DJ Josh Wink aims to open minds, take listeners on a trip


Legendary Josh Wink has been around the music scene so long that he started DJing 25 years ago, and he’s only 42.

Wink used to come to Las Vegas to DJ at Bellagio’s club Light, Tabu and other spots for executive friends who were helping revolutionize clubs here.

But when he performs Saturday at Body English, it will be his first gig on the Vegas Strip in about eight years.

Vegas clubs have changed since then, obviously.

“When DJs are given show slots like Celine Dion, I’m like, ‘Whoa. What the heck’s going on now?’ ” Wink says.

Wink’s personal life has changed, too. He is a father for the first time, living with his wife and 16-month-old son in New York.

We conducted this interview at 7 p.m. New York time to accommodate his schedule to wash dishes and put his son to bed.

“He gets up at 5:56 every morning, and I’m up with him. So if I’m in the studio until 2 or 2:30 (a.m.), I’m like, ‘I gotta get to bed. My son’s getting up in three hours.’

“So we hope to be able to just eat some dinner, watch Jon Stewart and call it a night,” he says and laughs.

Wink is still a hard worker. He tours. He makes music in the studio. He helms his music label, Ovum Recordings. And he mixes a Monday show on Sirius radio’s Electric Area channel.

His musical approach remains true to his roots — to spin deep electronic music, instead of pop dance music. He has built that ethos ever since starting as a teen and working his way up.

“To me, that is more satisfying, taking people on a trip, rather than every three minutes, there’s a snare-roll buildup and people are fist-pumping,” he says.

Wink’s Sirius show (which can be downloaded for free at JoshWink.com), is one of the few nonpop hours on Electric Area.

“I don’t try to convert,” Wink says. “I just want to open people’s minds to different things. The rabbit hole can get deeper.

“It’s cool to be able to like Kaskade and Paul Oakenfold. But it’s also cool to dig deeper and get into LTJ Bukem, and Richie Hawtin, and Laurent Garnier.”

Wink stresses he doesn’t have anything against more pop-famous DJs. They are friends or acquaintances.

David Guetta used to go to Wink shows and tell Wink he was one of the only DJs whose mixes persuaded him to dance. Tiesto, when young, used to buy Wink’s music at the record shops. And Oakenfold tapped Wink to cut official remixes.

“I’m colleagues with these guys. It’s just not my thing” to go after pop audiences, Wink says.

“What people have to understand is: There are a lot of forms of electronic music.”

But as I found out, Wink doesn’t like it when you call him a legend.

“I’m bad with compliments anyway. So to hear that,” he says, “is like: ‘Oh dude, I’m just Josh.’ ”

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.