Dubai’s DJ Storm brings a metal tsunami to Dubai each week at the Blacklist events.
We have to get this right off the bat – you’re not the DJ Storm who plays drum ’n’ bass, are you? She doesn’t have a beard. No, but I’ve had this name for a long time. My music store back home in Syria was called Storm Music Centre. Because it was the only heavy metal store in the country, people started calling me Storm. My real name is Fawaz.
How did you move into DJing? I moved to Dubai and started working at Virgin in Mall of the Emirates, where I did some DJing. But obviously I wasn’t playing heavy metal there. I couldn’t – people would freak out. Anyway, I went to visit friends in Greece and a friend of mine asked me to DJ metal music there for three nights. Then when I came back to Dubai, I found Blacklist. They were playing hard rock and nu-metal and I ask Marie [organiser of Blacklist] why she wasn’t playing real metal, so she said if you have the experience why don’t you come and play here every week? And that’s how I started. So what is ‘real metal’? Real metal is extreme music for extreme people. I actually like all metal in general, from hard rock to heavy metal, thrash metal and death metal. There are actually many real metalheads in Dubai who just don’t have anywhere to go, so this is perfect for them.
What’s the atmosphere like at Blacklist? The mood in the bar is really friendly. Because you don’t see anyone in the street or in other bars wearing metal music shirts or with long hair, you forget there are other people who like this music. But in a metal bar you know that everyone around you likes the same music as you and so everybody likes to talk to each other. We see new faces every week, too, which is great.
How do you feel about people who portray metal fans as being angry or unfriendly? You don’t need to have long hair or tattoos, or be ugly to enjoy metal music. I like metal!
The music sounds pretty angry, though… I would ask anyone who says or thinks that to please go read the lyrics to metal music. They are not talking about anything bad. The music is extreme and heavy, but most of the songs are talking about history, about war, about love and the future and what’s going to happen to us. It’s interesting to mix these lyrics with extreme music. And sometimes metal songs are mixed with classical instruments, too. I don’t know why they think bad of this music – just because it’s heavy and loud? – But if you give it a try, you may like it.