Josh Wink - The Profound Individual

Josh Wink is one of the veteran artists of electronic music, if we just look at his musical background. DJ, label manager and above all that electronic music producer, Josh Wink distinguished himself through the subtlety of entering the listeners' minds. He managed to make the ones who listened to house music understand what techno is and techno purists listen to house.

We managed to have a chat with Josh Wink before his gig in Studio Martin, a club in Bucharest. A little sleepy, the American DJ (more exactly, native of Philadelphia) was very co-operant and funny, short-haired (maybe this sounds weird, but yes!) and dressed casual. He brought with him just a case full of CDs which he updates as often as possible; a pair of very small headphones (actually some very small headphones) and a copy of his latest material Profound Sound volume 3, of which we will talk later.

I think it's a very big responsibility to run a record label. It happens very often that the money that came from releases is not enough to keep the label alive. Not to talk about you as an artist. Personally I know many artists who have invested their many in record labels and weren't successful at all
Inspiration and Creativity

Inspiration? Yes, although at first sight it seems like a subject very common for most artists, journalists, economy people, inspiration is still an essential condition when you want to create something; no matter what it is. Josh Wink believes in inspiration; he confessed that without thinking too much about it. For him, the inspiration comes when he expects the least, in simple moments of boredom or when he has a very busy schedule. "Being inspired is a very important thing, maybe the most important when you want to produce music. I always look for inspiration in anything." Maybe not everybody knows that Josh has a Chinese neighbor who plays the piano. "It's enough to hear my neighbor playing so lovely the piano, and only then I can say that I have a powerful source of inspiration.", says Josh. When he's at home, he listens to a lot of non-dance music to discover new melodic lines and new musical elements. Also, he considers that his music has to inspire others, that is himself to become a source of inspiration. How does a usual Josh Wink's working day look like? "When I meet my girlfriend in the evening and she asks me "How was your day?" it happens very often to answer her back "Hmm....It was productive but I wasn't productive. I mean, if I just sit and read and answer e-mails, search and listen to new music, without any studio work at all, I can't say that it was a productive day. I'm much more satisfied when I produce music, even if I'm aware that I've lost a whole day, at least I've made something concrete... You know how office work is. It happens sometimes to receive 40 e-mails a day and if you don't send at least a sentence back, everybody will say that you don't answer e-mails because you too important and stuff like that." About his work, Josh talks only with his girlfriend; when he's with friends he prefers enjoying his free time. So, he can't talk in general about the efforts the producers make when creating, he can only talk about himself. The most common and often thinks said about his music are related to the unique sound and to his calm personality. The first is that his music is a source of inspiration for others, and the second is how he can make such music without doing drugs or drinking.

An American journalist said that Wink's music makes the techno lovers listen to house and vice versa, the ones listening to house starting to enjoy techno. So, his tracks can be found in DJ's play lists like Derek Carter, but also Erick Morillo.

The egg called Ovum Recordings

Ovum Recordings is a label created in October 1994 by Josh Wink and his studio partner King Britt. The general idea for selecting the artists to release materials at this label is obviously good music. If the music is good, it will be released no matter where it comes from or who created it. Of course everything is filtered, but in the end all that counts is that the music sounds good from Josh's perspective. This is what happened with Flight LB 7475 / El Gallo Negro, the latest EP released at this label, produced by Loco Dice. About this EP, Josh says that it was a pleasure working with Loco Dice, from whom he expects other materials too. Since we are talking about discography, we can say that among the future artists to release at this label will be the duo Smith & Selway, composed by Christian Smith and John Selway. Also, at Ovum we will meet in the future Spooky and new stuff from Josh himself. And still, where does the label name come from? "The idea of the label came when one of my friend's wife had a birth. And of course, I was very influenced by this birth, and I think that's how I chose the name. At first it is nothing, then it starts to grow, becomes an embryo and finally a baby. That's how the label was at first." In other words, evolution. And evolution can only come when you improve your activity, which is what Josh Wink did. Now, Ovum is one of the most respected international record labels. It works with artists when they release a material. It's not everything about licensing music, but also organizing release parties, promotion, etc, Ovum parties.

Speaking about record labels and music, we asked Josh about Profound Sound volume 3. It's a double CD mix which the artist is very fond of, and after being released only in America at the end of April, Ministry of Sound insisted in buying the license for the compilation and released it in Europe too. And that's what really happened. More exactly Profound Sound volume 3 is the same thing as MOS Sessions - Josh Wink. Josh is the one who insisted upon the artwork, that the background should be green, even though the Ministry of Sound logo and layout are the same. How was the experience of working with a mainstream brand? "I don't think this is about mainstream or underground. Practically if we are to talk about underground, we can see that in the last few years it's meaning has changed. Let's take for example the Fabric brand, the record label but also the club in London. In these moments, Fabric is a sort of Mc Donald's. Anyone can release a compilation there. Yes, it's really cool what the guys from Fabric are doing, but we can't talk about underground or mainstream. So Fabric can be considered as similar to Ministry of Sound. The club has also changed, the public as well. It's easy now to play in Fabric, especially if they released a compilation at this label." About the track lists, Josh has a very original opinion. "I would like that people saw a mix more than just a bunch of tracks, mixed perfectly together. It happens to hear 'how cool a track is on a mix'. When actually it is about the whole mix, and not just passing form one track to another. Track lists are more informative, like a formality of a label."

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Josh Wink - The Profound Individual

October 24, 2006 at 12:03 PM CEST


Beat Factor

How much a responsibility is maintaining a record label? It is the same as ten years ago. Even if the music changes all the time, you have to stay in touch with all the new releases. "I think it's a very big responsibility to run a record label. It happens very often that the money that came from releases is not enough to keep the label alive. Not to talk about you as an artist. Personally I know many artists who have invested their many in record labels and weren't successful at all. Another important aspect when having a record label are parties. And of course a good management helps a lot." So, it's all about investment, work and a big dose of risk.

Techniques, philosophy and look

Josh Wink is one of the first artists to try and utilize the Final Scratch, along with Richie Hawtin and John Aquaviva (artists involved in the online magazine Beatport). At first sight extremely useful and interesting, Final Scratch has became a trend. Any DJ has a Mac and a FS. Josh hasn't used FS and is not going to try any new technology too soon. At least this is that he confessed to us. "I haven't used Final Scratch for 3 years. And I don't vinyl either. Actually now, I'm not really into technology. After I stopped using Final Scratch, everybody was wondering if it was something wrong with the software, what happened, why did I suddenly stopped using it? I consider that I lose contact with the public if I stare all night long at the laptop, it is as if I was surfing the internet while mixing. Once, I even asked John Digweed if I could check my e-mail on his laptop, while he was playing." I don't think he got upset. Another reason for which Josh Wink doesn't prefer Final Scratch is that it takes too much to install everything. "I have to disturb the one playing before me. To apologize for wanting to plug cable or stuff like that. I hate this think!" Now Josh uses only CDs. He buys vinyls, but he makes them WAV am burns them on CDs. "It's much easier with CDs. I look at other DJs who carry 5 or 6 cases full of vinyls or CDs. Look (he takes out of his bag a CD case), this is the case I carry throughout the world. I don't have other; this is the only one, as you see it. I arrange my music depending on the style and on its release date, and this is it. So I don't have problems with loosing my luggage in airports or taxis, it takes few times to install at the desk and everything is easy to carry." Came to think about it, the arguments seem credible enough.

Regarding his looks, Josh has always been fascinated by a personal style. Asked if there is any relation between the music he produces and his look, he confessed that there isn't anymore. "I used to think that before. I chose different kinds of hair styles. Once I was almost bold and for a whole year I made photos every month; I know a very famous photographer, who worked with celebrities like Christina Aguillera. I went also for the afro style, I had dread logs. Some other time I didn't cut my hair for a year." Now he was casual. Short haired, mustache and a beard. And a very evolved sense of humor. "You know how it is like when you want to look good, to impress girls, to have a look of your own, throughout which you can express yourself as an artist."

He likes to think a lot. He analyses his thoughts, his life, and his experiences. He concentrates on details that may seam not important to others. "I don't' know exactly which my life philosophy is. I always like to experience new things, feelings. Everything that is a part of my life." A part of Wink's philosophy becomes titles of his productions; "Higher State of Consciousness", "Profound Sound", "Conscious" and "Sub-Conscious". But he also has senseless titles, even funny like "Don't Laugh".


Before the final conclusions, Josh told us about a very cool gig he had on the Madeira Island, when mixing while above his head there were planes flying. Nothing "glamorous".

We stopped here, but the set he had later that night in the club confirmed many of the ideas said in the interview. Josh Wink is not a purist of techno music, he is one of the DJs who are unique, he manages to have a sound of his own every time you listen to him, weather it is live or on a compilation. Besides that, he is a gentle man and with a very high sense of humor. So, America has revealed impressing artists on the electronic techno music scene. To confirm the rule we can bring up the name Audion (Matthew Dear). But still, Josh Wink remains Josh Wink.

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