CHAIN D.L.K.: You started your profession as a DJ or jokey of discs (as you love to write) in the ’90s. Can you tell me how and why you started and what were your favorite records and Djs at the time ?
Justin Winks: Well actually I started Dj-ing in the mid ’80s in a sound system called “The Underground Movement”, which consisted of the members Justin Winks, Mark Burgess, Matthew Puffett (Future Beat Alliance), Paul McMahon, Dave Thomson and James Lavelle (Unkle). “The Underground Movement” represented everything that we loved about music, art & fashion.
My roots are Soul, Funk, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Electro Funk, New Wave, Disco & House and playing in the “The Underground Movement” gave me the opportunity to play all of the above and more. We were all incredibly young, 15/16 years of age and I’m proud to say that we threw some great parties and generally helped supply our home-town of Oxford with some amazing music.
The Underground Movement circa 1988 at The Kidlington Forum Youth Centre – Pictured: Dave Thomson, Justin Winks, Mark Burgess, Matthew Puffett (behind the lense)… with friends Rob Gaskins & Dan Cooper.
During this period I was tuning into some great radio shows and the dj’s that inspired me were: Robbie Vincent (BBC Radio One), Jeff Young (BBC Radio One), Dave Pearce (Radio London) and Chris Forbes (Kiss FM). I was still a little too young to be hanging around in nightclubs (that came later), so it was these radio dj’s that influenced me the most.
Becoming a dj just happened. It seemed so natural for me to want to play the records I’d just bought to my friends, either round at their houses or at a party. At the age of fourteen I started saving for some dj equipment and within a year (and a little help from my parents), I was the proud owner of two spanking new Technics 1210’s and a Gemini mixer. Owning my own decks meant that we didn’t have to hire the equipment and we could throw parties whenever we wanted and The Underground Movement was formed.I have so many records from that period that I love and I’ve made a small list of the records from the early 80s that turned me onto ‘electronic dance music’ and I’ve also made a separate list of mid to late 80s ‘Underground Movement’ anthems.
Justin Winks aka Casio Social Club (Influential early 80’s Jams):
Toney Lee – Reach Up
Shalamar – There It Is
David Joseph – You Can’t Hide (Your Love From Me)
Kraftwerk – Tour De France
Xena – On The Upside
D-Train – You’re The One For Me
Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – Love Come Down
Sharon Redd – Never Give You Up
Tyrone Brunson – The Smurf
Aleem – Release Yourself
Justin Winks aka Casio Social Club (Mid/Late 80s Underground Movement anthems):
Royal House – Can You Party?
Todd Terry – Bango (To The Batmobile)
Soul 2 Soul – Fair Play
Adonis – No Way Back
Digital Underground – Doowutchyalike
De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (Album)
Jolly Roger – Acid Man
D-Mob – We Call It Acieed
Ten City – Right Back To You
Inner City – Big Fun
CHAIN D.L.K.: Where’s the best place you’ve performed and why?
Justin Winks: Over the years I’ve had many great gigs but I like to think that my best gig is still yet to come. Let me answer that question in 20 years time (hehe)! :o)
CHAIN D.L.K.: Now that you are also active as Casio Social Club do you also perform your tracks live in a conventional way (a concert with keyboards and all)?
Justin Winks: I would love to gig live as “Casio Social Club” and this is something that I’m going to look into in 2011 but I need to finish my debut album first.
CHAIN D.L.K.: As far as dj-ing is concerned – do you play what you think people want to hear or what ‘you’ think they should be listening too? Basically… what is your connection with your audience?
Justin Winks: My two main priorities as a dj are to “move feet” and also “educate”… the latter being very important to me.
Practically anyone can play a two hour set of the latest anthems but it’s also really important to inform people about what’s up and coming… I love breaking new tracks and this helps you gain an identity as a dj. To me the job of a dj is to act like a human mp3 filter, filtering out the rubbish and leaving only the good (if that makes sense). I think these days too many dj’s just rely on the music that they’re sent but I still go hunting for my music… sometimes I might dedicate two or three days to this alone… you have to, there’s so much great music out there.
Pictured: Casio Social Club & Greg Wilson – Slide at Dex (London) 2010.
CHAIN D.L.K.: What came first, Mullet Records or Casio Social Club?
Justin Winks: Casio Social Club came first after I quit my full-time job as a designer. I then spent the best part of two years locked in the studio. I had so many musical ideas that were then spilling over into visual images and the whole Mullet sounds and identity began to take shape.
CHAIN D.L.K.: What convinced you to start your own label?
Justin Winks: I sent some early CSC demos out and had some good feedback but things were moving too slowly for me. I got fed up with waiting for labels to make up their mind, so I simply decided to go at it alone… and I’m so glad I did. I think in my heart I knew that I might have to start my own label but I was also worried that running a label would stop me from being creative and producing music, but my visual concept was so strong that I just had to go for it.
CHAIN D.L.K.: Your first 18 releases are on digital format only. Why did you opt for that formula and do you think that that will be the only way of distributing music in the future? Are you already using MP3’s when you dj?
Justin Winks: Whether we like it not, digital is the way forward, it’s as simple as that… and that’s coming from a guy that owns over 10,000 records. I love vinyl but I’m also a businessman and the risks involved in releasing physical product are just too high. This doesn’t mean to say that we never will, in fact we recently pressed 1000 CD copies of the “Tesla Boy – Modern Thrills” album, so I’m happy to go physical but only if the demand is there.
I do hope that one day file sharing becomes a thing of the past and that more people legitimately download. The sales figures for downloading are looking promising with the digital format now eclipsing physical, which is very encouraging.
Yeah, I’m also a huge fan of dj-ing digitally and have been using Traktor (originally Final Scratch) for many years which I love. Also for health reasons (my back) I decided to ditch the heavy record boxes and travel light with my laptop and sound card
Justin Winks: Hmmm good question. From the moment I heard Tesla Boy I knew they were going to be big. They’ve got it all – the song writing skills, the musicianship, the sharp image… it’s all there. It’s still early days for the Moscow boys but their debut album “Modern Thrills” has been greatly received and they’ve had a very successful Summer touring extensively throughout Europe. The next twelve months are critical and we will be working very hard to put Tesla Boy on the “global map”.
Tesla Boy might come across as Mullets “main horse” but all the artist are treated equally and there really is no preference as far as I’m concerned.
CHAIN D.L.K.: By the way, since they are Russian, how did you know them?
Justin Winks: I get asked this question a lot and the simple answer is… myspace!
CHAIN D.L.K.: Are you going to release any CD compilations of the past digital releases?
Justin Winks: Absolutely. Expect a 20/30 track compilation of Mullet’s finest moments so far, complete with a dj mix version by Casio Social Club.
CHAIN D.L.K.: Your label, as well as your style, find their roots in ’80s dance music. What are the elements that excite you the most about this?
Justin Winks: My god, how long have you got (haha)? Well, at around eleven years of age I was already heavily into ’80s New Wave artists like Depeche Mode, but then a friend of mine called Suzy Prior gave me a mixtape (which I still have to this day) that included tracks by Man Parrish, Orbit, Toney Lee, and D-Train… all of which completely blew my mind. I then went to my local record shop and bought anything on Morgan Khan’s “Street Sounds” label and anything on Tommy Boy records too.
From that moment I spent the next five years collecting Electro Funk & Disco records and it’s this sound that heavily influences Casio Social Club and the Mullet Records crew.
CHAIN D.L.K.: Mullets aren’t fashionable nowadays, and yet, since you wear one and you called your label after it… how much irony is there in what you do?
Justin Winks: Hahahaha… this is such a great question. Well I like to think the Mullet never goes out of fashion (haha), just go to any cool party and you will probably encounter a trendy take on an oldskool Mullet. But let’s face it, the Mullet (particularly the traditional ’80s Mullet) is quite possibly the most ridiculous hairstyle ever known to mankind and that’s why I love it so much… it simply makes me laugh and I hope that this image and the music behind Mullet Records puts a big smile on peoples faces.
If Mullet does leave a legacy, then I hope that above all else, the music and images make you smile and touch your heart! :o)
CHAIN D.L.K.: I read that in Russia, 80s dance sounds have a huge following. Do you think you’ll ever bring your music there?
Justin Winks: Yeah I heard this too. Apparently 80s pop is still really big on the radio stations over there too. I’d love to dj in Moscow… wearing a Mullet wig of course.
CHAIN D.L.K.: Do you have a standard way of working with remixes? What is your approach to remixing someone else’s music?
Justin Winks: My approach to remixing is to add my trademark sound. The tempo will often vary but I have a library of patches that I always incorporate into all of my productions and remixes.
CHAIN D.L.K.: I read that this year you’ll release the first Casio Social Club album. What can you tell about it?
Justin Winks: It’s on it’s way! :o)
CHAIN D.L.K.: What’s next for Mullet Records?
Justin Winks: Next up on Mullet we have the superb ‘Baxter – In Between’ (Remixed) album which consists of seven top class remixes by the likes of Tad Wily, Casio Social Club, Sare Havlicek, Estate, Chaz Bronz, ODahl & Nuvo Rich. Which is out in the stores this coming Monday 27th Sept. Juno Download Link
visit Mullet Records on the web at: