Paris' Ed Banger label has a certain reputation for, if not actual bad-boy behavior, then a certain louche, wanton excess -- from their overdriven club bangers to the frenzied response they elicit from their fans. From Justice's leather jackets and Marshall stacks to the mosh pits at their parties, Ed Banger injects their electro-house with a heavy dose of rock 'n' roll.
But DJ Mehdi, a member of the Ed Banger crew who died this week at the age of 34 after a freak accident at his Paris home, was, by all accounts, anything but your stereotypical, lunk-headed rocker; anything but the preening superstar DJ. A longtime fixture of Paris' hip-hop community who infused the city's electro-house scene with a welcome dose of sly cheer, Mehdi is remembered by friends and collaborators for his striking generosity of spirit.
A-Trak writes, "Mehdi was all about friendship, and that's what's gonna get us through this. Such a kind soul." Bag Raiders write, "The friendliest, greatest and most stylish DJ. A great light. A prince. Amazingly infectious smile. A beautiful man." And Mark Broadbent, of London and Ibiza's We Love parties, writes, "Mehdi always stood out musically from that crowd in my opinion, he always brought a massive amount of soul and funk often lacking. He was always a pure gentleman who showed respect and friendship whenever we met wherever we met."
You can get a sense of Mehdi's spirit in a video clip from Adelaide, Australia's Parklife festival from 2010, as he plays Lionel Richie's "All Night Long," surrounded by friends and fellow musos, all of them singing along without a trace of irony.