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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Winter Music Conference was the cream of the crop of conferences. Every label owner, label A&R, DJ and artist knew they had to go network at the Fontainebleau where the conference was hosted. The conference was not only one of the most important time of the year as it relates to dance music but it was also a place where records were broken and became summer hits. Some of my best DJ memories are from the events I played during WMC in the last 20 years.

Erick Morillo

DJ / Producer / Label Boss - Subliminal Records

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

The Winter Music Conference represents a chance for Beatport to connect directly with our customer community. Having a strong conference means we have a platform to embrace the entire spectrum of electronic music culture. We are proud to support the resurgence of this great event.

Jonas Tempel

Beatport, Co-Founder

Before there was Ultra Music Festival, there was The Winter Music Conference, the annual coming together of the dance music tribes. Miami in March is a fundamental place to be from a business perspective, and has always given me endless opportunities for discovering new partnerships and talent. WMC brings together the dance music industry and surrounding culture like no other event in America. I’ve been attending WMC for nearly 20 years, and I’m very much looking forward to experiencing its evolution in 2019.

Matt Colon

Director, North America - YM&U Music