Friday night is the first of a big run of four parties for Substance up to the end of the year, which includes their 10th birthday on October 28.

Substance has been serving up some of the most thunderous innovators to the capital for ten years so you’re guaranteed a good night out.

The rest of the Bongo Club anniversary month sees everything from grime and UK bass, theatre, funk, spoken word, jazz, hip hop, reggae and rock. Check out www.thebongoclub.co.uk

Tickets for Substance: Ben UFO are available here and here.

Article reproduced from The Courier (Dundee).

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Bass music innovator Zomby headlines for Electrikal this Friday 25th March

24 March 2016 -

Zomby

Bass music innovator Zomby headlines for Electrikal this Friday 25th March and we’re super-excited to be welcoming him to the Bongo.

Zomby – a beast perhaps as mythical as Burial in UK bass lore, but with the ability to take the essential characteristics of numerous genres and fold them into a neat origami-like masterpiece. After his ode to carefree hardcore anthems with ‘Where Were You In ‘92?’ and digital dub classics like ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Spliff Dub’, he’s now graced us with both the the funky-ass ‘Let’s Jam!!!’ series and a stone cold eskibeat with Wiley (just to tick every damn box).

There’s a good interview with him from 2013 on Pitchfork and this much older one (from 2009) on FACT is also quite revealing.

This mix for Dazed is a good reflection of what he might be expected to play for the club.

And this more recent mix for Benji B on Radio 1 shows a more introspective side.

Tickets and more info here

 

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Bristol techno DJ Hodge makes his Edinburgh debut for Headset at The Bongo Club, Fri 19th February

17 February 2016 -

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Bristol techno DJ Hodge makes his Edinburgh debut for Headset this Friday 19th February and to say we’re looking forward to it is a bit of an understatement!

First emerging via his house and UK garage-flavoured debut EP, The Fall (Immerse Records), in 2011, Hodge has stormed the ranks of UK techno, since 2013, via exciting releases for respected labels such as Punch Drunk, Tempa, Livity Sound and Hemlock Recordings plus up-and-coming imprints Hotline and Berceuse Heroique, culminating in high profile artists such as Leftfield and bookings across Europe last year.  You could he’s officially broken cover now.

With roots in Bristol’s fertile drum ‘n’  bass, garage and dubstep scenes, his bass-heavy sound has an identifiable UK flavour which gives him the edge over many of his peers.

More info / tickets

Also, Resident Advisor did this excellent interview with him last year.

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