MIHAI POPOVICIU on past influences & future plans

MIHAI POPOVICIU on past influences & future plans

After igniting his trip down under with an intimate set at SLYFOX, we spoke to one of Eastern Europe's finest exports, Mihai Popoviciu...

RR: Hi Mihai - it's been a while since you last played a gig in Australia. What can we expect from your upcoming set?

Mihai: Hey guys! Thank you for this interview! Last time I was in Australia was two years ago. I was looking forward to being back here because I have a great time every time I come. I will play a lot of new music from myself and others during my stay here.

RR: OK going back to the very beginning - what inspired you to pursue a career in DJing and who were your early influences?

Mihai: I fell in love with electronic music at a young age... I was around 14, and back then I was mostly listening to German rave, techno and trance. Later I discovered Detroit techno and that is when I started to dream about the possibility of earning a living from music. My heroes were the big Detroit techno acts, but also icons like Laurent Garnier and Sven Väth.

RR: Now Cyclic Records has grown rapidly since 2012 - what have been the biggest challenges and highlights of running your own label?

Mihai: Yes, time runs so fast… I can't believe six years have passed since I started the label. I do everything by myself at Cyclic Records from listening to demos to posting on social media. I have learnt a lot about managing a label and I think one of the most important things about it is to create a certain signature sound for the label - an identity.

RR: And as a label boss, can you tell us what you look for when signing new talent?

Mihai: I listen to every demo that I get at Cyclic and if I find it interesting I reply. Basically I am looking for two things in a track... first of all I have to like it and second it must be suitable for the dance floor and DJ-friendly. I don't care about anything else, it doesn't matter if you are a well established artist or a newcomer.

RR: Great to hear. What would you say you get more enjoyment out of - music production or DJing?

Mihai: I get excited about both equally, I think they go hand in hand. Imagine the joy of finishing a track that you think is good and then testing it out in front of an audience to see how it works. I love producing and doing studio work and I love travelling and playing gigs all over the world - I couldn't choose between these two.

RR: We really admired Hermannstadt Collective and your collaborations with Jay Bliss. Are there any plans to continue this project?

Mihai: Hermannstadt Collective was born when Jay and I used to live together, sharing the same apartment. We used to do a lot of music together back then. After he moved to Bucharest and got a job there it was more difficult for us to find time for the project. We don't have any plans to revive this, but anything is possible.

RR: DJing has taken you all over the world. What has been your most memorable set to date?

Mihai: This is a hard question, I have so many great memories from different places! I was in South America for a small tour earlier this month so I have fresh memories from there. I love playing in Buenos Aires, the crowd is amazing there! From Australia I have lovely memories from Chi Wow Wah Festival or from S.A.S.H. or Breakfast Club in Melbourne. I am looking forward to being back at these places!


RR: You held your first music production masterclass in Buenos Aires recently. How did that go?

Mihai: Yes, that was a very nice experience. I was a bit nervous about it in the beginning because I didn't know how it would go, but it all worked just fine in the end. To be honest I was a bit afraid that what I would "teach" them would not be anything new for them, but I was happy to find out that the feedback after the class was very positive. It looks like there is always something new to learn!

RR: Always! Finally, what else is in the pipeline for you this year?

Mihai: I have done a lot of remixes lately, including a rework of Alice Clark's 'Rocket' for Decay Records. Some of them are out already, others will follow soon. I will also have two releases on Still Hot and True Sounds Music coming out in the next months. When it comes to gigs, this summer looks pretty busy already with a lot of festivals in the calendar in Germany, Holland, Sweden, Romania and Poland.

RR: Sounds great Mihai. Enjoy your time in Australia!

Catch Mihai's final Sydney performance at S.A.S.H on sunday. Details here