Ed Banger x Etnies

Dazed talks to Monsieurs Busy P and Sole Tech boss Pierre André Senizergues about their new 'Ednies' collaboration...

Fashion Incoming
Photos by Eric Heranval
In attempt to design a sneaker encompassing everything Ed Banger stands for in terms of combining all genres of music and celebrating youth and skate culture, Busy P teamed up with cult skatewear label Etnies for a limited edition sneaker available in three-colourways. Busy P aka Pedro Winter explains, "We knew each other for a long time in Paris, but now we've developed trust in each other over these 15 years what of I'm doing now, and his 25 years of Etnies, I want this collaboration to last and represent who we are now in 2010." Dazed hit Paris to get quizzical with Sole Tech's Etnies head honcho and Ed Banger's label-founder Busy P to find out more about 'Ednies'...

Dazed Digital: What is skatewear's relevance to Ed Banger?

Busy P: To go back a bit in history, I started skateboarding in 1989, I was 14 years old and skateboards changed my life- you're meeting a lot of different people, black or white, rich or poor, it brings people together. You're all equal, all on a wooden board, on four wheels. It's a good school of life, and in terms of creation, skateboards have always been avant-garde in trends, music, and the freedom. It opened my eyes and ears and now I'm running Ed Banger as if it were a skateboard brand, like how skateboard companies build a team, choosing their pro-riders, it's like my pro-riders are my artists, sticking together. So Me did all the designs so people can recognise us like a skate brand.

DD: I read somewhere thay you wanted Ed Banger to be more than just a music label, more a global brand. Do you think this might detract from the music or help it?
Busy P: It helps it! I don't ask myself a lot of questions like why I'm doing it, how will I achieve it, what shall we do... I just do stuff when it comes. I meet people, fall in love, this is like when people ask my advice on a new label or whatever and I say I have no advice, just do it! As long as it's fun and it excites you. I wake up in the morning everyday and I'm running to my office when most people want to stay in bed - and I feel pretty lucky about it. I'm in a comfortable place. I'm doing it with passion and enough generosity, that's what art is about, giving yourself to other people.

DD: Do you see Ed Banger remaining as a French identity or international now? Do you want it to retain its Frenchness?
Busy P: That's a good question - of course we have this French twist, and I don't want to delete it. I'm proud of our country and culture, I love the Eiffel Tower, but my playground is the world. Parties in just only France is not as fun, I want to go to Asia, Japan, Australia, speak to German people, have fun in the US, and it's been happening for last ten years, but yes it's a French twist in world globalisation.

DD: Who were you trying to appeal to with these new sneakers, as you did one with Nike before, why another one?
Busy P: First with the Nike thing, they were a few different influencers across the world not my own thing, but I was proud to be asked to do it. It was on the Air Force 1, a classic sneaker, and as a sneaker addict it was impossible to say no, and I felt lucky for Nike to ask me to do one. And you know you don't say no to Nike, or Apple, you can change the world - as big as that, we did it with So Me as a collectible shoe - a lot of colours and drawings, not very wearable, more like a collector's piece. So when Etnies came to us, we loved and respected this brand from the skateboard world, and we designed it from scratch. It was something all the artists on the label could wear - of course the AF1's were crazy and even my friends on the label, Justice were like 'Ah it's horrible!' We just wanted something more simple, more wearable.

DD: So do you have any other collaborations in mind?
Busy P: Everyone thinks I'm like marketing mad, but I don't plan - I refuse a lot of stuff too, drinks companies, I just take the ones who are close to me, like with skateboarding- this one is the most natural - no lawyers- no papers to be signed - we just did it, limited to 300 each colour. It's exciting to have your own shoe like Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods...

DD: I remember reading somewhere that you suggested the music business dying-did you just records sales? The rise of mp3 blogs?
Busy P: When I am saying that I just mean the old fashioned way of getting money out of music is dying - and I'm not crying about it, I'm saying it's a fact. This is our role as label managers to wake up now and I think Sony, Warner. EMI will wake up too late and go woah, let's stop the old fashioned way of making business. It's easy to say because I'm a tiny, tiny company, EMI have to pay 5000 people. There's creativity in small labels though - we're like a small boat, we can go anywhere, but the major labels are like the Titantic, in the time it takes them to move anywhere, they'll hit an iceberg. We're lucky.

DD: In terms of A&R, how do you pick your artists? Like everyone's saying how diverse Mickey Moonlight is compared to the old Ed Banger stuff?
Busy P: It's about falling in love. Big companies forget the love, they think about how may records you can sell - but me I just love Mickey Moonlight's music. When he sent it to me he said it's not really Ed Banger, and because of that we took it and I just loved the sound of it! I knew Ed Banger would not always be this 'ERNN ERNN' noisy stuff, which is why we did Breakbot, Mr Flash, Riton and DJ Mehdi's new Carte Blanche project which is House. We can do the noisiest music like Justice and SebastiAn but of course I'm not gonna do it all my life - so who knows where we'll be in two years... My dream is to have a rock band. But we never found one. I need something special - something almost like The White Stripes, I love how there are two on stage - the energy. That's what we're looking for. We got sent a lot of music from people like we're a small band, six of us, and I don't want to travel with six. Remember Death From Above 1979? These two guys- they're exactly the dream band I would like to sign.

DD: So does Etnies try to keep up to date with the kids or is it more an established old school brand?
Pierre André Senizergues: You have to keep up with the new generation yeah! Etnies is almost 24 years old now - and what I want to do is to celebrate the next 25, not focus on the past. It's about the kids and promoting the new generation.

DD: Do you still skate today? Who's the better skater?
Pierre André Senizergues: Yeah, even this morning I thought, should I skate here from the hotel?
Busy P: Me, I can ride, but he's a world champion!
Pierre André Senizergues: I can't do anything on music though!

DD: Pierre, what kind of music do you listen to then? Is it a big part of your life?
Pierre André Senizergues: Everyone influenced is by music, as a way to escape and be creative. I really like Jean Michel Jarre - way before French Touch, he was the pioneer of French electornic music. Also a lot of Bob Marley and generally I always like electronic music that's interesting to me. And that song 'We Are Your Friends' is amazing, it really captures the hope of the youth. 'Never be alone again' is really a message, when you're 14, 15 going from a child to adult it can be hard, your muscles getting bigger, there's changes! And making new decisions it can be kind of lonely so that song...
Busy P: I hope in like 20 years, it'll be like a generation song- an anthem still playing. When we started out, there were hip hop heads, indie kids, electro ravers, but at an Ed Banger party you can listen to anything from Vampire Weekend, Kraftwerk, Metallica, techno stuff, Jeff Mills... and I won't take the credit for all this, Soulwax, Erol Alkan they are all part of this too. And we've now managed to do a simple shoe for everyone.

Ednies are available in Black or White in limited edition at Hanon in the UK and also in Red which is available exclusively from Cool Cats
More Fashion