Just when electroclash was becoming a punch line and dance music threatened to turn moribund again, along came Ed Banger Records to give it another swift kick in the ass. Postmodern and ice-cool, the label's signature sound is equal parts electro-tech-house, hip-hop swagger, and punk-rock attitude and distortion. Its biggest stars include a barely legal nymphet who spits double-entendres over her boyfriend's bumping beats (Uffie). Then there are a couple of guys who shred indie hits into dance workouts and often perform in front of a flashing cross (Justice). In short, Ed Banger can seem like something of a circus.
Pedro Winter, AKA Busy P, is the ringleader, running the label from a small office in Paris's hilly Montmartre neighborhood, where he has also lived for about a decade. The 31-year-old's English is flawless but musically accented and infused with a typically French, dry, world-weary wit. With long, shaggy hair and a wardrobe heavy on psychedelic-print hoodies and thrift-store oddities, even his appearance reflects the Ed Banger fuck-you to the world of slick, corporate dinosaur DJs.
"The mix between rock and electro is not new," Winter says. "The Rapture and DFA did it a few years ago. What they did was really rock for dance people. We are making dance music that rocks people. The music we are publishing is mostly electronic music made on a computer but the parties we throw look more like rock concerts, with people stage-diving, than a rave."
As a producer, Busy P infuses his own tracks with a heavy dose of hip-hop sass as well. Built around breaks sometimes pushed to breakneck speed, sample after chirping sample orders dancers into various body formations before cutting away to a guitarlike crunch or a squelching acid line. The result is irresistibly cheeky, down to song titles like "Colette, c'est chouette" (Colette being the high-minded Paris design/lifestyle store and chouette being a very uncool way to say something is cool).
As trendy as his sound and stable may be among early adopters with expensive bedhead, Winter is convinced of their staying power.
"I am here to propose something we will be able to talk about in five or ten years," he says. "We have a lot of influences from rock but also from hip-hop. We are a big mix of stuff instead of only putting together electronic music and rock, which was electroclash. It's like the ingredients of a pizza. Electroclash, that was like a two-topping pizza. But we, we have many ingredients; we are a king pizza!"
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