Josh Wink chats to Dubzy about how his style has progressed and how he first got into the industry. He also talks about his up upcoming gigs and Space Ibiza.
For any listeners that you name maybe new to, could you give a brief introduction to yourself?
“I’m DJ/Producer from Philadelphia who’s being running a record label for 22 years and making music since 1989 and still doing what I love.”
How would you describe your style from when you started out and how it’s progressed over the years?
“It’s kind of stay true to the integrity for what got me into this music, which is based on: Chicago, Acid House and Detroit-Style Techno. It changed very much as progress in terms of the benefits of having better electronics in my studio and the production and the engineering. It’s (pretty much) stayed true, I don’t (kind of) find myself feeling the need to be caught up in trends or whatever’s popular and I just (kind of) “stick to my guns”. That make’s me happy and I can live with myself… it’s a very important thing and I haven’t felt that I have strayed because I only wanted bookings or something like that. In terms of DJ’ing and also making music as well.”
Looking back on the 22 years, what was it that made you want to start out doing this in the first place?
“I started when I was a teenager and a friend of mine, who I met in the summer program; he was a mobile disc jockey and also a radio station DJ. I began to hang out with him and I wanted to become a radio DJ because he was. Then it turns out that he had a mobile disc jockey company and I started working with him when I was 13 years old. Since I was 13, that feeling that I still get today is a parent in what I do from way back then; and that was 1983! So… things progressed overtime from going from a wedding DJ, entertainment, mobile DJ into wanting to be involved in nightclubs and discos and stuff like that in the early to mid 80’s. Then I started DJ’ing at clubs, block parties and events; then it became into “why am I playing other peoples music when I’ve got all these ideas in my head?” I bought some equipment and I started making music and experimenting in the late-mid 80’s and started releasing music right when the 90’s began. First record (I believe) was 1990 on ‘Strictly Rhythm Records’.”
Would you say that the first release was the point that you realize that you could do this as a career?
“No, I still find it hard to realize I’m doing this as a career. I was going to school; I was going to college and university at the same time. Education was important for me. But then the knocking on the door was too loud and I really (kind of) had to focus and do this full time. Back then, it wasn’t thought of as “this is what I want to do with my life”. It wasn’t popular, it wasn’t trendy, and they weren’t real magazines to focus sonly on electronic music, dance music, acid house and techno. This was just something as we did as a movement because we loved it, and that’s all we knew and that’s all we wanted to do. So it’s (kind of) like a mistake that it all happened and we just (kind of) rolled with it and just continued doing what I loved and it began to provide a living for myself.”
For any listeners who are locked in that are trying to do the same; they’re trying to make music; they’re trying to DJ. Would you have any advice that you would like to throw out?
“I would just say really to… follow your heart, that’s truly what it is! It was a very frustrating thing in the past because there wasn’t (really) a big profession and money to be made in the beginning. But you didn’t do it for that reason; you do it souly because of the feeling you loved and you had passion for this kind of new music. Now today it’s difficult as well because there is a huge way to make money and a living by it. The difficult part of it is that there are so many people trying to do the same thing that you are. The real thing I want to say and trying to get through by its situation and my memory, which is: I got into this because I just truly, really loved it, felt it, aid it, lived it and this was my life. And I didn’t know anything about money to come about it; that’s not why I got into it. That was just something that happened by mistake. So I would just say, “do the same thing!” Have your desires and your strong passion for doing this and then hopefully everything will then come and follow.”
So let’s bring it right up to date and talk about 2016, some of the gigs you’ve been doing this year look amazing! First one I want to ask you about the techno festival in Spain in January, how was that?
“One thing that’s interesting about my life and about my colleges life’s are: for the past 25+ (or plus) years I’ve being doing this! I’ve been travelling almost 40 weekends a year, 3 days a week, all around the world and I really have a hard time remembering all the stuff. I listen to myself doing interviews and people said “what is your favorite gig?” or “what was this?” or “do you remember last week?” I say “you know what? I wish I really had an excuse!” like I wish I could say that I just forgot… and that’s not the case. I began to think about it and said, “ My cup has become so full through life experience, that I’m really having a hard time remembering certain things.” I really have to start journaling again because then would be able to answer your question a little bit better but… I’m very fortunate to have really great parties all around the world. Spain is my most frequented country that I go to and most of the parties that I do in Spain are great; from the clubs to the festivals. I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember but I have a feeling that I was amazing!”
What’s on the line-up for you this season in Ibiza and in Spain?
“Summertime is always very busy for my colleges and myself. (You know) this is festival season. A lot of people take of time in the winter to produce, to stay put, not travel as much and to really (kind of) go at it in the summertime. I am doing it hard. The world’s a big place and there’s lot’s of things to do, I feel fortunate that I’m still getting to do them and still being asked to play in festivals, clubs, parties etc. But… I’m a parent, I have a 4 ½ year old son and I’m really loving the time that I take away from my busy schedule to be in his life and be available for him. So I don’t go really full, full out but (you know) I have a lot of cool things coming up. My business is busy but as bad and as crazy as usual just because I want to take the summer a little bit easier and spend time, swim and stay put with my family in Philadelphia. But yeah… I’m playing in Ibiza (being like you asked), ‘Circoloco – DC10’ this week, I’m playing ‘Luciano – Vagabundos Party’, ‘Carl Cox (last of his) Revolution Party at Space’ and closing parties in October. A lot of great things going on in Ibiza and also just in Europe, I’m very exited and looking forward to those things coming up.”
How do you feel about ‘Space’ closing this year? How are you going in with your sets there?
“The good thing about what I do and what I feel is that everything is 100% and spontaneous. It’s frustrating in a sense though too. Spontaneous in a sense that there really no rules, it’s that I got play what I got to play but I’m a little frustrated because I grew up in a time where they’re tend to be more artistic freedom with DJ’s and artists doing their sets; that you build them (you go up, you go down) and I still do that. But I find it a little more difficult because DJs feel like they have to “bang’n’out” and give their biggest records/tracks right when they start to right when they end. And it’s all about people going crazy and just jumping up & down and wanting the next build-up… I sometimes show up at a gig and I watch the DJ before I go to the main room or I go into different rooms and I get to see the DJ doesn’t have the crowd reacts. I’m very aware of the dance floor, the people on the dance floor and what people want. One thing I’ve known and leaned in the last 25-30 years of doing what I do is that “you can’t please everybody”. If you’re playing tough techno or tough house, you think you’re rocking it and there’s still going to be someone there that wants it harder. If you play something else, some people will look happy and other people look a certain way. So you just have the faith that people trust in me doing what I do and my frustration is, I like to (kid of) take people on journeys and tracks with my music. That’s the license that I feel that I have; to be able to educate and be able to entertain at the same time. What I’ve been noticing lately is that I got to (kind of) “going there” and just bang it! That’s okay and I understand that but it sometimes a little frustration that maybe ‘Space’ is going to close after 27 years, I might like to maybe go back and play some classics from back-in-the-day but a lot these people may not know that or may not understand it. So do I take that chance? Do I go there and do something different? Or do I just play the relative set, the relative sound that’s now and just make people happy?”