Despite the tribulations of today’s industry with technology being a force in itself and a force to be reckoned with, Josh Wink continues to bear the torch of electronic music, as trying as it may be at times. His frankness in this interview goes a long way and sheds light on the demands of a career as an artist in the electronic music industry. Despite an illustrious career there is still a preponderance of artists, who in similar positions, have found it difficult to maintain such values and beliefs in today’s market. This new EP harnesses the value of passion and integrity by going against the grain of today’s musical trends and still being an exquisite piece of music. Read the second part of our interview (for those of you who missed part one click here) with Josh as we hear about the awkwardness of being complimented, his continued involvement with Ovum and why he DJ’s with his penis out… Just kidding or at least we hope he was!
It’s clearly a testament to the passion you have for what you do that despite the obstacles that have arisen, you continue to further your career in music.
Well, it’s a mixture of that and it’s a mixture of “this is what I know”. You know a lot of people are fearful that they can’t do anything else, and that’s not my fear. I mean I’m accustomed to being who I am. I’ve been involved with music since I was 13 and I’m gonna be 43 next week, so almost 30 years. That’s just crazy. I mean I love music, music’s my passion. It’s what got me into it and I still want it to be that way for me, when it isn’t my passion anymore I don’t want anything to do with it. But whether it be classical music, techno, reggae, or jazz…. it needs to be a soundtrack to my life. Whether it’s my music or anybody else’s music. So this is always a big, important thing for me, where sound has become the aural soundscape for my daily being. You know, where I would just load up my iPod with tracks that would just help me travel, tell a story and unravel. Take away the pain and the hardship of being a road warrior. So that’s what gives me my happiness is just being able to be engulfed in music.
Despite so many years of being involved in music, do you still get moments when the enormity of where you’ve got to, the following you have worldwide, does that ever overwhelm you? Do you ever have to pinch yourself?
Sometimes, I mean I have a hard time when people give me compliments. When they say “Papa Wink” or you know “living legend”, all this kind of stuff, because I still feel like I’m just Josh. If I can feel that way about someone else I can try to put myself in their shoes and understand what they’re talking about. You know, one of the secrets of life is timing, whether or not you have anything to do with it or not. I got involved with this music at a certain reason at a certain time and it’s really kind of touched people, and I dig that. I don’t pinch myself but it’s weird that I had an epiphany in my life somehow that got me involved with music.
I’m doing workshops in Talin, Estonia, talking to kids that are growing up and want to know what I did to get involved with music, what’s inspiring. It’s awesome to be able to do something like that for someone. And it’s like, weird, it’s like “wow, I’m still doing something I like” but it’s a different aspect of it, it’s not performance it’s just talking and letting people know my experiences and listening to other people and learning from them as well.
How involved are you now with Ovum? Is it very much Matt that handles that side of things now?
Yeah Matt’s pretty much the captain of the boat. I usually have a say in everything but he’s kind of stepped up and really helped because it’s hard to run a business when you’re always on the road. He signs the cheques and takes care of the business and helps me listen to all the demos. I’m very fortunate that I have him at the Ovum helm to take things in a good direction and I think that we’re really doing a great job. We’ve released really great music from unknown people and known people as well over the past years and we’re going up to almost 20 years next year. And we’re still putting out really great music, this past year has been amazing.
Does the label not reach a plateau after so much time of being at it’s peak? Is there still room for innovation?
Well, when you don’t feel like you’ve reached a peak and you don’t feel like you need to recreate trends or follow trends, and you just do what you want to do and believe in the integrity of the music you sign, everything becomes a little bit easier. We release music that we really love, not music that we think is gonna sell as much as a Justin Bieber thing. You know, having sales is great, it’s what keeps us afloat but we’ve been around for almost 20 years and that really says something. You asked before about me and longevity, just look at the label. We release pertinent music that’s all over the board from deep to pumpin’ and those same people will listen to our stuff in record stores or listen to our stuff online. You know, a deep house guy who buys an Osunlade will listen to an Ovum record. Those guys that listen to DJ Rush or hard techno, a Jeff Mills kinda guy, they’ll listen to an Ovum record and that’s an amazing position to be in. So I don’t think we’ve necessarily plateaud or peaked but life is a series of circles and there’s a down part to the circle and there’s a high part to the circle and it’s just a case of going through the circle and the cycle of life. It’s cool. It’s like press, to feel like you need to be in the eye of the press all the time is exhausting and difficult but if you feel like it could happen at times, where you still feel like you can kind of surf… I mean I don’t feel like I ever went away, I’ve always been here but I could just be waiting for the right wave to take off. I’m still on my board but I’m not on the wave yet. So I still feel like I’m in the water and that’s just kinda how life is and it’s kinda how things have been which I’m very fortunate about.
Finally, your views on something very relevant for today’s press…You’ll have seen the hype about women in the industry and the “sex sells” debate that’s currently raging. What side of the fence do you stand on?
Well that’s why I DJ with my penis out!
Look, it’s an industry and something sells whether it’s a gimmick. Someone has no hair, someone has a lot of hair, purple hair, someone wears only rubber, someone has a lot of tattoos… you know sensationalism sells. It’s been primarily a male driven society, it’s been very patriarchal in the electronic music world and then a woman comes around, sure. If someone’s good, someone’s good regardless of if they have breasts or not. And if they’re pretty or handsome it’s more for people to look at it and in our society sensationalism sells. So I don’t really know if I favour this or that, I think it’s just a bunch of sensationalism bollocks.
I’ve told you, I’m already inspired by just being on a dancefloor with my eyes closed. So I don’t know who’s DJing if it’s a girl, a guy, a transsexual, transgender, whether it’s a kid or not, whatever. If it’s good music and I can close my eyes and get lost in the music it doesn’t really matter.
You can catch Josh Wink alongside M.r C, David Scuba, Luke vB and Stacey Pullen amongst others Saturday January 18th at London’s Fabric. For more information and tickets click here