This is the second installment of the serial project presented by PKCZ®, a creative collective consisting of EXILE MAKIDAI, Alan Shirahama, VERBAL and DJ DARUMA. In this series, the members interview with DJs and music producers from all over the world about the current situation and future of the club scene in the Post-Covid era. With the number of events that audiences can physically visit and enjoy decreasing dramatically, what does the future hold for club music?
This time, we were joined by Pedro Winter, who runs Ed Banger Records, an electronic record label from Paris, France, and also works as DJs under the name Busy P Pedro has been in contact with DJ DARUMA for about 15 years, and he continues to send out great music to the world with his unchanging stance. He was in a good mood on the day of the interview.
People want to dance in clubs and want music
Busy P / Pedro Winter (Hereinafter Pedro): Oh la la! Long time no see!
DJ DARUMA: Since this is your first appearance on TOKION, can you introduce yourself?
Pedro: Sure! My name is Pedro Winter, I’m 46 years old, from Paris. I am also known as BUSY “MOTHER FUCKIN B!”[laughs]. I run Ed Banger Records, an electronic record label started in 2003 and is now in its 18th year.
I worked with Daft Punk for 12 years, from 1996 to 2008. I love my friends, I love electronic music, and I’ve been DJing since 1995. That’s it!
DARUMA: Japan is still having a tough time with the Corona disaster, how is the club scene and festivals in France?
Pedro: Clubs in Paris reopened this summer after a year-long down period, which is not the case with all of them though. Not all the clubs operate at full capacity. Instead, there are a lot of outdoor parties going on, which is great. Last week I DJ’d at a new party in Paris called Elektric Park Festival for which 15000 people showed up and I played B2B with Molécule. It was a great party and I hope we can do it in Tokyo someday.
In France, most people have been vaccinated and you need a QR code or some other proof of vaccination to go to a club or festival. The most famous club in Paris, the Rex Club, is reopening this weekend, and the situation is slowly becoming as normal as before. What I’ve realized is that people music and want to dance in clubs. People want to go to energetic and positive parties where they can feel the the touches of humanity. Pandemic has certainly changed us, but I think our love for electronic music has not.
DARUMA: Thank you! Nevertheless, there must be something that has changed after the pandemic. What do you think?
Pedro：Of course the club scene has changed after corona pandemic. But to be honest I don’t really know what’s going on yet because I’ve just played my set at a festival for the first time in a long time. Yesterday, I finally went to the Sébastien Tellier’s concert on the first day of the reopening of the venue, which reminded me of a joy of going out for appreciating music. In other words, it made me realized that how lucky we were to be able to go to the club and have a party without any constraint before the corona pandemic. I hope to do as much as I can do now, because this situation will end in the near future. If we can go back to the life we had before, I’m sure we will realize that the experience of enjoying clubs and parties is invaluable.
We keep doing what we want to do and keep our love for music
DARUMA: Ed Banger Records is as active as ever, how is it these days?
Pedro: 2021 has been a great year for Ed Banger Records with a lot of releases. (He brings out the records) This are Busy P’s remix of Masters At Work, and Laurent Garnier, Myd, Gaspard Augé, Mr. Oizo, Mad Rey, Omar S, Breakbot, and the label’s first compilation. The compilation was released on vinyl only. We also have a record of songs from the fashion show of my friend’s French brand Études, and there’s also a record “CHANEL ELECTRO“, which was made in collaboration with Chanel. As this year is our 18th year, I think it is an important year for us to reconsider the future of a label. And this is an exclusive new project. I made a book called “CHAOTIC HARMONY” which is a collection of photos of house and techno music T-shirts.
DARUMA: Oh, that’s sick! I’ve seen a book of hip-hop t-shirts, but never seen such one!
Pedro: I also have a publishing house called Headbangers Publishing, and this will be coming out soon (it’s on sale now). So, I’m very very busy [laughs].
DARUMA: What’s the secret to keeping your creativity and cool sense of style embodied by Ed Banger Records?
Pedro: We try not to overthink. We just keep doing what we want to do and keep the love of music alive. There are only two or three of us in the office at any given time, and we’re a small family. And the most important thing is to keep releasing records consistently. It’s been 18 years since I started the label. I’ve been in music industry for 25 years if I include the period during which I was in charge of management of Daft Punk. And I’ve been releasing the music constantly. I’m still doing the same thing I was doing 15 years ago when I met you, DARUMA. I’m older now, wearing the glasses, but I still have the same passion and energy. Some artists have become famous after releasing records from our label, and others continue to work in the underground scene. I like electronic music because, although it has become more mainstream than it used to be, it still has underground feeling. It’s global, alternative, musical, and philosophical, and is linked to fashion. I think that’s what electronic music shares with us.
DARUMA：A long time ago, I organized a party at a club in Shibuya which was run by French manager. Although I didn’t know Pedro yet, you jumped in and played Justice’s Waters Of Nazareth. Do you remember that? I remember listening to it for the first time and being blown away by the noisy electronic music.
Pedro: Was it in 2005? At that time, dance music had a rock ‘n’ roll energy, and Paris was the place where rock, hip-hop, and electronic music came together. At that time, Justice was the best in terms of their musical quality.
DARUMA: In my opinion, the origin of the genre “electro” is Paris. After the release of Daft Punk’s 3rd album “Human After All”, the trend has definitely changed. Pedro, what do you think about the beginning of electro?
Pedro: Daft Punk’s third album, as well as the French electronic music scene of that time, has had a great influence on today’s music producers. Between the end of the 1990s and 2021, French electro entered a new chapter, and Daft Punk is a significant part of that movement.
DARUMA: I watched a documentary about Colette (a popular boutique in Paris that closed at the end of 2017), and I thought Pedro was always at the center of street culture.
Pedro: Colette was very important, the store started in 1997 and Daft Punk’s “Homework” was released that year, so Colette and Daft Punk lit up Paris in a way. There was so much energy and creativity in Paris that year. I’m a lucky boy! I’m always in the right place at the right time.
DARUMA: Everything Pedro was involved has grown bigger. You always make great choices.
Pedro: I’m in a position to choose the artists, but they also choose me to work with them. It’s a mutual good choice. I’m very lucky to work with talented, unique, and amazing artists like Daft Punk, DJ Mehdi, Cassius, Justice, Mr. Oizo, Breakbot, Sébastien Tellier, and the most recently, Myd. I’m playing the role of something like a sponge in the relationship with all of them. I get their good vibes and see what I can do.
Daft Punk closed the book of their own story by themselves
DARUMA: I’m going to ask this in the context of this conversation, but I think everyone in the world wants to ask this question to you, Pedro. It’s about how you see the breakup of Daft Punk.
Pedro: Like everyone else, I found out about their story on YouTube on the day the video came out. And I called Thomas Bangalter and he called me back and explained it to me. I was very sad like everyone else, they are great artists with a 28-year career and always brought a positiveness to the scene. So I have nothing but good memories with them. They closed a book of their story on their own.
Thomas is already making his own music as Thomas and Guy-Man (Guillaume Emmanuel “Guy-Manuel” de Homem-Christo) is already making his own music as Guy-Man. The best thing for fans is that their music is still going on. Also, people are starting to write books about Daft Punk. I met an Englishman the other day who wrote a book about Daft Punk’s Discovery.
DARUMA : Do you think there is a possibility that they will release works under their own names in the future?
Pedro : Thomas is writing a song for ballet dance, and Guy-Man is also writing music. But I don’t know if it will be released.
DARUMA: Thank you. Next, I’d like to ask you about hip-hop, tell me about what you know about past and how hip-hop influenced you in your youth.
Pedro: As far as hip-hop goes, my first introduction to it was Run DMC. I went to Canada on vacation and brought back some music as a souvenir, and I fell in love with Run DMC right away. And of course, the Beastie Boys. I was lucky enough to live in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the best era of hip-hop, so I liked Bad Boy Entertainment (now known as Bad Boy Records) and Notorious B.I.G., who all went mainstream. But I liked underground hip-hop more. Most of them were based in New York, and I became interested in producers like DJ Premier and J. Dilla. Now I also like Timbaland, The Neptunes, Nas, Busta Rhymes, and other hip-hop from the era I listened to a lot more than the latest hip-hop. I used to love listening to hip-hop when I was a teenager. I would listen to the songs and be influenced by the stories of drug dealers and their beefs. I still like to play hip-hop when I DJ, and I still like to listen to it.
DARUMA: In Japan, young people are really into hip-hop, especially domestic rap music, but how about in France? Are there any French rappers you would recommend?
Pedro: The situation is the same in Paris, hip-hop is the most popular among kids. Electronic music is not trendy anymore, hip-hop is incredibly popular. I don’t listen to French hip-hop that much myself, but there is one artist that I like. His name is Benjamin Epps, and I just went to visit his studio the other day, and he is a genius! He’s 25 years old and has a great all-school flow with which he can rap like the Notorious B.I.G. I discovered him when I was listening to RADIO NOVA, an underground radio station. The moment his song came on, I became hooked on his music. He is the only French hip-hop artist that I like. His mellow tracks are very good.
DARUMA: Wow! That sounds really interesting. In Japan, there’s a hip-hop crew called NAMEDARUMA, who also rap on mellow tracks and is very popular. They also collaborate with Pedro’s favorite brand “Wako Maria”.
I like house and techno because they’re innovative and avant-garde
DARUMA: Next, let’s talk about house and techno. Tell us about your past in relation to it and the influence from house and techno that you listened to in your youth.
Pedro : I was skateboarding in the early 1990’s, and one of my friends at the time invited me to a rave, so I went to my first rave in 1992. I was blown away by the energy of all the young people in their 20’s listening to music and dancing at the same time. I felt a total freedom. I had a magic time there and got into the electronic music culture, not to mention the music itself.
DJ’s were using sampling machines, drum machines, and other technologies to create beats and songs which I listened to on underground radio and went to record stores to buy. I fell in love with them. Twenty-five years later, I still love the movement, and I listen to as much electronic music as I can every day, looking for new discoveries from ones which are released. I still love house and techno because they are always been innovative and avant-garde.
DARUMA: It seems like 4 by 4 grooves as exemplified by house and techno are heating up again in Europe these days, how do you feel about it?
Pedro : After the wave of Ed Banger Records, new genres came out, and in the U.S. there was the loud and noisy EDM movement, which led to increased interest from audiences in Japan and Europe to EDM music. But now it’s becoming normal again, and people are looking for a back-to-the-roots feel or a kind of house music we used to like, such as Kerri Chandler or Masters At Work, rather than vigorous type of music. Black Coffee and Peggy Gou are playing soulful house music. I feel like house is coming back to life.
DARUMA：Yeah! That’s what we feel as well. Let’s change the subject a bit and ask a personal question. How’s your life as a dad?
Pedro: It’s great! DARUMA, you’re a dad too. Life as a father is great! It’s a full time job [laughs].
DARUMA: Haha, yeah.
Pedro: (Bringing the record jacket) My daughter drew this, and we’re teaching her music. When she comes to the studio, she sees and touches the music machines. Oh, by the way, you have been to our office, right?
DARUMA: Of course! Yes, I have!
(Pedro walks around the office and introduces the objects around him)
PEDRO: This is the original Daft Punk “Homework”.
DARUMA: Yeah! That’s so sick! Oh, by the way, DJ Mhedi’s kid is getting really big.
Pedro: He’s 15 now! This picture is of Medi’s son, me, and Nile Rodgers. So that’s what our office looks like. Anyway, I miss Japan and I miss my Japanese friends. I hope to see you in 2022. Until then, I want to bring my love to everyone in Japan.
Also, and this is very important for us, I would like to express my deepest condolences from our French family regarding BIG-O. We are very sad. He was a shining star who influenced us too.
DARUMA: Yes…. I also still can’t believe that Osumi is gone.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule today. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in Tokyo.