though the artists known throughout the world of drum 'n' bass are definitely each their own distinct force of nature with unique styles and perspectives on music, it would be impossible to discuss one without the other, as their entrance into and journey through the landscape of electronic music is what forever links these two amazing women. djs kemistry (kemi olusanya) and storm (jane) met during their college years in northamptonshire, england. eventually, storm moved to oxford and kemistry to sheffield, but their paths would continue to cross over the yearsat one time they both had boyfriends in the same band; later, kemistry attended fashion college with storm's cousinforeshawdowing a greater future for the pair. "i think it was fate, when we met," kemistry reflected.
while at oxford, storm studied radiography and, while she felt drawn towards a career treating cancer patients, she did not feel as passionately about it as she would, one day soon, about music. "i never really was the oxford type," she explains, "and i wasn't really doing something which was the oxford thing i did something medical rather than academic." meanwhile, kemistry was a make-up artists, who had moved to london to find work with fashion shows and magazines. "i didn't really have any kind of inkling that i would dj," she confessed, "music was always a real big interest of mine, though; i'd always bought loads of records and had a big collection by those days."
kemistry first became aware of the drum 'n' bass scene while living in sheffield. a fan of acid music, kemistry was exposed to the emerging electronic art form by a friend who had been participating in the london rave scene. "i went on boat parties and stuff, and got really into the music, and then moved down to london and listened to the [pirate radio stations] and went to a few clubs like shoom, and it just became part of my life," kemistry detailed, "and then jane moved down that year, as well, and i kind of told her about this mad music."
"to give up our careers and stuff was a big step, and it was a daunting step, but it was the right step," expains storm, "i don't know i think we both felt is was right and we were gonna do it because we loved it so much." the two began djing and met goldie, a co-worker of kemistry's who would go on to become their business partner in the independent record label metalheadz. "we started kind of going out with each other, and that's how we all kind of got together. we invited him along to rage and that was the very first time he went to something like that," explained kemistry. like she and storm, goldie quickly became infatuated with the heavy beats and driving engergy of drum 'n' base music. in 1994, goldie, who had by this time become a leading force in the movement, established metalheadz records, which kemistry and storm helped him to manage. in large part an homage to those who had brought him to and nurtured goldie in drum 'n' bass music, metalheadz became an incubator for drum 'n' bass talent, with kemistry and storm dead center in the eye of the huricane.
after seeing that the label got on its feet, kemistry and storm left in order to put the entirety of their energies towards their performing careers. "it was hard to leave, as we'd made it our life for two and a half years and felt we had played a part in something really quite special, but we became so busy that we could no longer do both," kemistry remarked. now fully concentrating, once again, on their djing, it wasn't long before the two were committed to cd as part of the dj kicks, series. released in 1999, dj kicks: kemistry & storm made history by being one of the first widely-distributed albums by a female dj. the two are slow to take credit for their accomplishments and quick to show respect for diva dj rap. "she went straight forward on her own and said 'fuck it! why shouldn't i do it on my own,'" says dj storm, "she really paved the way for people like us to come through and she deserves a hell of a lot of respect for that."
just as kemistry and storm give credit to those who have preceeded them, so, too, are they receiving credit from both critics and a public who recognize them as having established a personal style and pushing the envelope of electronic music as much as any man or woman who has come before. "i'd say we're different," concedes storm, "and i think, together, it makes us a brilliant partnership for djing because we have different strengths and weaknesses. so, together it'll work because what's so good about being such good friends is that you're always there for each other even in our work."
on 25 april 1999, kemi olusanya, dj kemistry, was killed in a car accident, just outside of winchester, england. she was returning from a performance with her partner, storm. the loss of such a rising star within the electronic music community was profoundly felt throughout the industry and across the globe. to those who knew her, she was a sometimes shy, but always caring friend who will truly be missed. to her fans, the void created by her loss is every bit as real. an exceptionally talented member of a group that suffers from far to little female reprsentation, one can take solace in the fact that dj kemistry has opened doors for women in music that will not easily be closed again and that, through her music, her influence and artistry will be felt throughout all eternity. for the contributions they have both made to one of the last enclaves of music still controlled by men, for their immense style and for proving that women need not climb over each other to reach the top, kemistry and storm are truly fierce divas.