Dan “The Automator” Nakamura has produced groundbreaking albums by Gorillaz, Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School, and Kasabian. Russell Simins is the musically adventurous drummer in John Spencer Blues Explosion. Nakamura and Simins joined forced to create the musically ambiguous Men Without Pants, whose debut, Naturally, boasts cameos from Sean Lennon, Sammy James, Jr. from the Mooney Suzuki, and Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The duo fielded questions from Big Shot readers.
Philadelphia’s Josh Wink helms the mighty Ovum label, regularly rocks dance floors at festivals and clubs all over the world, and has a plethora of amazing albums, singles and remixes to his credit. On the eve of the release of his latest singles collection, When A Banana Was Just A Banana, Wink fields questions submitted by Big Shot’s readers.
Image: Chris Soltis
1. I’ve heard some buzz about your upcoming album. What can fans can expect to hear?
Josh Wink: The album [When A Banana Was Just A Banana] is a collection of singles. I will be working on a different LP next year with more of a concept. This album is solely a collection of tracks that I’ve been playing out in clubs/festivals that need to be released. The [tracks] blur the lines of house and techno.
2. How is your year so far?
All has been great! I’ve been blessed with being busy DJing, traveling to great locations, and having great crowds to perform for! Ovum Recordings is still going strong, and we look forward to the new releases and doing more Ovum nights around the world.
3. What is your involvement these days with Ovum Recordings? How do you go about signing music, and can I send you a demo?!
It’s hard to keep up with all that technology presents us with. We’ve been bombarded with demos in all formats. And it’s hard to make the time to listen to all the CDs, USB drives and links. But Matt Brookman (who runs the office and the ship) listens to a lot [of the submissions]. I get a lot [of music] on the road and sift through the ones that will be released and the ones that get passed on. Time and patience is a virtue! We sometimes take our time, but that’s what happens when we get over 20 demos a week! Once we get something we like, I tend to play it out and get a crowd reaction—that’s a good judge of [a track] being something we’d like to release.
4. I heard a world famous DJ recently play nearly the same identical set in a different city during the same DJ tour. Can you believe the nerve of this guy? I was annoyed. I’ve heard you play many times over the years, and I’m always impressed how you mix it up and always bring something special to each DJ gig. How do you manage to keep things fresh while you’re on the road?
via the Internet
There’s too much good music being released for me to always play the same sets! But we as DJs definitely have our favorites and support them whenever we get the chance. I’m happy that you have been able to catch a show when I’m in your area, and I’m also happy that you are continually impressed. I still have a passion for performing as a DJ, and with this passion, it makes it easy to want to keep doing what I’m doing. I always spend time before tours/trips getting new music together; burning my vinyl to CD, getting new releases categorized, etc. But when it comes to the performance, it’s always a spontaneous process. I really feed off of the club or festival’s vibes and moods, which helps me decide when to go artistically. But it’s always different, hence having different sounding sets.
5. You’ve had a lot of hit records like “Higher State of Consciouness” and have done extremely well for yourself since you started releasing records back in the day. What else do you want to do with your life beyond DJing and making music?
Well, it’s a good question. A lot of my friends and colleagues in the music industry are asking themselves the same question, as it’s a difficult time to make a living with Internet file piracy and the recession. I would think I’d be involved the music industry and doing something music-related. If not, maybe [I’d become] a doctor or a cook.
6. I’d like to know when was the last time you made a decision based upon principle?
New York City
A lot. I feel it’s important for one to keep their integrity and do things that work with your beliefs. I don’t do any work with cigarette companies and everything at Ovum is approved and worked on by our teams with our vision. I try and make logical, educated decisions about which events to participate in. Principle is important, when one has control. The problem is nowadays so many things get twisted and are out of the control of an individual.
Legendary producer Dan The Automator and Russell Simmins (John Spencer Blues Explosion co-founder/drummer) recorded an full-length under their Men Without Pants alias. Their long-awaited album, Naturally, features an array of cameos, including Sean Lennon, The Mooney Suzuki, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Cibo Matto. The duo are taking questions from Big Shot‘s readers, so fire away. Send us your burning question about their music or anything else on your mind by Monday, April 13, 2009, and we’ll pass ’em along to the boys. Their answers will appear in Issue 27 and on this fabulous blog.
Lady Sovereign touts herself as the self-proclaimed “biggest midget in the game.” The former Def Jam wunderkind is readying the release of her new album, Jigsaw, which is out on April 7th. It’s her much anticipated follow up her 2006 debut, Public Warning!, and a huge musical leap forward.
Sov is taking questions from Big Shot‘s readers, so fire away. So send us your burning question about her music or anything that’s on your mind by Friday, January 31, 2009, and we’ll pass ’em along to her. Sov’s answers will appear in Issue 26 and on this fabulous blog.