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Busy P - In Party He Trusts

Author: Tristan Burke
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Ed Banger boss and former manager of Daft Punk, Busy P can justifiably claim to be the godather of French electronica. Not that he would, as 3D’s Tristan Burke discovers; it’s just not his style.

“We need you guys to get crazy… Can we have some girls on the shoulders of the boys- There’s a girl showing her tits! Oh, that was just my dream, sorry…”

Meet Pedro Winter. Or as he insisted a Toronto throng call him back in March, while preluding a main event of biblical proportions in his protégés Justice, ‘Busy Motherfuckin’ P.’ His attitude towards crowd control is evidently every bit as relaxed as you’d expect from the founding father of Ed Banger; a label seemingly born from that magical evening fun and bass shot for one night in heaven, got greedy and recruited distortion for a three-way.

Birthing the likes of SebastiAn, Uffie and of course religious symbolism-heavy duo Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, Ed Banger has defined modern electro, infusing it with new blood. Busy P may admit dispensing with his original intention to only release artists’ debut albums, but the label’s championing of fresh acts is indisputable.

And in Justice lie the roots of Ed Banger’s dominance; specifically the judgement day the Parisian pair made an era tremble by parting the Waters Of Nazareth. An undoubted departure from their debut, Simian remix Never Be Alone (later re-released with the chorus-line friendly moniker We Are Your Friends), even Busy P admits he was dubious upon a first listen. “To be perfectly honest I was like, ‘what’s this- What’s wrong with you guys-’” he concedes, clearly expecting a tune more in-line with the euphoric electro-house of Justice’s intro.

Three years on from Waters Of Nazareth’s original 12 Inch release, Ed Banger’s foothold may have strengthened, but with only one debut LP (Justice’s juggernaut Cross) among its full-length credits, Busy P’s clearly in no rush to pander to demand. “I’m trying to plan some stuff but it’s so complicated, you know…” he begins, in truth sounding about as stressed as Serge Gainsbourg cutting vocals on J’taime. “Some artists are touring all the time, or they start something in the studio and aren’t happy with it; it’s difficult.”

Touring does have it merits, however, and Busy P enjoys the distinction of having managed two acts responsible for the most talked about live shows in recent memory: Daft Punk and Justice. Although Winter no longer manages the former – “I quit working with them recently to concentrate 100 percent on Ed Banger” he discloses – he was in the driver’s seat when the human robots announced they were Alive after nearly a decade’s absence by headlining Coachella in 2006.

Transplanting a pyramid into the Sahara tent, they seamlessly blended their hits in an orgy of lights and music, which bar the omission of Digital Love (“It just naturally didn’t fit in” assures Pedro to those fearing Daft Punk might have some aversion to the fan-favourite) was a snapshot of perfection.

Those lucky enough to bear first-hand witness to the resurrection could’ve died happy right there. Busy P counts himself among them. “I was in the middle of the crowd for that gig,” he remembers. “Before they came on, I was like, ‘Oh fuck…’ Then when they came on, I was like ‘Oh shit…’ And I cried. Same with Justice, their first live show; obviously I knew about it but I didn’t know it would be that strong, that intense.”

There’s an undeniable poetry to only a year separating Daft Punk, the old guard’s return from ‘heirs apparent’ Justice’s live debut, who pedalled Marshall Amp madness in the same tent the following year.  It’s not lost on Busy P, although he’s adamant the credit belongs to fortune not judgement. “You can’t plan these things, and it usually works out wrong for those who try. I’m really happy and proud, and it’s true I realise how important it was, but it wasn’t planned. 2006/07… it was just perfect luck and perfect timing; being at the right place at the right time.”

Winter frequently attributes success to an unforeseen alignment of factors. When Ed Banger’s fanbase truly exploded, so began a cult craze that saw electroheads walk the walk, do the D.A.N.C.E and literally buy the T-shirt (designs courtesy of Ed Banger’s creative director So Me). And while it’s difficult not to view the phenomenon as a carefully orchestrated assault on pop-culture by a crafty veteran, Pedro tends to adopt a ‘Blasé P’ alter ego when pressed on the subject. “I don’t plan much,” he repeats. “So Me was the first stone; I really wanted the label to have a strong style. But what came from that was really an accident, or a natural evolution.”

As with any great success story, however, there’s potential for backlash, with some aggressively contrary listeners already sounding Ed Banger’s death knell. A fact that again, its principal takes in his stride. “For some people Ed Banger is already over, it’s become too mainstream or whatever, but while we may be losing some early fans, we’re replacing them with new ones.”

Boasting exclusive tracks from every artist on the roster save Vicarious Bliss, latest compilation Ed Rec III certainly deserves to see more fans support the Ed Banger cause. Its energy is as infectious as the label’s ethos: party tunes without parameters. “There are no rules,” Busy P explains, “I give the artists complete freedom, no particular style or direction; everyone can do whatever they want.”

As a music lover first and foremost, it’s obvious Pedro never strays too far from the action though. Be it his own stable, or maintaining a keen eye on former charges Daft Punk’s exploits. And yes, there are actual exploits. Over three years since Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo’s misunderstood LP Human After All, the boys are finally toiling on a follow-up. “They’re back in the studio and working hard,” Winter confirms. “It’s funny, usually they just work from home but this time they’re actually in the studio in Paris.”

Whatever the result of Daft Punk’s endeavours, or Ed Banger’s future output, take one thing as certainty: Busy P will experience it exactly the same as the rest of us. “That’s the amazing thing about the music…” he waxes, “you can be the manager, the best friend or the producer, but the minute the album’s out, or the show starts, you’re just like everybody else.”

WHO: Busy P
WHAT: Ed Rec III out now through Ed Banger/Warner