It takes a lot to make it big as a superstar DJ, whilst simultaneously managing to keep your integrity as a purveyor of strictly underground sounds intact. Josh Wink belongs to this school of US house and techno graduates, first spotted ferociously plugging away at the acid house scene, quickly becoming one of its most prolific and celebrated talents. From there the inevitable period of self-reflection followed, only for Wink to emerge unscathed and revitalised as head-honcho of Ovum Recordings, ready for the new millennium. Today, he remains one of the most respected and revered artists in the scene and for this reason alone, MEOKO thought it only right we catch up with him ahead of ADE.
Hi Josh, thanks for your time. Ovum just hosted one of the last nights of the season at Space in Ibiza. How was it? What was the atmosphere like on the island this summer?
I had a great time. The two Ovum parties were wonderful. Amazing music at a great club! We were very happy to be back on the terrace. One party at the very beginning of the season and one at the end. Perfect. I didn’t get a chance to go out a lot as I was on the island with my family and new baby for the first time. So, for this family the trip was very important and special for us…
How has having your first child changed your life and your outlook on your career?
It has intensified certain feelings and made me a bit more clear on my goals and my outlook for the future. And it’s opened my eyes, ears and heart up to love which you can only understand when you’re a parent. I look forward to making new music with these emotions close at hand!
You return this month to the Amsterdam Dance Event. Is this something you’ve always been involved with? How do you view its position within the electronic music scene compared to the WMC, for example?
I think I have been involved with the ADE since the start. It’s a great organization and offers important platforms for artists, labels and electronic industry types to do business and then hit the venues at night. It can’t compare to WMC. WMC used to have business and pleasure. But, it got lost and now the WMC is just a place to have parties with North and South American fans who want to hear dance music. Business has left the WMC. You can get a lot of business deals done or set up at the ADE. That said, you don’t get the 30 degree weather and bikinis.
No doubt one of the main talking points this year will be the meteoric rise of EDM in the US. As an American do you find the recent upsurge surprising, given that, until now, electronic music had always been look upon with such disdain?
It’s come into the USA as a pop platform. Something I’m not accustomed with. It’s not my thing, so, I’m not really a good person to speak to about it. But, it’s popular driven so, it serves its purpose.
Could you tell us about your blossoming relationship with Steve Bug. How did it form? What do you feel you both have in common musically?
We’ve been friends and colleagues for years! I regard my relationship with Steve highly. We share a lot of the same views and values on life and music, besides doing tracks for each other’s labels over the years. We are funny companions that enjoy each others company and enjoy DJing together. Always fun!
You certainly share a lot of artists: MANIK, Nico Lahs. Is there a special agreement there at all? Do you see a lot of similarities between the Poker Flat ethos and your own at Ovum?
Nope. Seems that we have a lot of artists that start out on Ovum and then migrate to other labels. People get excited to work with us and other labels. We like to believe that these artists have their first big records on Ovum. We’d like to keep them in house on Ovum, but things don’t work like that much nowadays. So, in the end, we only want the best for our artists and friends.
You took some time off from the studio because of your little boy. Have you been back in at all recently or are you saving that for the dark winter months?
No. However, I look forward to getting back into the studio during the fall and winter. I have started to update my computer and application software after a year. And this is taking a long time! I just want to get in and make music. Maybe I’ll scrap the computers and just do a hardware LP. Who knows!
As one of the ‘veterans’ of the global scene, what is it do you think that’s enabled you to remain so current and consistently popular over the years?
I’d like to believe it’s first and foremost my passion. I’m happy that both my personal music and music from Ovum has stayed relevant in this fickle industry. Secondly, integrity has a lot to do with it. If I don’t feel comfortable with what I produce and release. I don’t release it. I mean I have to live with myself and my decisions. So, I listen to my heart and not always my head!
The label is going well, you’re getting booked all over the world. Do you just continue like this until you decide to stop or are you searching for a completely new challenge?
I love what I do. I feel very blessed to still be doing my passion and something that has made me happy for over 25 years. It’s crazy! I’m open for all things that life presents. Who knows.
Finally, do you feel like a different person from the guy who made ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ almost twenty years ago?
I feel like I have lived life a bit more and can say from these ‘life experiences’ that I am a different person, which is natural. I think as humans we have to change with age. As is said: ‘Growing old’ is not an option, ‘Growing up’ is optional. I like having the option.
Words by Carlos Hawthorn