Philadelphia-based DJ and producer Josh
Wink has released his first mix CD in
four years with "Profound Sounds
Volume 2." Long-time King Britt collaborator
and Ovum Recordings' head-honcho, Wink
continues to break new ground and master
technology's latest breakthroughs with
an absolutely masterful interpretation
of the long-standing, DJ-releases-a-mix-CD
formula. After first remixing and re-editing
all of the personally selected tracks
himself, he DJ-mixed them together into
one cohesive flow, allowing the listener
to hear the entire CD as the whole, originally
conceived project, rather than just a
collection of mixed tracks.
Josh Wink is drug-free vegan who began
DJing at the age of 13. He has remained
in the forefront of the electronic dance
music subculture by continually releasing
his own tracks and remixes. Beginning
in the 80's, and throughout the 90's,
tracks such as "I'm Ready",
"Don't Laugh", and "Higher
State of Consciousness" propelled
Wink to stardom on the Pop charts in England.
With the release of 1998's "HearHere",
he was introduced to the burgeoning U.S.
scene and worked with such diverse collaborators
as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Caroline
Crawley of This Mortal Coil, and Ursula
Rucker of Jazzanova and The Roots. The
single and MTV-ready video for "Are
You There?" slowly cemented Wink's
presence in the U.S. and pushed the boundaries
of "DJ as an artist", which
is so commonplace nowadays.
Since the 1999 release of "Profound
Sounds Volume 1", Wink has been steadfast
in his operation of Ovum Recordings, and
busy with various remixing projects. Recent
reworkings to hit the dancefloors worldwide
have been "Blue Jeans" by Ladytron,
"Starry Eyed Surprise" by Paul
Oakenfold, and "Free Love" by
Depeche Mode. He is currently working
in the studio with another Philadelphia-based
underground stalwart, G-Love (of G-Love
and Special Sauce). Both appeared together
recently on the same bill at the 2nd annual
Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.
But it is with the release of "Profound
Sounds Volume 2" that marks a truly
unique departure for typical DJs and offers
the listener a broader range of accessibility.
This mix is a true interpretation of the
intense, yet at some points beautiful
and sublime, Josh Wink live set, similar
to the one he performed at Bonnaroo, finishing
the night behind Mark Farina in front
of a exuberant, crowded arcade tent. By
adding his own personal touches with a
laptop, CD player, a state-of-the-art
mixing console, and plenty of software,
Josh Wink has harnessed the concept of
"DJ as an artist" at it's fullest
potential in an extraordinary way... and
captured it on plastic.
I had the opportunity to speak with
Josh Wink by phone recently, while he
was in the studio working on new original
material for an upcoming full-length artist
CD, as well as a new vinyl remix. Ever
a gentleman and the consummate professional,
Wink was cheerful and to the point in
our precious 15 minutes together……..
Carl Noone, Jr.:
I got the chance to see you recently at
the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee and
again at the DJ Connection at De La Guarda
in New York City. How was performing at
each of them for you, personally?
Josh Wink: As someone
who was going JUST to have a good time,
I had a great time (at Bonnaroo). As far
as a performance, it was growing pains
on the main stage. Where Mark Farina and
I played on Saturday night, that was our
environment and we were well receipted.
A lot of people said that our tent was
the one to catch that night. On the main
stage, it was a rock concert, and you
know I'm not a Mix Master Mike or Z-Trip
with all these crazy tricks. It (playing
the Bonnaroo Main stage on Sunday afternoon
between Galactic and James Brown) was
definitely difficult. All in all, it was
an excellent experience and I had a wonderful
That was my second time doing De La
Guarda. I did it last year, and it was
so well receipted, we decided to do it
again. I really enjoy playing all that
weird, atmospheric, spacey stuff in the
beginning. One thing you can do as a DJ
is create an atmosphere and a setting.
A lot of people actually came up to me
afterwards and they said, "the music
you played in the beginning was SO wild,
we had no idea what to expect because
of the music you were playing". And
then it segues to the part with the paint
splattering on top of your head and everything.
When it gets more pump-y and dance-y,
I like that too, but I like the stuff
in the beginning a little bit more.
You ARE using Final Scratch, correct?
Is that the next big thing for DJs?
Correct. For me I can only speak, and
it's a great tool. I'm able to carry around
1200 records without having to lug around
12 record boxes.
Has using Final Scratch changed you
as an artist, in general?
In the fact that I am able to have the
possibility to play more diverse music,
and go without not having to play it before
because I didn't want to bring all these
record crates with me. So it allowed me
to create the possibility to choose more
records to play. A lot of time and effort
goes into it; to building your "crate",
to building all your MP3 audio files,
and that takes a long of time. If you
have 1200 or so records in your computer,
you lose track of some of them along the
way. It's still a learning process for
me. I've been using Final Scratch for
over a year and a half now. For me, it's
a great tool that's allowed me to bring
a lot to the table.
How has touring changed for you over
I've been fortunate to have been touring
internationally since 1991, so I've been
doing this a long time. I've been pretty
fortunate because of my long track record
of doing what I do, that most gigs I ended
up showing up at were pretty good. What's
changed is traveling in general, with
the whole issue of terrorism. What was
once my easy livelihood of traveling around,
has now become a little more cumbersome,
more work. I just look at it now as "this
is just a part of what I do. I have to
show up early and I have to get searched.
I have to take off my shoes", and
that whole thing. They look at you really
weird when you are carrying a bunch of
records and a computer. You always get
double searched. We all have to deal with
it now. Carl: You still call Philadelphia
"home". What makes it so special?
Josh Wink: I was born here. It's twelve
minutes for me to get to the international
airport from my house. I got a good piece
of property for the amount of money that
I paid for it. I can be just "Josh"
riding around town on my bike. And I don't
have to worry about being "Josh Wink".
And it's a lot more laid back than a lot
of other cities. I travel almost every
weekend, so I'm out of town, and then
I come back, and it's still a nice place
to come back to.
Do you still shop for records? Do
you have any favorite places to shop?
Yes. I shop at AKA Music or Spaceboy
for all types of music. I do most of my
shopping when I'm out of town. 611 is
below our record label, so it's a cool
thing because we can stay on top of all
the stuff that's coming out. They're right
below us, so if there is a cool record
or a big record, I can hear it downstairs
or they'll tell me about it. When I'm
out traveling, I'm sure to got to local
shops, local stores, Mom and Pop's, just
to see the stocking and what's going on.
Buying records is different in every city.
Has the popularity of Dance music
reached its peak in the U.S. yet? Does
it still have room to grow?
No, I don't think it has. It still has
room to grow. Really, all it's doing right
now is just lending a service for commercials
to bastardize Dance music. That's the
only way it can really be accepted here
in the United States. Through Pringles
ads and Mitsubishi ads. That's the only
way that electronic music has done anything
here in America. It's not supported on
the radio. It's not supported on MTV.
And this has been an issue long before
Clear Channel started their monopoly on
buying radio stations. I don't think it's
Clear Channel's fault. Yes, they have
a monopoly on most of the music in America
regarding radio, but electronic music
has been tried here and it just doesn't
work. A lot of that goes with the fact
that this type of music was played at
raves where this person did this type
of drug, and police busts happened, and
people were overdosing. So parents and
children complained to their Governors,
and their Senators, and this type of music
was taken off the radio because they didn't
want to be associated with it. That's
a HUGE problem.
Have you witnessed firsthand any
of the damage since the R.A.V.E. Act was
Josh Wink: Several years ago, there
were raves all the time. Now there's just
a few. That's a big concern. Once there
were a LOT of DJs buying records, and
now there's a lot of DJs that aren't buying
records because there's no place for them
to play. It's a shame what has happened.
I think a lot of people were irresponsible
going to parties and a whole bunch of
people have set the standard for what
raves are about. They became more drug
oriented than they did music oriented.
Carl: Was there a particular event in
your life that prompted you to become
more outspoken about being "drug-free"
and a "vegan"?
Josh Wink: No, I kind of just do it for
myself. If people ask me, then I tell
them. I don't think it's important for
me to necessarily preach what I believe
because what I do works for me. It's a
shame that these things (the R.A.V.E.
Act, the war on drugs) can happen. I think
it's pretty much a witch hunt. America
deals in sensationalism, and sensationalism
sells and that is how America is dealing
What's next for you? Are you still
collaborating with King Britt?
No. King and I are still friends but
we are not making music together. We are
not running the label together anymore.
Ovum Recordings is just myself and Matt
Brookman right now. I am actually in the
studio right now, taking a little break
from working on a Sting remix. Original
music is soon to come. We (G-Love and
I) laid down some stuff one day; him on
vocals, guitar and harmonica, but I've
been real busy with other stuff on my
plate. That can mean any possibility can
Is there anyone you would like to
I've never really given it much thought.
On the last album I worked with Trent
Reznor. For the new album next year, I
thought about working on something with
him again. I had a good time with that
track. I haven't really given it much
thought, mainly because I haven't delved
into that idea yet.
What's the next big single we can
expect from Ovum Recordings?
The next single is a DJ Pierre track
called "I'm a Freak on the Floor".
It's been doing really well. We promo'd
it right before the Winter Music Conference
and we are about to release it in a couple
weeks. We are getting a lot of, lot of
play off this right now for an underground
house record. It's made a couple single-of-the-month's
and a few magazines overseas, so were
happy with the way it is setting up.
-- written by Carl Noone, Jr.