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Mihai Popoviciu: “Many say that my sound is instantly recognizable”

Mihai Popoviciu, from Sibiu in Romania, is considered one of the most innovative eastern European producers of electronic music today.

Mihai Popoviciu just delivered his third album and 6th release of his already long career via Poker Flat Recordings. The unassuming producer and DJ from Cluj, Romania (where he still lives), has earned plaudits from fellow producers and dancers alike, releasing on the likes of Highgrade, Desseous, Bedrock, and his own label, Cyclic.

‘Motion Manifold’ is a bold expression of his craft – each track shot through with that instantly recognizable Popoviciu texture and vibe. This is an album experience rather than a collection of dancefloor cuts – although it works in that respect also – its 10 tracks give off a sense of completeness that demands re-listening.

Electronic Groove: Hello Mihai, thank you for being here with us today.

Mihai Popoviciu: Thank you too for having me!

EG: How are you holding up with the whole quarantine situation? Has this ordeal made you re-think about the future on a personal level?

Mihai Popoviciu: The past 6 months have been very different for me compared to my pre-pandemic life. I had time to do a lot of new music and remixes because I didn’t travel for gigs every weekend. I also moved to a new apartment and I was happy to be around when my wife gave birth to our baby girl so this lockdown situation did not bother me that much. I tried to make the best out of it and took care of personal stuff.

EG: Do you feel like you’ve found your sound? Or do you see it as an ever-evolving thing?

Mihai Popoviciu: Many say that my sound is instantly recognizable and I like to believe that this is a good thing. I have always been an eclectic producer surfing through different styles from deep house to minimal. My sound is mostly dancefloor orientated: groovy, deep, and hypnotic. It is inevitable ever-evolving but with the same vibe and texture.

EG: Diving into the studio…What’s your setup like? Do you have any new favorite gear?

Mihai Popoviciu: I am an “in the box” type of producer. I don’t have a fancy studio packed with hardware gear but a very stripped-down work station at home. I rely a lot on samples and a handful of virtual synths that I know well and have been using for a long time. This gives me a lot of flexibility with producing.

“Motion Manifold is a dancefloor album like my two previous ones although it works also as a listening experience giving
off a sense of completeness”

EG: How do you prepare your sets? Is there any special process involved? And in the absence of live sets, have you embraced streaming?

Mihai Popoviciu: I update my music library weekly with the new goodies that I get so I am always prepared for the weekend with new interesting tracks. I also test a lot of my own productions during my sets before they get released. During these pandemic months, I have done two live streams on two special places and with special technical conditions like this one in the middle of nature.

EG: In regards to your album, did you have a particular person in mind when you made it? Who do you think will connect with it?

Mihai Popoviciu: ‘Motion Manifold’ is a dancefloor album like my two previous ones although it works also as a listening experience giving off a sense of completeness. I think it will first connect to the people who are already familiar with my music and hopefully to others who discover me as we speak.

EG: Do you have particular favorite tracks on there, and if so why?

Mihai Popoviciu: It’s hard to pick a favorite but I can tell you which tracks I’ve played the most so far from my album: ‘Milky’, ‘Apricot’, ‘Cosinus’ and ‘Chrome’.

EG: You said in an interview last year… “Today anybody can buy their fame”. Do you think that talent is now irrelevant when it comes to fame in music?

Mihai Popoviciu: Not irrelevant but less important than years ago. I think that unfortunately, talent has lost importance in favor of big promotion. Of course, you can’t make it into music if you have zero talent but the lack of talent is nowadays backed up by a lot of promo in some cases.

“My sound is mostly dancefloor orientated: groovy,
deep and hypnotic”

EG: How do you see the future for dance music mapping out?

Mihai Popoviciu: Not much will change in the near future amid all the advances in technology and media. People will still prefer to go to a proper classic party, to dance and socialize face to face. Nothing can beat that any time soon. However, I think that because of the pandemic situation, traveling will be limited for a while so this will give more exposure to local DJs.

EG: What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you envisage a different landscape going forward?

Mihai Popoviciu: I don’t have big expectations for this year regarding the pandemic limitations but I think and hope that from next year things will slowly get better somehow. Huge festivals will still be on hold for some time I guess, but smaller parties might happen like they already do in some places.

Not having that many gigs mean more time doing music. Apart from original tracks and remixes, I am working on my second sample pack for Samplestate.

EG: Finally, what’s the one thing that was taken from granted in 2019 that you have missed the most this year?

Mihai Popoviciu: The flexibility of traveling from last year is something that only now we truly get to appreciate. So many flight routes got canceled and the price of flying has gone up in general.

Mihai Popoviciu’s ‘Motion Manifold’ is now available via Poker Flat Recordings. Stream and buy here

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