Stones Throw x Ed Banger
- Denis, Emmanuel
- February 05, 2009
L.A.'s Stones Throw and Paris's Ed Banger Records will have a live show together in Paris at Bataclan, March 6, 2009, on the first night of Stones Throw's 2009 Europe Tour. Here are label founders Peanut Butter Wolf and Pedro Winter (Busy P), interviewed by Denis and Emmanuel from Freeyourfunk.com
Do you remember the first time you met each other or heard about each other's label?
PBW: From what I remember, Pedro came up to me randomly at a hotel many years ago. I don't even remember how he recognized me, but he told me he was a Madlib and Dilla fan and was telling me about how Dilla worked with Daft Punk and stuff like that. He gave me his business card and his business card made a big impact on me. It was simple, but stood out from all the others I get. I showed it to Jeff Jank and said, "We need to make new business cards. Look at this one." Jeff made a dope one that was a circle with a hole in it like a record. I think a couple years went by before I saw Pedro again and by that time, we had new business cards!
Pedro Winter: It's funny how Stones Throw has no age for me. I mean, the label is almost 15 years old and for me, it is part of the game like Def Jam or Rawkus.
Most people would define Stones Throw as mainly a hip-hop label and Ed Banger as mainly electro. Is having both in a same night really consistent? Or can we say that both labels have in reality much wider scopes?
PBW: I think people from both labels like lots of different styles, but are known more for one thing. My taste was always all over the place. In the late 70's, it was Kano, YMO, Cameo, Rick James, in the mid 80's, it was Kraftwerk, Cybotron, Egyptian Lover, as well as Cabaret Voltaire, PIL and Joy Division as well as Schooly D, Ultramagnetic, and BDP. When Stones Throw started in 1996, electro and post punk died out for me and I was straight up all about my hip hop music, but even within a few years of starting the label, I was releasing Captain Funkaho. It's easier to tag people to one thing than it is to show how complex their taste truly is. When I opened for Justice this NYE, the music I played fit in just fine. That was a good indication that fans don't need to listen to just one type of music for the whole night, just like I don't play only one thing as a DJ or music fan.
Pedro: I would prefer people thinking both ST and Ed Rec are FREE labels. I never wanted my label to be a “one genre” thing. I think our labels look like us. I got emotions from Metalli- ca and Nick Drake or from James Brown and Kraftwerk, maybe it's weird, but it's why my label sounds like this. I guess it's exactly the same for Peanut. Doing this party together means a lot to me. First as a fan of ST and then as an entertainer, i want to use my power to educate the kids. ST is one label you can trust, music business has changed, kids want to believe and trust us. Here we are!
What is your perception of each other's label?
PBW: I love their stuff and they worked hard to get where they are. Both Pedro and Mehdi bring that friendly high level of energy when they walk into a room. They both made an impression on me when I met them and they both embraced what I do as well, so that's appreciated. Similarities: we both are into lots of different music, but get tagged for one thing. Differences: they probably tour more and have hit songs under their belt. I can't name a hit song on Stones Throw.
Pedro: ST is the label that keep that nice dust on music, you hear what i mean? They don't try to be hip or whatever. I don't know nothing about soul music, but i can tell Stones Throw got SOUL and I like it. Madlib and Peanut's compilations are of course my main obsession for ST. Madlib is dropping the bomb that make me smile.
Wolf, what are the labels (dead or alive) that have influenced your from an artistic and visual point of view?
PBW: There's bunches and they're mostly obvious. Factory, Def Jam, Cold Chillin, Soul Jazz, Wackies, Luke Skywalker, Fania, Sugarhill, Memo, Sleeping Bag, Macola. My favorite labels visually are the bedroom ones that take an out of focus picture of the recording artist with a 110 camera and use an ugly font and ugly clipart logo that doesn't match. When I see records that look like that, the music is usually good.
Both labels have also a strong artistic direction through Jeff Jank and So-Me, the artistic directors of your labels. Can you tell us the artworks both have done so far which are your favorite ones?
PBW: Not sure. Jeff has done a lot of good stuff. Off the top of my head, I like the Madvillain and Funky 16 Corners.
Pedro: Let's be clear, ST and Mo'Wax are my key influences when I decided to launch my label. Of course it was no point copying Jeff Jank or Futura. I was lucky to meet SO ME. For me, as a kid of the 80's, images and design are important. I did not see my label without a strong visual impact.
As a coincidence or not, both of your labels just released picture discs - DJ Mehdi on Ed and Mayer Hawthorne on ST. Does it mean that releasing vinyl today still has some relevance or is it just a luxury? Do you buy picture discs yourselves?
PBW: Actually, I even did a PB Wolf picture disc record back in 1995 for another label, just before starting Stones Throw. I love to release vinyl whenever I can. The Mayer Hawthorne vinyl got a huge demand, even though the songs were available for sale and for free as MP3s on several websites. I'm so glad that people still buy vinyl! I started collecting picture discs, but then I gave up when I saw Q Bert's picture disc collection. I have a pretty nice 8 track collection though.
Pedro: From now on, all Ed Rec 12" will be picture discs. We need to keep kids attention. Digital sales are growing up, but we still need to sell CDs and wax. Making picture disc is also a pleasure, imagine the bedroom of fans, they will have their own little gallery.
Your favorite artist/LP/track/remix cover from Ed Banger for PBW, and from ST for Pedro?
PBW: I guess the Justice cover. I love the simple stuff best. And I guess the fans do too, based on that.
Pedro: James Pants really killed me recently. That guy is free, and only a label like Stones Throw could release his music. I am of course a massive Madlib fan. Instrumental hip hop is one of my passion.
Pedro, how did the Daft Punk remix by Slum Village/Jay Dee occur?
Pedro You all probably know the classic “Raise it up” from Slum Village. This beat was insane at the time. Jay Dee as usual came up with an avant-garde beat. I did not notice the sample at first sight, but a friend of us was there and say, “Hey hey hold on, isn't it a Daft sound?” And fuck yes! It was in fact a sample from Thomas Bangalter's solo project for his label Roulé.
(Youtube: Thomas Bangalter - Extra Dry | Slum Village - Raise It Up)
Instead of loosing our time and react as ass holes and ask for money or shit, I propose to the Daft boys to take care of it and ask a remix in exchange of the use of that sample. I met Dilla in Miami and he was of course up for it and was really friendly. He is from Detroit and electronic music never scared him. We were so happy with the result and the shout out. It was a simple and nice adventure. I feel really lucky to have met Jay Dee it was 8 or 9 years ago.
Which collaborations did already happen between Stones Throw and Ed Banger or which ones could you imagine in the future?
PBW: I had DJ Medhi do a remix for James Pants but that song was super hard to remix cuz the vocals on the verse are in one key and the chorus is in another. I didn't realize it until I tried doing mine, at which I decided to do one that was similar musically to the original. Medhi turned in a great remix musically, but was having a hard time making it fit to the vocal, so we opted to scrap it and he released it as an instrumental under a different name. That's the only collab that ALMOST happened. I'm sure we'll do one soon though. Maybe some kind of trade would work. I know Pedro was supposed to do a remix for Mayer Hawthorne.
Pedro: Stay tuned!
Wolf, do you plan to release a new LP in the future, after My Vinyl Weighs a Ton? Can you tell us a little more about your VJ set which will happen at in Paris?
PBW: I just started making music again using different equipment, so I'm teaching myself how to use it. I'm doing songs here and there, but probably more interested in doing remixes or productions for other artists than an actual "P8W" album. The VJing just gives me something new to collect. I have over 3000 videos now. I like playing older stuff cuz it's almost like looking through old photographs. My favorite stuff to play is stuff between the 1950s and 1990s. I'll save the newer stuff for other DJs.
Pedro, you worked with a west coast artist who has also worked with Madlib - Murs - on the track “To Protect and Entertain”. Why him?
Pedro: I met Murs a long time ago when he came to Paris for the promo tour of his Def Jux album release. I was Djing for a skateboard contest outside of Paris, and Murs was doing a showcase. We both grew up with a board and share lots of common points. One day I was looking for an MC for my new beat. I had the Cool Kids in mind, but due to some schedule shit, we did not work together but i know we will one day! My other choice arrived by chance. The A&R from Warner in NYC told me they've just signed a hot MC, a guy called MURS. I was like crazy and told the guy, HELL yeah! I want to work with him. I am a big big fan of Murs album with 9th Wonder's The 9th Edition. I emailed Murs and speak with him a couple of times. He just drop the perfect thing. It's funny and fit perfectly the beat i did. I know we'll do some more together. That man is genius and a super nice man. Probably one of my best meetings in 2008.
Pedro, you were present at James Pants' first live show in Paris a few months ago. How would you describe James Pants for those who do not know him?
Pedro: it's one of the best live shows I've seen in 2008. I never seen Prince live, and I want to believe James Pants is something like Prince trying to be the 5th Kraftwerk robot! Don't miss it!
Wolf, unlike James Pants or yourself, Mayer Hawthorne and Dam-Funk will play for the first time in Paris. Can you present briefly Dam and Mayer's music?
PBW: Dam-Funk runs a club night that specializes in 80's disco/soul/funk/electro boogie. He's been doing it for a few years and everybody who's been there has a great time. Usually, when he goes on the road, it's like he's bringing that club night with him. He had a great night in London at Benji B's anniversary party, so I know he's ready to bring it to Paris and Paris will be ready for him.
Mayer, like myself, Dam, and James, really enjoys playing this music as well, but ironically, the music he makes sound more like 60's soul, so now he's starting to incorporate that in his sets. Hopefully, they'll both perform songs live as well. That's what I'd like to see. But for those who don't know these guys, google that shit!
What will be your label's 2009 main releases that you want people to pay attention to?
Pedro: Sebastian's first album, Uffie's first album, DSL's new album, and DJ Mehdi's remixes compilation. And a lot of more stuff that I did not plan of course!
PBW: We don't have main releases. We want people to pay attention to everything we do. Twitter that shit! Myspace that shit! Facebook that shit! Actually, stonesthrow.com that shit!
Stones Throw 2009 Europe Tour, presented by Carhartt
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