Label Profile: Ed Banger

Toasting its 10th anniversary...
Busy P

Nobody is quite sure why, but for some reason the French dance scene took a quantum leap forward 10 years ago.

Ed Banger Records has without a doubt been at the forefront of this revolution, with the likes of Justice, Cassius and Breakbot having conquered dancefloors the world over with their far-reaching grasps of the electronic spectrum.

Despite the label's variation of styles, from disco to dubstep, the 'Ed Banger sound’ is a mysterious quality that can’t quite be re-created by anyone else outside of their exclusive roster.

Pedro Winter aka Busy P (pictured) is the man behind it all: the one-time Daft Punk manager, who founded the label back in 2003, has turned Ed Banger Records into one of the most influential and exciting independents around.

In the wake of 'Ed Rec Vol. X', a 10th anniversary compilation released earlier this summer, Clash caught up with the head honcho to discuss life lessons, what the future holds, and of course, Daft Punk.

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So Pedro, Ed Banger celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. When you look at the label now, is it how you imagined it would be when you started?
Honestly I never imagined we'd take the label where it is today. I don't think we've reached the top of the world yet, but we are in a very cool situation. We are free to do what we want, when we want, how we want, and to enjoy life. The key thing is the freedom we've reached.

What's the most important thing you have learned during the last 10 years?
The first chapter with Daft Punk was the perfect introduction to the music business world. But the most important thing I learned is to enjoy what I'm doing. I feel very lucky to run to my office and to do fun stuff.

Why did you want to start a label in the first place?
It was kind of an accident. I met Mr Flash and he played me 'Radar Rider', which became the first ever Ed Banger release. I enjoyed playing the label manager, so I decided to continue, and then I met Justice...

Justice arguably took you to that next level back in 2007, and helped make you one of the most influential labels in the world. As they got increasingly famous, did you find it tough to compete with the major labels?
I've never been into competition. Even when I was skateboarding, I never competed. Well, only once, and I ended up last... We run the label with our own tools and vision. I love the music business but I don't consider myself a businessman. In fact, I run the label as if it was a skateboard brand. Sounds weird, I know!

Although you were making waves in France years before, that time saw Ed Banger really make an impact on the world stage. Would you say you were you prepared for that?
You're never prepared for this kind of stuff. I believe in what I do, but I don't do it to become number one, or the best. I do this whole thing for my personal pleasure, because I'm very selfish at the end of the day. I am entertaining myself, in fact!

The 'Ed Banger sound' has become your calling card. Is there anything you particularly look for when signing new artists?
I love this question. The 'Ed Banger sound' is what people are hearing. Mr Oizo and DJ Mehdi are not making the same music, Justice and Krazy Baldhead are from two different worlds, sebastiAn and Mickey Moonlight are both from the dark side, but they are making yin and yang music. I agree on the 'funky noisy' sound of Justice and Sebastian or Mr Oizo, but the label is not only about that. One thing I know, we managed to bring hip-hop kids, indie nerds and techno heads all together in the same club, and that's what makes me happy.

Who are you most excited about on your roster at the moment?
Breakbot should shine more. When I see the love for Daft Punk's disco return, about which I'm very happy, I feel that Breakbot could get a bit more love, too. I'm also excited by the release of Mr Flash's first album... I've been waiting for it for 10 years!

'Ed Rec Vol. X' came out recently. Do you feel it embodies the label at the moment, or is it more a celebration of the last decade?
It's definitely a look at tomorrow, and not yesterday! I did not want to do a 'Best Of' compilation. We'll do that when we're dead!

The last official 'Ed Rec Vol...' release was back in 2008. Why has there been such a wait between compilations?
It was just a question of wanting it or not. As I keep saying, we are free. We can decide to launch a compilation series and then stop it after two or three volumes. Maybe there will never be an 'Ed Rec Vol. 11', who knows.

With so much hype on Daft Punk over the last few months it would be stupid of us not to ask you about 'Random Access Memories'. Do you feel it has changed electronic music, like we were promised?
'Random Access Memories' (Clash review) has nothing to do with electronic music. Daft Punk are playing in another league and they are killing it. Asking if Daft Punk is changing the game is wrong. They did change the game years ago, and today Cashmere Cat, Canblaster, Para One and Hudson Mohawke are the ones who are pushing the boundaries.

Do you 'Random Access Memories' will affect Ed Banger Records, and the sound of your artists?
Cassius have been recording live drums and pianos for years; Breakbot's love for disco is not new. 'Random Access Memories' is amazing, but only Daft Punk could make it. The budget was unlimited. And again, that's another thing that we can't compare our adventure to. They influenced all of us, that's the most important thing, but now we are in 2013.

Outside of your roster, who are you predicting big things for at the moment?
Mykki Blanco is the hottest thing this year. Lil Wayne meets Boy George. I would have loved to sign him!

And finally, what do the next 10 years hold for Ed Banger Records?
I have no clue, and that's what's good. I'd sound boring if I was planning everything.

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'Ed Rec Vol. X' is out now. Find Ed banger Records online here.

Words: Elliot Mitchell

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