WMC Memory: How Winter Music Conference Helped Establish Nastymix Records and Sir Mix-A-Lot

Sunday, November 25th, 2018 |

The following tale about WMC is by Ramon Wells.

From the very moment that I started going to the Winter Music Conference, I was hooked. I was a Billboard chart reporting DJ, a radio station music director and on-air radio personality, Record pool director, a record store buyer—first in Portland, Oregon and then in Seattle, Washington.

I had already made friends in the business of music by attending New Music Seminars in New York and the Billboard Disco Conference in Los Angeles.

My earliest memories of the Winter Music Conference were the speakers on the panels, the subject matter was different than the New Music Seminar in that the Winter Music Conference focus was on the DJ. This made us feel loved, appreciated and the center of the conversation.

It was an opportunity to meet the who’s who of the dance music community, celebrities, network with the major record label representatives to help us get free promotional records for our record pools (a group of DJs), or get those special acetate records (prior to national release) to play at our clubs.

Fast forward, to about the second WMC, a couple of industry wannabes in Ed Locke and Seattle’s Urban Radio personality Nasty Nes Rodriguez, asked me if they could share my hotel room, that they would sleep on the floor, if need be? I invited them to stay with me. Indeed, they had to sleep on the floor.

At that WMC, Ed Locke (now Sheila Locke), asked me to come work for him in setting up Nastymix Records. I told him that he couldn’t afford me, beings as he was sleeping on MY hotel room floor.

Fast forward a few months, Ed Locke continued asking me to come help him set up his label for Sir Mix-A-Lot. I finally agreed.

At the following WMC, I believe it was in 1987, I ran into Dave Jurman of Sony/Columbia Records, who offered to help us in whatever way he could. I asked him for mailing lists to help us set up Nastymix Records as we were releasing “Square Dance Rap” by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Dave Jurman immediately hooked us up with mailing lists for college radio and DJs (he would later provide us with Pop Radio mailing lists). “Square Dance Rap” actually succeeded at Pop Radio due to Dave Jurman’s help.

This was the very beginning of WMC and of Nastymix/Sir Mix-A-Lot. The following year, in the 4th year of WMC, Nastymix street gear was on many attendees.

Our success at Nastymix was well documented with Sir Mix-A-Lot and it was because of WMC that I got the job, which in turn, helped to establish Nastymix Records and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

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I’m so glad to see WMC rebooted with such thoughtful content and first-class curation. It’s been a long time since the industry had a must-do American event and this is it. The reborn WMC!

Patrick Moxey

Ultra Music

Miami has always been a place I’ve considered home and WMC was essential for me and the label in many ways. From showcasing our new music to keeping up with all the new artists and releases. It was the official kickoff of the year and I’m happy to see it thriving again.

Louie Vega

DJ/Vega Records

Having only missed the very first year of WMC in 1985, it was 1986-1990 that initially placed me on the map globally due to the international attendance of the entire dance music community. All throughout the 90s I was often getting written about by various high profile mags and websites for having contributed to help break many artists, DJs, producers and remixers. WMC enabled me to bring many top industry people together all under one roof, especially at Groove Jet, where house music officially met Techno in my sets and it’s all been uphill since…TBC

Danny Tenaglia

DJ, Producer

WMC is and has always been the lifeblood of the dance music scene. Never missed a year since ’96, I can’t imagine Amsterdam Dance Event or Ibiza Music Summit existing without the blueprint that WMC originated. Seeing this revived is absolutely essential to reunifying the North American scene surrounding electronic music and its fringes.

Tommie Sunshine

Producer/DJ/Activist/Netflix Host

I first went to WMC ’87, the year I started Big Beat. It was an incredibly inspiring congregation of indie labels, DJs, artists, songwriters, producers and dance music lovers dedicated to breaking and discovering new music. WMC has been instrumental in furthering the dance and electronic cause; keeping the community connected, vital and relevant, and serving as an amazing springboard for talent. It’s a fantastic crucible for the future of dance music. Long may it live.

Craig Kallman

CEO & Co-Chairman Atlantic Records, Founder Big Beat Records