In 2006, the names Pedro Winter or Ed Banger probably wouldn’t mean much to anyone in Australia, short of a few early adopters and promoters. By 2007, those names had become synonymous with dance music. Pedro, better known to many as Busy P, the head of Ed Banger Records and former manager of Daft Punk, has become an icon of the scene.
Celebrating 10 years as a label, Pedro calls me from his family home in Spain to discuss all things Ed Banger and what the music has come to represent for him and the many fans that have supported his work.
Pedro Winter: “I’ve been doing this all my life, DJing and working DJing at night and working during the day. It’s what excites me and keeps me alive in a way because I would be fed up just being a guy working a label and I would be fed up just being a DJ, traveling the world. And now I can even tell you I am a daddy now, so this is a new job I have and I feel this is the luck of my life, being able to mix all this because I think I would be fed up just sitting down in my office signing artists. What I like is doing all those different things.”
The name Busy P is not just a clever moniker but something that came from Pedro’s hectic lifestyle, often seeing him juggling four phones at once. Before Ed Banger, Pedro was promoting clubs and managing arguably the biggest name in music.
PW: “Ed Banger is the second chapter in my music life. The first chapter was, of course, my work with Daft Punk. When I started to push that button I didn’t know that these two guys would become the biggest rockstars in music, which is happening today. Even though I’m not working with them, I’m impressed with what we achieved, and with Ed Banger it is the same, but on a different level.
“But, of course, I didn’t know at all that we’d make this label for 10 years, travel the world and do the music we are doing. In a way, it paved the way for electric music today in terms of mixing the genre and bringing people together. I think with Ed Banger, the success is our work and our passion but of course the key of being there, at the right time, in the right spot.”
2007 was the year Ed Banger turned EDM on its head and brought dance music to the forefront of modern youth culture. Pedro reflects on that time and how the relationship with Ed Banger’s fans helped catapult the crew into the spotlight.
PW: “I don’t take responsibility for it. We are part of this movement, it is just what people wanted and were ready to listen to. When you look at Australia and the momentum of the electronic scene and festivals, I think we grew up at the same time. This is what makes our relationship, to me, so special. I can say it about Australia but I can say it about America too. I think the audience was ready for our sound and we needed that.
“I think we were the key to open the door for a lot of people to discover electronic music but not the boring side of electronic. Electronic music can be quite cold and we were the opposite. We were opening our arms, we were up dancing all around, stage diving, smiling, having fun. I think people were more excited by this.”
With the never-ending string of Twitter wars between DJs over who is real, who is relevant and who deserves to be on the main stage, it brings to question where Pedro sees himself and his label fitting in amongst the hype.
PW: “This is what is funny – the difference between how people see Ed Banger and what the reality is. I’ve been speaking with some of my friends in Australia, a lot of people are saying, ‘How is it to be important in dance music and one of the biggest labels?’ I hope we are but I feel very sour about what the dance industry is today. I don’t relate at all to all those headliner DJs, doing stadium shows. We are not on the same… What is the generation calling it? EDM? I don’t want to be part of this. I definitely don’t want to be part of this.
“The new compilation we are doing is to tell everybody, ‘We are Ed Banger. We are 10 years old. We are proud and strong as ever but we are not part of this circus. We are producing something different.’ Maybe some young kids may not understand why there is no more stage diving. Because we don’t need this anymore. We’ve been doing banging music since 2007 and now it’s 6 years later. We want to propose something else.
“The EDM scene today does not interest me and this is where I feel we fit. We are completely free. We’ve managed to still do shows, for example in London for our birthday, we invited Trevor Jackson, 2manydjs, Erol Alkan and Skream… on the same stage and I felt very lucky that I managed to bring those different acts together for a celebration. But I more relate to those artists than I do the headliners from dance festivals.
“There is definitely a scene. James Murphy, Boys Noize… This part of electric music excites me way more. You don’t see any more Erol Alkan’s, or even 2manydjs headlining festivals. Now you have some new names like Avicii. Three years ago, he wasn’t there. They really built his career and name in three years. I don’t want our fans to… I will be surprised if fans of Ed Banger are fans of Avicii.”
On the other side of the world, far from the pulse of this scene, Australia is waiting for official details of their recently teased Sydney stopover.
PW: “I don’t plan stuff too much ahead, we are in June right now and I can’t really tell you exactly when we will be in Australia, whether it will be September, October or November. For sure it is going to be one of those months, but we are still working on it. I don’t want to plan too much at the front.
“For sure we’ll get Justice with a DJ set and Breakbot live and myself with my Ed Banger Megamix.
“We set up a show with a giant screen. We are playing only Ed Banger music for one hour and the idea is to show the music that maybe people don’t really know. Of course people know the hits of everybody but in my megamix I try to put the values in our other stuff.”
As my 15 minutes come to an end, the only thing sitting in the back of my mind is, “After the tour, what is next for Ed Banger?”
PW: “As I said, I don’t like to plan so I don’t have much idea. We have this compilation, I set up a new studio in Paris so for sure you will get some more beats. I’m going to release my single, called Still Busy. There is one track on the compilation, and I am releasing another track on the EP then probably an album in 2014. Definitely more albums and more books. We just released the book from SoMe.
“So what’s next for Ed Banger? Some more music and some more fun.”