Next came the first release from Dub Child, a garage producer with a strong predeliction for breakbeats and filthy bassline warblers. This was the one that really got me thinking that there was a future for breakbeat. It had none the cliched structures of mainstream breaks and was also way heavier than the breakbeat garage stuff that I'd never really taken too, although I still think that, in a different cultural climate, "Voodoo" could be a hit single. It's my idea of what a great dance-pop track should sound like in 2005, anyway. From here I started to explore the whole Hot Flush/Distance/Toasty vibe. Special mention for b-side "Roll Dat Shit" too, for being very unbreaky with more of those frigid, modulated synth emissions and clunky riddims. Absolutely horrible, innit...
The third release came from the mighty Toasty Boy. "Too Hot" and "Guesswork" were his most energetic breakbeat belters so far. Seemingly invoking the spirit of mid-90s Metalheadz-style drum 'n' bass with trace elements of classic Dillinja and J Majik vibes, with similarly luxurious production skillz but added ferocious bassline attack. Yummy!!
I soon discovered that the label was run by Quiet Storm(left), who is also a regular DJ on Rinse FM (Thursday 11.00-1.00pm), often back-to-back with DJ Distance, spinning all the latest breakstep tunes and cementing my love of this particular strand of underground innovation. These beats have an energy like nothing else I'm hearing right now, similar in some ways to the driving velocity of early hardcore rave, from a time before 'breakbeat science' or extreme tempos, but still with a post-garage flava all it's own. Eager to learn more, I tracked down Mr. Stormin' himself to find out what makes him tick...
Gutta: I gather you've been djing for about 4/5 years. What inspired you to get into it, and what are your earliest musical influences?
Quiet Storm: I used to play basketball on National and semi-pro level but I had too many shoulder injuries so I had to give it up. Cause I had so much time on my hands from giving basketball up I decided to start DJing as a hobbie. Earliest influences are probably from the Jungle tape packs I used to borrow of my mates at school.
G: I was guessing you were from a d'n'b background. When did you decide to start incorporating Garage beats - any defining tunes/events/people?
QS: I was too young to go to Hardcore/Jungle raves but Garage was about when I was hitting my teens so you could say that's my main background. The tune that really turned my head was 'Saved Soul' by DJ Narrows. When I first heard it I was like "this is the type of tune I wanna play!" - I used to go record shopping on the regular to Planet Phat get all the Harry Lime, Narrows, Pay As You Go stuff!
G: Tell us a bit about your label, Storming Productions. Any overall aims/philosophies behind it?
QS: Just wanted to put out good quality music really. The label was influenced big time by Texture. Oris (Jay) always used to put out BIG dancefloor tunes that you could drop anywhere, A & B side!
G: What's this big thing with 'Storms' then?
QS: The whole thing with the name was interesting to me. Everyone thought I just called it Storming Productions cause my DJ name is 'Quiet Storm' but that's not all true. Storming means 'to make your presence known'. That is how I wanted the label to be and that's how it is right now.
G: Your most recent release was Toasty's "Too Hot/Guesswork" (Storm 003). What can we expect next?
QS: Dubchild's "Take Me" and "Psychopath" is out on 13th July. As for future releases...well
let's just say I'm gonna be doing something very different and I think it will raise a few eyes - but it's definately BIG!
G: Any plans to get the Storming catalogue online for the downloaders (at Bleep, DJ Download etc)?
QS: I fucking hate MP3 downloads - they're a load of bollocks but the music scene(s) as a whole is getting forced to either be in or lose out. I don't get it why you gonna release a tune on vinyl and then stick it on the MP3 download site the same week? That just defeats the objective of putting vinyl out, right? I know it won't maybe effect sales now (cause they're so small) but it will in the near future. I know that for a fact because I've been speaking to a lot of d'n'b producers!
G: What, you think legal downloads could actually be harmful to artists/labels?
QS: You get certain people that don't really care about the music scene and just wanna hear a tune and don't give a damm who is making money or how much it will help producers/labels. To them its just a tune for 0.99p which they can share around to all their mates and people they don't really know for FREE!! - MADNESS ....right?
G: Has anyone approached you to get involved in legal downloads?
QS: I've been contacted by loads and loads of MP3 companies about it but it's not what I'm about as a label. I wanna keep Storming traditional.
G: I must admit I've come back to vinyl this year, but I can see that downloads could be crucial for winning support from the overseas market, where vinyl copies will be difficult or expensive to acquire. ..
QS: Don't get me wrong there is no denying MP3's are here already and may be a big part of the future scene(s) but you won't see my label doing it, not right now!
G: Your profile at Rinse says you also produce - any tracks we should know about?
QS: I started out doing a bit of producing but knocked it on the head to concentrate on the label and DJing. I'll be back on it in the summer though.
G: Your sets usually feature plenty of dubs from Dub Child. I gather you have exclusive access to his work. Could you tell me a bit about him and what we can expect from him in the future?
QS: I do get exclusives from Dub Child but other people do have and get his beats as well. Dub Child is from Leicester and I met him through Lombardo. We were both signed to Fragile Beats at the time so we got talking like that. Dub Child is one of Storming's main artists and you'll definately be seeing more releases from him this year and next!
G: You mention Fragile Beats there. I have one release on that label - Search & Destroy's "Freaky/Bandaru/Sphere" (FB002). Looking at the label, I can see there's shouts to "QS, Jay Da Flex, Plasticman, Dub Child & Mark One". What else was released on that label?
QS: Fresh & Steady - "Bitch Slap/Area 51/??" (FB001). You can still get this somewhere online or 5HQ in Leicester.
G: So your tunes never got released?
QS: Mine and Dub Child's never came out.
G: I presume Fragile Beats is no longer active...
QS: The label is on hold for a long while - if you get what I mean?!!
G: Concerning Dub Child's 'LFO remix'...the original "LFO" is one of my all-time favourite tracks from the early 90's bleepy techno period...
QS: Yeah, that tune is real big!
G: Are today's new producers generally inspired by older dance music styles?
QS: I know a lot of producers that are inspired by the old Jungle and D'n'B days, people like Search and Destroy, Dub Child, Vex'd, Oris Jay, Morph and Narrows. There is just a certain vibe and sound from that era which is powerful and I really like it!
G: Finally...grime/breaks/dubstep etc. How do you classify Storming music? Or don't you?
QS: Whatever you wanna call it. To me it's just good underground UK music which is made at 138-140bpm.
-------------I figured the time was right for people to have access to a decent-quality mix from the Quiet Storm, rather than just low-quality Rinse sets (essential though they are!). Luckily he does mixes on a regular basis and distributes them on CD to his friends and associates for promotional purposes and he's generously sent me a copy of the latest one, volume 3, and given me permission to share it online. Lots of exclusive new tunes here and also interesting to hear a couple of 4/4 stompers thrown in the mix, too. It's a fucking riot - play it load!!
Download Quiet Storm's "Storming Mix 003" (dead link)
(56mb, 192 kbps)
Magnetic Pulse - The Quiet Storm (dub)
Dub Child - Take Me (forthcoming on Storming)
Search & Destroy - Secret Weapon (Destructive)
Vex'd - Gunman (Planet Mu)
Mark One - Stargate '92 RMX (dub)
DJ Narrows - Hardcore (dub)
EJ - U.F.O. (A.R.M.Y.)
DJ Distance - Empire (Hot Flush)
Scandalous Unlimited - Dark Horse (Forthcoming on Destructive)
Darqwan - Raisin Kane (Passenger)
Dub Child - Method (dub)
Vex'd Vs. Search & Destroy - End Of Line (Destructive)
Dub Child - Strictly Underground (dub)
Toasty Boy - Too Hot (Storming)
Dubchild - Cum Dancing Rmx (Hospital ?)
Morph - Dreams 2005 (dub)
Morph & DJ Narrows - Pillars (dub)
Toasty Boy - Skinny (dub)
web address: http://www.stormingproductions.com
Storming catalogue available at Blackmarket