Interview: Justin Winks of Casio Social Club and Mullet Records
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Interview: Justin Winks of Casio Social Club and Mullet Records

Lets get into a funky groove. About two years ago I was eager for some new tunes to jive to. After exploring the iTunes world, I stumbled upon a DJ who has been making amazingly pleasing music and who also succeeded in bringing likeminded musicians into the fold. Through his musical project, Casio Social Club, Justin Winks has created a world of music that is perfect funk for us all. That’s not all, as the owner of Mullet Records he has also been able to enlist an army of funkadelic soldiers to broaden the danceable genre. With the excitement of his tunes going through my head, I sent out a note and Mr. Winks replied! He shared with me his journey through music and his place within a small yet powerful field.

I asked the legend to share his humble beginnings. “Well, to be honest I’ve always wanted to try my hand at the music game, but always questioned if I could be as good as my peers, but I got to a certain age and blew caution to the wind. Apart from my time (and occasional sanity) I had nothing to lose, and ended up really enjoying the exploration process of writing. It was great fun to see tracks gradually build and [it became] very addictive. Over that initial two-year period I must’ve written around 200 tracks, many of which I’ve now deleted, but I still have enough for another couple of albums or so.”

With that extensive collection of music in mind, I was curious to hear if he had any memorable pieces to date. “Ummm… Count Your Lucky Stars, my first ever track as Casio Social Club means a lot to me, as it helped secure my place as a Nu-Disco artist. This was also the first release on my label Mullet Records back in 2008, and it really helped cement Mullet as a new upcoming label. Also, we’ve just had the track remixed by a few of my fave producers, and then released the whole package as our ‘100th Mullet Records Release’ which was really well received by the press and download stores.”

Since then, he has had a wild ride. Justin shared with me his favorites. “Recently performing at parties in both Brazil and Columbia was a very special time for me, but there’s a UK based festival called Bestival that I’d really love to play at, as for me it’s simply the best dance music festival the UK has to offer.” Ok Bestival organizers, lets get serious here and bring Mr. Winks onboard. C’mon now…

Even though he has been enjoying his touring moments, not all are successful. I asked if he could recall a specific event. “Ha-Ha! Well, this wasn’t a performance as such, but more of a difficult time in which I endured one of the most stressful times I’ve ever encountered as a DJ, when I was due to play my first international gig as Casio Social Club. I was due to fly to Poland via an airline called Wizz Air. On arrival I noticed that the flight had been delayed by an hour or so, but each time I checked the board I noticed the flight time getting delayed further and further until it was over five hours late. In the end I had to call the promoter and cancel the gig as I simply wouldn’t have made it in-time. Needless to say that Wizz Air weren’t in my good books, and I’ve vowed never to fly with them again! My compensation was a three pounds food voucher… that I kindly told them to stick up their fucking asses!” Note to self do not fly Wizz Air…

Upon entering the crowded music space in a very specific genre, I wondered if Justin could give his thoughts on it all. “How long have you got? I seem to be spending more and more of my time talking about this topic, particularly as music seems to be some kind of free currency on the internet these days! It concerns me greatly that there’s a continuing number of very shady sites run by criminal gangs that give our music away for free but charge large corporate companies horrendous amounts of money to advertise on them. I hope that one day the Internet becomes a kinder place for artist’s music, as I for one have always paid for my music and really enjoy giving something back to the artist and label. I think it’s great that we have some amazing Internet based tools to help promote ourselves over social media, and that’s really exciting. I live in hope that being an artist isn’t ALL about touring and that artists can go back to immersing themselves in a studio for a few months to write a piece of work that’s really special. After all, isn’t that how classic albums like ‘Rumors’ where made?”

Beyond music, he has no plans. “I’m all for pushing things forward, but for me, it will always be about the music. That said I’ve decided to ‘go live’ and I’m currently in the process of building a live performance rig, so that I can be more flexible as a performer… that way I can either DJ or jam my productions live or both.”

With new ambitions on the way, he has some ideas of what he would like to do next in his music. “… I’ve grown-up around vocal based music, and love vocals, so it’s a real ambition of mine to create more vocal based music by collaborating with singer-songwriters. I also sing a little myself and am currently in the process of finishing a track where I sing lead vocals. If that goes well then I’ll sing more… watch this space I guess!”

To end, this madness of funk cannot simply come to life without some influences. I asked Justin if there were any artists out there that fuel his fire. “Oh jeez… LOTS! Outside of my label, I love artists like the Lovebirds and Todd Terje. In fact I’ve just returned from seeing Todd play at Bestival 2015. He absolutely smashed it and it was truly great to hear thousands of people singing along to Inspector Norse… it was quite a moment and very inspirational. My main inspiration comes from the like-minded artists that I’ve signed to my label, and in particular an artist called Joeblack from Brazil, who simply oozes class. Everything that boy touches turns to gold, it’s as simple as that!”

Speaking of gold, I have a real treat for you all. Justin was kind enough to create an exclusive new mix tape for Punchland. See and jam out below to the Casio Social Club wonder:

More music below for purchase:

Buy ‘Casio Social Club – Life in 3D’ on iTunes

Buy ‘Casio Social Club – Retromental’ on iTunes

Jam On.

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Written by Myles Hunt

Music fan, simple and sweet.

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