Photo credit: Scott Kowalchyk for ElectricZooFestival.com
Josh Wink is a legend in the musical world. He has reached the higher states.. but he has his feet firmly on the ground. With a 20 year history in djing and production and his own OVUM label still going strong after 16 years - he finally popped his Electric Zoo cherry this year! We caught up with the soon to be daddy ahead of his (definitely stand out set of the festival for me) performance on Sept 2, 2011.
CGNY: It’s a glorious day here on September 2nd. I’m the first day of Electric Zoo and I’m chatting with the one, the only Josh Wink. Thank you for taking time to talk to me! How are you?
JW: Glorious!! Hey you know you just brought to my attention the whole aspect of no hurricane! And if it was a week prior to this, things would be much different!
CGNY: Very different! We would not be in Kansas anymore that’s for sure! Josh this is your first time performing at Electric Zoo. Are you excited to play the premiere festival for electronic music in New York?
JW: I am very happy to be asked to play. Usually I base myself in Europe for the summertime and I tend to be over there at this time. So I never really want to come back to the States for it whereas a lot of my colleagues and contemporaries, they’re European and they and want to come and play America so they come over to do this. But I was never really available. I tend to be busy if I’m not in Europe. It’s my fathers birthday on the 2nd which is today (happy birthday dad), so I always like to be with him. After the set then unfortunately I gotta run. Gotta go have dinner with my dad today!
CGNY: And you’re a Philly native is that right?
JW: That is correct and as you know its only 90 miles southwest of New York city. We just drove up, took 90 minutes, nice and easy!
CGNY: And tell us a little bit about how you got into electronic music?
JW: Haha! It’s 25 years of a quick question! I’ll make it really short. I wanted to get involved in radio. There was guy who was a radio dj who had a mobile dj company. I was his apprentice. I started djing and getting involved when I was 13/14/15 years old. I heard about beat mixing, I heard about scratching and cutting being from Philadelphia. I was around disco music and hip-hop. Some of the best hip-hop djs were from Philadelphia; Cash Money, Jazzy Jeff. So I had that culture involved in me and then it went from there into buying my own equipment and wanting to play other peoples’ music. Then playing my own music rather than other people’s music. So I released my first record in 1989. So it was a long time ago.
CGNY: And of course one of the iconic electronic dance tunes of all time is yours!! Higher States of Consciousness – that has been remixed and resoldered so many times. That must be great to have a song that has lasted through the ages, still gets played out and sounds great. Talk a little about that came about?
JW: It’s kind of cool though you know, I was releasing a lot of music before then, you know nice underground releases that kind of got my name out there. But a journalist the other day just called it something really funny. He said “Oh you made the Holy Trinity. You made ‘Don’t Laugh’,you made ‘I am Ready’ and you made ‘Higher States of Consciousness’. 3 songs that helped define the minimal sound from ‘Don’t Laugh’ to the hip-hop breakdown and snare roll up of ‘I am Ready’ to the breakbeat acid track of Higher States’”. And I was like that’s crazy to hear it like that but.. You know a lot of good things came from these songs and it helped open a lot of doors for me. But at the same time it made me realize that I really wanted to continue my artistic integrity and explore all different kinds of electronic music and that’s why I never bothered to make songs that sound like it again.
JW: That’s true. Your most recent release “When a Banana was Just a Banana” on your own label Ovum,that’s almost indefinable too – very different from what’s come before. I saw you at a Verboten party a few months ago and you played a funky, disco set which I wouldn’t have expected from you at all. You definitely like to keep it fresh and interesting for your fans. What kind of artists do you listen to, do you have on your label? Is there a sound for Ovum per se?
CGNY: That’s a good question. Ovum has always been a little bit of everything and that’s I think one of the reasons we are still around after 16 years. Its because we are not really following a trend. We’re just releasing music that really feels strong in our hearts regardless of what it is; regardless of whether we think it will sell or not, we know it’s a good release and we will put it out and support it. And we get a lot of people wanting to be involved in our label solely because of that not because it sounds like a certain thing. You know dubstep is big now. It doesn’t mean that we are going to go and start signing dubstep artists because it’s the next big thing. But you know I like some of it and play some of it as a dj and I like to be able to express myself as a dj, as you heard a couple of months ago at Verboten by playing everything from techno to Philly disco. I love the ability to do all different kinds of things like that and I don’t want to ever lose that. So that’s what keeps everything fresh and exciting for me.
CGNY: So after Electric Zoo where do you go to?
JW: I’m home. My lady is almost fully pregnant!
JW: Well she is fully pregnant!
CGNY: Yes I don’t think you can be a little bit pregnant!
JW: Haha! So we are expecting in October. So my schedule is not so busy now by choice. I’m home to celebrate my fathers birthday tonight, have the weekend off and off to Europe next week. So Zurich and Hamburg.
CGNY: Have you played in Ireland?
JW: I’ve played there a lot. I haven’t played there this year yet. The scene has changed a lot and the scene is definitely different unless you are a huge popstar name! But I love playing everywhere in Ireland from the north to the south, east and west! It’s fun!
CGNY: Tell us about the Sirius satellite show?
JW: Yes, we have the Profound Sound show on Sirius Satellite. We’re also re-doing the Josh Wink website and we will have 320 quality mp3s of every show on the website. It’s an hour long mix of a live session anywhere in the world. The shows are done live from gigs. It will be up on Joshwink.com probably in October!
CGNY: Definitely want to check that out! Well Josh thanks for talking to me! Have a fantastic set. I’m going to be there at 2pm with my dancin’ shoes on. Continued success with everything musical and good luck with your new baby!