To say that Steve Mensink is a busy man would be a bit of an understatement. In 2015, he released three EPs and a double LP under his main moniker Frits Wentink, a slew of EPs under different names and also released records by others on his own labels (yes, plural) – all while playing DJ sets all over Europe. And guess what, the self-proclaimed occasional workaholic even found the time to record a podcast for Groove to round off this year with a fine selection of sleazy, hazy, warm House tunes – including some exclusive cuts by himself, of course.
You have produced under a variety of names such as your real name Steve Mensink, Urkelle or, most prominently, Will & Ink. What’s the difference between any of those and what characterises the music you make under the Frits Wentink moniker?
Don’t forget Felix Lenferink! Actually, all of the names were side projects and I’m not really planning to releasing anything for those anymore. The serious and active projects are Will & Ink and Frits Wentink. Plus another name that has done 3 releases so far, but I’d like to still keep that one a secret. Will & Ink is basically Techno, but a bit more funky than all that space-drone bullshit that’s still flooding the market. When I started the label, it was regarded as bass influenced Techno. I think that’s spot on. Frits is just house. And the wonderful thing about house is that it’s Disco Funk Jazz Soul Hip Hop influenced dance music. So I can take it to a lot of directions.
2015 has been a busy year for you – you released several records, among them a whole album, have been touring as a DJ and also have taken care of two labels at once. How do you manage to do all that at once?
I can be a workaholic from time to time. I mean, if I have the inspiration to do something, then that is the only thing I think about. I have heard others call me a fast worker, but I’m not really. I lock my self up in the studio a lot, and spend at least 10 hours a day 6 days a week. If I do that for 4 weeks, then I’m pretty sure I have another EP ready. I need to put that pressure on. If I can’t be creative or deliver I start to feel really bad. Running the labels isn’t that much work. The most energy goes into worrying about money and release dates. It doesn’t really generate revenue, its all about managing losses in the right way and be able to put the music out that I love. And it’s gotten a bit busy on the vinyl market at the moment, so planning and making sure a release date is actually the biggest concern.
You haven’t been actively releasing music until 2011, it seems. Have you made music before, or even released records under yet some more different pseudonyms?
I remember in primary school, I was the guy to speak to if you wanted beats to rap over. So ever since I think the age of 10, I found my ways expressing myself on synths and drum computers. I have always taken it very serious, although when I found an old minidisc from 1999, I couldn’t help myself laughing really hard. I have been making music for a long time, but only found it worth releasing my tracks around 2009. But then the effing struggle to work with labels began. I think I did at least 4 EPs for different labels that where completely finished, everything from titles to track order. And then the label kept delaying the release date and eventually cancelled the whole project, with a painful radio silence in between. For Frits, it basically landed when I started working with Wolf Music Recordings. They were the first in the business to really treat me with respect, and still do up to this day.
This must sound very common to new producers, labels stalling and not being honest. So having experienced this, i feel so grateful of having my own two labels. I control my output, big thing. And for the artists I sign I feel I treat them and their work with respect.
Did you have a specific concept for this mix in mind?
Not really, it’s basically what I would play out when doing a gig. See it as a set of tracks that I find inspiring at the moment that fitted together well enough to end up in a 60 min mix. And there are some Frits Wentink exclusives in this one, all planned for early 2016.
What’s next for you, on which project’s are you working on right now?
There will be a no-House-collage EP in soon on the Bobby Donny label. It’s two sides, about 20 tracks in 25 minutes, no pauses, no tracklist, just a collage of sounds. And I just finished a 4 track EP for Detroit Swindle’s Heist label. Its set to release in January 2016. Just received the masters, really happy with this one. Last but not least is another EP for Wolf Music Recordings. It contains 3 remixes by myself of myself. It’s basically a house edition of the downtempo album tracks.
Stream: Groove Podcast 49 – Frits Wentink
Download (MP3, 320 kBit/s, 56:51 Min., 130 MB)
1. Nu Guinea – Exotica Dance Club
2. Leigh Morgan – Sandy Peanuts (Frits Wentink Remix)
3. Max Graef – Tittenkuschler
4. Unknown – Unknown
5. Frits Wentink – Etna Deline
6. Rio Padice – Marea
7. Jaw Jam – You That Guy Who Tells
8. Unknown – Unknown
9. Unknown – Unknown
10. Henry Wu – Croydon Depot
11. Unknown – Unknown
12. Black Booby – Fanfare
13. Unknown – Unknown