Ed Banger Records
We met up with Pedro Winter In Paris. DJ, Producer, former Manager of Daft Punk and
owner of the legendary french electro label, Ed Banger Records.
|WORDS: ANDERS REDDER NØRGAARD|
PHOTOS: ELIZABETH HELTOFT
INTERVIEW: VICTOR THOFT
When speaking to Pedro “Busy P” Winter, it quickly becomes pretty apparent that music runs through his veins. In his own words, he’s more busy than ever, ready to celebrate the 12th year anniversary of his record label Ed Banger Records. Situated in the same office in Paris as he started in fifteen years ago, Pedro “Busy P” is still fully committed to the record label that defines his creative career.
»We just re-did the entire office for the first time in fifteen years. We brought in a friend of ours who’s an architect that helped us keep it simple - you guys are actually the first ones to see it.
A lot of history in the electronic music scene went down in this room. Welcome!«
Pedro isn’t the like a regular CEO of a record label. Chatty, open-minded and casually dressed (it’s hard to imagine this guy wearing a suit and tie), the electronic mastermind has always done things in his own way.
Back in the late nineties, the Chicago based group Slum Village sampled Daft Punk’s track “Aerodynamic” without having the rights to the sample. »We heard the song, and to be honest with you I didn’t even realize they sampled us - but the brother of Guy Manual from Daft Punk was like “Guys, he sampled us”.«
Instead of doing the whole legal battle, Pedro picked up the phone and called the manager of Slum Village: »Hi, my name is Pedro, I’m the manager of Daft Punk. We love the track, so instead of doing the usual paperwork and having money exchanging hands, can’t you just do a remix of ‘Aerodynamic’?«
In the end, the unusual procedure paid off. »We ended up releasing it together. We did the artwork for the vinyl, having Daft Punk fighting Slum Village. And I think now, when J. Dilla have passed away, this is a beautiful story of what music is about: the culture of collaborating and sampling.«
For the past years, Pedro and his team at Ed Banger have been planning what’s next for the Paris-based record label. »We are having our comeback by the end of this year. All the artists have spent a great amount of time in the studio. Later this year we have a new album from BREAKBOT. And in the beginning of 2016 we are ready to announce the return of JUSTICE. Oh, and we also have a new Cassius-album coming out next year.«
»And to make you even more excited, work is in progress with Boston Bun, Sebastian and the rest of the crew - you can probably imagine that we are more busy than ever!«
Pedro is heavily influenced by a lot of different music. Growing up with hip hop and heavy metal, he’s a having a difficult time hiding his love for the combination of the two.
»I think the best thing that's happened to me music wise was to hear RUN DMC and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”. Them making a song together is what I’m about; putting things together that people think won’t work.«
»All the different influences is what define Ed Banger Records, but you’ll always find some heavy metal and hip hop references in our records. Right now JUSTICE are in the studio cooking on their thing. I can’t tell you much yet, but it’s going to be awesome. Cassius’s new album is going to be amazing too.«
Back in 1995, Pedro randomly bumped into two French blokes at a club in London. Pedro was tearing the dance floor apart with his moves while they were DJ’ing. Somehow they all three got into a conversation, started hanging out and quickly became friends. The two DJ’s were Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo og Thomas Bangalter, the duo behind house legends Daft Punk. Daft Punk made a proposal to Pedro, who at the time was studying law, to work with them as their manager. Pedro dropped out of law school and pursued a carrier in the music business. And the rest as they say, is history.
Speaking to Pedro, he doesn’t seem to regret his choice for a second. Conversely, his voice is buzzing when he get’s the chance to reflect on a career that has made an enduring impact on electronic music. »It’s quite amazing, right? Twelve years as a manager for Daft Punk, and soon a new twelve years with Ed Banger,« he says.
»Working with Daft Punk was a great foundation for starting my own thing. We obviously traveled the world a bunch of times, getting to know the people within the industry. I brought that experience with me when I founded Ed Banger Records. I got to know the right people from the right clubs and festivals, and that’s a pretty invaluable know-how to have. It makes it easier for me to navigate in the jungle of promoters, clubs and festivals when my label mates and artists are touring.«
The creative process
When signed to a label like Ed Banger, the artists shouldn’t worry about having to many strings attached to their work. Pedro trusts his intuition enough to give his musicians complete creative freedom in the evolvement of an album.
»We don’t force deadlines on the artist. They get into their creative groove and start doing their thing. Ten out of ten times what they come up with is excellent. At the moment we are prepping the big act’s albums, planning the campaigns and what comes with that. But we also try to push the smaller nameslike Boston Bun. At the moment I actually DJ a lot with Boston Bun, our style of DJ’ing just fits together.«
In so many ways, Pedro seems and acts like a rock star dressed as an aficionado of electronic music. He’s the type of DJ who likes to get on stage for the sake of his music and mixtapes - nothing else. Perhaps that’s why he mentions Tokyo as one of his favorite cities to play his tunes.
»I love to DJ in Tokyo! A lot of people think the Japanese are shy, but that’s completely wrong - when they go out, it’s not about being the guy with the table, the big bottles and fifteen girls who he’s not going home with. It’s about enjoying the moment and letting go of everything else besides the music, the room and the connection between people.«
Hard knock business
Running a record label would easily make even the coolest person dizzy. The music business is constantly evolving, and labels have to come up with ideas to stay competitive and fresh. Pedro shared some thoughts on how he keeps his business on the right track: »It’s great that the business is constantly changing. If you look at the past twenty years, the way we consume music has changed at least five times:
We’ve had the walkman, the discman, the CD’s and then the iPods. Now streaming is the new thing. And that’s great. What’s even better is when companies like B&O PLAY create the hardware to bring music on the go and gives us a great listening experience so we really can enjoy the music.«
»I really love the way we can share and listen to the music from our computers, smartphones and so on. Yesterday I watched Apple reveal Apple Music, and l thought to myself, when all is said and done, all these streaming services might actually make music a pretty viable business again - it’s just a matter of time.«
Current City: Paris
Occupation: DJ/Producer & Owner of Ed Banger Records