Philadelphia-born producer and DJ Josh Wink was a busy man 20 years ago. 1994 saw the launch of his Ovum Recordings label, and as if that wasn’t enough, the man himself was cooking up hits like ‘Don’t Laugh’ and ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ that were released the following year.
Fast-forward to the present, and the tireless creator hasn’t slowed up one bit. Celebrating 20 years of Ovum, continuing his production output and DJing around the world, 2014 sees Wink as busy, and brilliant, as ever.
We caught up with Josh over the weekend to get his thoughts on his label and career to date, and find out what the future has in store.
Hi Josh, how are you and what have you been up to today?
It’s Saturday. I spent the early part of the day with my family naked in the Ibiza sun and sand! I am now on a flight to perform in the cold and rain of Zurich, Switzerland.
This year marks 20 years since you launched your label Ovum, what have you been doing to celebrate the milestone?
A mixture of events to bring the attention of this crazy milestone to people. Club shows and Festival stages showcasing 20 years of Ovum talent. It’s been real fun!
Can you take us back to the genesis of the label, what were your initial plans and how did it all come about?
I had some memorable experiences dealing with labels I signed with in the early stages of my career. And I really wanted to be able to be in control of my music and my vision, so I decided to start a label to do this.
I know it’s like asking to choose a favourite child, but can you talk us through some of the Ovum releases that you have been proudest to put out?
You’re right. It’s difficult. We have 20 years of releases and happy to say that each of them has helped create who we are today in it’s own way. We are fortunate to have worked with a lot of artists who were really underground and we helped create a stepping-stone for them to breakthrough. So, I wouldn’t say one, two or three releases made the label. I am simply proud of where we came and where we are continuing to go!
Your life as a producer and DJ pre-dates the label and goes right back to the early 90s; how have you managed to maintain such a sustained presence in the rapidly changing scene?
I only know that I love what I do. I have a never-ending passion towards this music and I imagine that a strong integrity has helped me stay on the path. To still be relevant as a record label and producer over 20 years is a big deal, and I am blessed.
You talk a lot about integrity in relation to both your own output as well as the label; can you explain to us why this is so important to you and how you uphold it?
HAHA! Just kind of mentioned it above without knowing the question that followed!
Integrity is something that can’t be explained but is something an individual knows and is strong within them, like birds migrating. It’s just there.
Taking us back to the beginning of your career, which artists, tracks or albums first inspired you to get into DJing?
I loved all kinds of music growing up. From Soul, to New Wave, from Reggae to Punk rock. However, I would say bands like Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk got my attention in electronics. But, the acid house movement from Chicago made me want to make music!
In your opinion, what are some of the best and worst developments that you’ve seen come into dance music during your career?
The Digital Realm! All forms. A catch 22! The best and worst thing to happen to music!
You’ve done some great collaborative work, who have been some of your favourite artists that you’ve worked with in the past?
I haven’t really worked with too many producers/artists in my career in regard to making music. I worked with King Britt, Dego (4hero), Trent Reznor, Richie Hawtin, Mark Bell and Esmee Denters. Not too many in over 25 years. I look forward to more though!
So if you could collaborate with any artist, across any genre, who would it be and why?
Not sure. It’s a great question. I had a dream the other night, where I was in Radiohead as a new member. Doing computer and electronic elements for the group. Was a weird dream, having to deal with many things, including flying in a helicopter with the band over NYC, (where the Helicopter was being piloted by Tommy Matola) going to a 15-acre state of the art studio owned by Richard Branson. So, to answer your question, maybe Radiohead.
We understand you have a new EP ready to drop – what can you tell us about that?
The track is called ‘Talking to You.’ Back to my pure acid tracks! It’s been a big one for me over the summer along with a select group of DJs who I gave it to. Acid Madness!
You’re headed to London as part of a great lineup alongside John Digweed, Pig & Dan and Spencer Parker; can you tell us a little about that show? What can we expect on the night?
I’m old friends with John, (another DJ who has a whole lot of integrity) and I was happy to be a part of such a great line up! Especially being an anniversary of his Bedrock label. I never know what to expect as I truly base my music selection on the vibe I get from the crowd before I start. It’s a great feeling to be influenced by the vibe of an event! It’s kind of like fishing for me. Once I got a fish, I can let it swim, and then reel it back in. A symbiotic relationship, which I like to develop with the crowd I’m performing with!
Josh joins John Digweed to celebrate sixteen years of Bedrock, on Friday 4th October at Electric Brixton. Head over HERE for more info and tickets.
Josh Wink ‘Talking To You’ is out on his Ovum Recordings label on Sep 29th.
Written by Will Van de Pol