Not many artists who reach notoriety by creating an anthem for a generation are able to maintain originality and relevancy over an entire career, but Josh Wink has done precisely that. Nearly 20 years after the release of that classic number, ‘Higher State of Consciousness,’ Wink's production and DJing has stayed powerful and relevant. Even though, between running his Ovum label, his pretty rigorous DJ schedule and being a husband and father, the time he actually gets to sit down and work at his 303 is a rare thing, when he does find the time what comes out of it is always prolific.
2013 saw Wink break a four year studio silence with his Balls EP, which proved to be just as energetically dense as his original classic. Still riding on acidic elements it really was a techno bomb whereas 2014's Talking To You rode a low down groove that brought the acid house template up to the current era. Being a fan of Wink’s production sometimes takes a bit of patience but any studious attention is consistently met with the type of gratification that makes you wish he’d make more time for his studio endeavours. So, ahead of his forthcoming appearance here on Saturday, we pressed on him on a few issues for this studio focused feature…
Firstly can you give us a brief verbal tour of your studio?
It’s in a 12 foot by 8 ½ foot box called a “Whisper room”. A company that makes prefabricated sound proofed studio. It’s has some keyboards, midi and analog. A mixing desk for music, housed on a omni-rax studio table, a dj console and a couple racks of outboard gear. Speakers, computer monitors, computers and a most important couch.
What’s your favourite and most essential item?
Besides the couch? Some of my analog gear. Been getting into Ableton’s Push Controller, my 808, 909 and 303’s.
What would you say are the main differences with what you use and your production methods today compared to those early years?
I had lots and lots of cables back then! Tons of midi patching. And now, not as much. I like the simplicity of things now. And I try to balance the outboard gear with the software computer gear. I miss mixing down on a conventional big desk. I have an 8 channel mixer, however, mostly I mix “In the box”.
We normally ask people about how often they change up their live set but i don’t think I’ve ever seen you billed playing live just DJ – why don’t you feel compelled to play live?
I’m interested in doing a live show, as I think it would be fun and challenging. I have enough music for sure. However, I simply that I feel that I’m not there yet. Not sure how comfortable I feel being behind a computer, looking into a screen and being disconnected with the crowd. It’s something I need to give some more thought in. It’s definitely easier now to do a live show than years ago. Breaking down the studio, bringing all the keyboards, samplers and gear on the road. Maybe it’s something I will entertain again.
How much does DJing inform your production? Like do you take tracks on the road with you and feedback the response they get in the club to their final forms?
When I make dance-music It’s KEY for me to be able to ‘Test” out the tracks on a dancefloor and get ideas of how people react to the music. Then I go back in the studio and tweak away from these ideas. I record all my sets, so I listen to what I do live and then put these live, spontaneous ideas into the final product.
What still challenges you in the studio?
Main challenge is getting INTO THE STUDIO. It’s hard to me to balance the travelling and family life with studio artist. This is my main challenge. When I’m in the studio, I feel comfortable. However, I would say that being things change so quickly now in the digital world. I guess I would say that keeping on top of all the new versions of programs, OS, learning new gear, controllers etc… Making sure Operating Systems are compatible to the new software, if not then so much time is spent on downloading and sorting things out. It was much easier earlier on, when things didn’t change as much and learning curves were not as great.
You touched on that the last time we spoke you’d just got back into the studio for four years – have you found more time for it recently?
I have been getting into the studio more lately, but not enough. I composed a bunch of tunes last year including “Talking to you”. So, expect some new things this year! I’m excited.
And finally, if money was limitless what’s your ultimate object of desire?
Probably help educate people that can’t access education, or create a fund to cure diseases.