Mihai Popoviciu, from Sibiu in Romania, is considered one of the most innovative producers out of Eastern Europe today. He started producing music in 2001 being influenced by the techno and house virus and it took many years of experiments until he came up with his first vinyl release on DJ Hell’s imprint Gigolo Records in 2005. Since then his innovation and forward-thinking approach to music has accelerated his career and firmly established himself in dance music upper echelons.
Fast forward to 2020 and Mihai Popoviciu delivers his third album and 6th release of his already long career via Poker Flat Recordings. Motion Manifold is a bold expression of his craft – each track shot through with that instantly recognisable Popoviciu texture and vibe. This is an album experience rather than a collection of dancefloor cuts. As part of our Behind The Headphones series, we sat with Mihai Popoviciu to discuss the album and his return to Poker Flat Recordings.
The scene in Eastern Europe is known for its crazy and lengthy parties, was there a certain moment or party, where you thought, that you want to be the DJ and not just the raver?
When I fell in love with electronic music in the mid-’90s there was hardly any scene in Eastern Europe. At least in Romania where I come from there were no electronic music parties. I was a teenager back then and I could only dream that one day I could play this kind of music as a DJ. To somehow fulfil my passion for music I first started to produce and later on, at the beginning of the 2000’s I also took up DJ-ing. That’s when the scene in Romania started to emerge.
COVID-19 saw the majority of the world come to a standstill and has affected everyone in different ways, how do you see the club scene coming back from this?
It will be very interesting to see how our scene will get back to “normal” after this medical and economic crisis. I doubt that huge festivals will happen again in the near future and my guess is that small and mid-size events will be the best we will have for some time. This situation will be a good ground for the development of local DJs because travelling will be limited. Also, enormous fees for superstar DJs will probably be a thing of the past.
Motion Manifold – Mihai Popoviciu
Your up and coming album Motion Manifold, releases on poker flat recordings later this year, you’ve also released on many other renowned labels such as Highgrade and Bedrock, when producing do cater your sound to certain labels you’re hoping to be signed by?
I have always been a versatile producer that never stayed into one particular genre. Usually, I do what I feel and then I decide where my music could work, but sometimes yes, I do tailor my sound to a certain label that I am interested to release on. “Motion Manifold” is a collection of club tracks that share the same deep aesthetics as my previous releases on Poker Flat.
What is the best party/venue you’ve played at?
There are so many great parties that I always enjoy playing but the first ones that come to my mind would be S.A.S.H. in Sydney, Crew Savage in Buenos Aires and Kater Blau in Berlin.
Following on from this, is there any venue/party that you hope to one day be able to play?
I would love to play again at Panorama Bar in Berlin sometime. I played there a couple of times while I was with Highgrade Records during their label showcases, and it was very special and inspiring to me.
What would you say your biggest achievement in life is to date?
In life the birth of my daughter a few months ago. In music, I think this album on Poker Flat Recordings is one of my biggest achievements in the last years.
Finally, if there was one artist in the world who you could make a track with who would it be and why?
That would be Laurent Garnier because through him I have discovered the cult electronic music and fell in love with it for the rest of my life.