Meeting… Pedro Winter!

Interview: Benjamin Deberdt

"Who hasn’t been traumatized by McRad’s “Weakness” in Public Domain?"

Pedro Winter, 1990 skate license.

This weekend, Girl skateboards and Ed Banger records are celebrating their birthdays, together, with the Fred Mortagne remix of Sean Malto’s Pretty Sweet part, hat you will discover, tomorrow, as a world exclusive on… Live Skateboard Media.
Odd couple? Far from that, if you know the story of Pedro Winter, now the boss of one of the most important electronic music (to cram a lot in one category!) labels! Parisian skater from the first “street” generation, Pedro has never turned his back from his first love, even curating the first major French exhibition about skateboarding culture, Public Domaine, in 2011; to the point where he will comment a three days old obscure online part, if you discuss the now and what of skateboarding. But, being obsessed with skating is one thing, and put out a board series in association with Girl is another one, so let’s just ask him how it all connected!

So, your first contact with skateboarding?
1989. A buddy, at school, was riding an Alva Eddie Reategui. I ran to Pacific Surf skateshop, in the XVth to buy my first board, a Schmitt Stix Chris Miller, then got Gullwing trucks at Chattanooga, that other shop. Really quick, I was voting Powell Peralta, and was collecting their articles and ads. I still have a bunch to this day!

What came first for you, music, or skating?
Fourteen is the time where you make your first choices. I chose my buddies and skating, over video games that were blowing up at the time. Music was already part of my life, I had a big brother that open my ears, but it really was at that time that I picked up the music I was really going to listen to. So, it was all linked, and linked to my adolescence.

Is there a band, you discovered through skateboarding, that is still relevant to your music career, you think?
Dinosaur Jr, no doubt! The classic parts: Mike Vallely in Speed Freaks, or Rudy Johnson in Video Days. In the 90’s, about every other video had a Dinosaur Jr track. It’s my buddy Bob that put me on to them. Since, I have seen them many a times, and every time, I almost lost an ear… I invited them to play for Public Domaine, at the Gaîté Lyrique, then recently for the Eurockéennes festival, in Belfort, in front of twelve thousands people, that was great!

A big cliché says that skateboarding regroups creative people, or help them find out this characteristic about them. What do you make of this, from your experience?
I don’t think that’s a cliché, actually. At the very least, we have been witness of it, so I am more on the side of people celebrating that phenomenon. Our heroes, Jason Lee, Gonz, Tommy Guerrero, Natas Kaupas all went from skating to music, art, or cinema with a stunning talent, and it all seemed so natural.
I’ll admit that some have been trying very hard to reinvent themselves as “artists” in the past years. Some skateboarding geniuses should stop haunting us on Instagram with their drawings for sale! On the other end, Spike Jonze, for me, embodies that whole magic. He was never the best skater, but as we all know, there is no competition spirit, more of a dynamic where each and everyone bring his own talent to the crew. He was photographing Mark Gonzales, when Gonz was inventing modern skateboarding…

For those who don’t know you at all, describe what you do, these days…
A couple years ago, I was answering “entertainer”, a word that makes me smile, and that doesn’t say much, really. I am a music producer. It sounds less “fun”, but it is my job, and my passion. I created Ed Banger records, my own label, in 2003. We are now celebrating the ten years of this little handcrafted record label. A friend told me once that he thought I was running my label more like a skateboard brand. Probably for the family feeling, the team spirit we have in our structure…

How did the collaboration with Girl came up?
I stopped skating around 1999. Then, I was working for Daft Punk. I had less time, we were on the road, constantly. Girl was already the brand that everybody dreamed of. My friend, Morgan Bouvant, was in charge of their tours in Europe, so I ended up meeting Mike Carroll and Rick Howard a couple times. I was also in touch with Spike Jonze, since he did the first clip for Daft Punk, “Da Funk”. So, we crossed paths many times. Ty Evans, who was, until recently, in charge of the Girl videos is also a big part of that. Music always had a huge importance in videos. Who hasn’t been traumatized by McRad’s “Weakness” in Public Domain? Or Eric B & Rakim in Next, on Koston’s part?
About en years ago, I hit up Girl about doing a Daft Punk collab that never happened. Then, later, Ty hit me up, saying “Send us music!” and boom you got Justice on the Pretty Sweet soundtrack! Then, out of nowhere, I received an email from Rick Howard, asking me to think of some sort of collaboration we could do! I told him about our ten years, and he told me about their twentieth birthday. I came up with the idea of mixing both our worlds: each pro disguised as an artist from the label.

Artwork by So Me, the official Ed Banger artist.

How did you pick them, actually?
For Koston, we wanted a nod to that éS ad where he was messing around with Flat Eric. So, we put him in Mr Oizo outfit, off course! Malto’s part in Pretty Sweet is edited to “Newlands” from Justice, so that was another obvious one. Rick Howard is my alter ego, so we have the “bosses” board! [Laughter] Then, for Mike Carroll and Mariano, we thought it would be fun to have them as Sebastian and Beakbot. In the end, it was all very spontaneous.

How would you describe Girl skateboards to someone that doesn’t skate at all? And from your experience, to a skater?
It’s the whole package that makes Girl unique. An incredible team, cult videos, an entrepreneur spirit that reminds me of the Beastie Boys, when they were doing Grand Royal and X-Large, for instance. Me, I grew up with the Bones Brigade, as part of the second generation, and I find that Girl turned out to be the equivalent for the skaters of the 2000’s.

For you, what is the part that is still the ultimate combo of a skater and a song?
Ray Barbee, Steve Saiz, Chet Thomas and Eric Sanderson, in Public Domain, skating to McRad, Chuck Treece’s band.

Your latest session?
Oh, wow, it’s been a while! I rolled around Cosa Nostra skatepark during a Teenage Tour, or maybe a even a Girl demo. But, then, in my office, I am surrounded by boards, and object I am still in love with.

If you could work on a project with any skater you whish, who would that be?
I was lucky to work the Public Domaine exhibition, at the Gaîté Lyrique, in Paris, in 2011. So, I bushed elbows with many of my idols for that. Ray Barbee and Mike Vallely are my favorite skaters, while being quite contradictory. On one side, Barbee’s skating looks like jazz, or funk, where Valley is aggressive, noisy, it hurts, it scrapes. These two sides interest me, and for those who know the music we do, we like both: hard on the outside and soft on the inside!

As a world exclusive, here is Sean Malto's part from Pretty Sweet, remixed by Fred Mortagne! Just for you, on Live Skateboard Media…

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