In Interview with Mihalis Safras

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
April 16, 2019

In Interview with Mihalis Safras

Mihalis Safras has been an extremely consistent and prolific electronic producer and champion of vinyl over the last few years, with various releases on labels such as Saved, Cajual, Repopulate Mars, Relief, 8bit, and of course his own label Material.

His latest release, “Microwave,” is a collab with Green Velvet now out on Relief Records. This is the sixth collab between the two artists – the most Green Velvet has ever worked with another artist on. Mihalis is consistently one of the most charted artists across both Beatport and Resident Advisor, and for good reason. Following “Microwave,” he has further releases on Sola, Circus and a remix for Claptone, all of which will be dropping in the next few months, as well as major headlining events in Europe, the States and South America.

Your release with Green Velvet called “Microwave” came out recently. Where is the best place for this track to be played out and why?

Our 6th collaboration came out last week. For me, Microwave is a very unique track that will hopefully cause some trouble at festivals, mainly because of the UK acid riffs. Expect it to be played in Ibiza too as I have just been confirmed to do some shows on my favourite island.

You have produced several tracks with Curtis over the years and have mentioned that you get on well. How did you meet and become such good friends?

Love for music brings good people together haha. There is nothing more to say as we are not friends but more like brothers :)

You are remixing another Claptone track that is due for release in May. Stay The Night that came out last August was great because it is very different in terms of you recreating it into a club track and making it your own. Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from the next one?

Last year I remixed a Claptone track and it was quite a success so we said, why not do it again?

The remix drops on Different in May and it is more of a rollercoaster, as its approach is more clubby with huge breaks, you know, the typical Safras style.

May looks like a big month for you this year with the remix release and 5 tour dates. There has been a lot of attention in the media over the last few years about poor mental health in touring DJs (the tragic death of Avicii last year highlighted the struggles) that is associated with late nights, a lot of travelling and sometimes even alcohol and substance abuse. What are your thoughts on this and how do you maintain your own mental health within what can be, a very challenging industry to work in?

The music industry is very competitive and this creates a lot of stress. A lot of artists try to find a way to succeed by any means, forgetting that only hard work and love for music brings you up. At the same time, I feel that many get carried away from what music offers (let’s not open the topic now) and forget the real pleasures of life. Maintaining your spirituality and your mentality is the key.

How do you balance a career in music with a family? Is it good to have a wholesome home life to even out the (sometimes) debauched nature of working in music?

To be honest, it is hard. Finding balance is the key to this business as travelling, DJ’ing and producing takes most of my time. However, recently I realised that mental health and quality time with people you love is essential so fame, money and anything else can wait their turn :)

You are playing EDC Las Vegas again this year, which is an EDM festival hailed for its extravagant installations and light shows. As a techno producer, how does your sound translate into that environment and do you play differently in comparison to other smaller venues?

Indeed EDC is a festival that can mark you as a DJ and I literally cannot wait to join the stage. But in terms of music there are many stages at EDC. For example, I am playing at the Relief stage, whose lineup is pure techno and tech house. And of course, when you spin in the open air, it is very different to when you mix inside a club but I enjoy both.

Are you expecting to play anywhere you have not played before in 2019?

My highlight would definitely be my confirmed shows at EDC on the La La Land stage.

It is considered one of the best festivals in the world at the moment with massive lineups. Besides that I have shows in cities I have never been to before like Murcia, Sicily and more.

You are doing a South American tour in June. How many dates are you expecting to play?

True, it is my 4th South American tour and I am happy I will get to visit and see new and old fans over there.

I always have loads of fun and we will be having 6 dates in 2 weeks in Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador. I can’t wait!

What is your routine before playing a gig? Do you have any special rider requests to prepare you for the show?

Sleeping is a necessity before any show. We are not getting any younger haha. I usually ask for coconut water and some Jell-O, but I’m cool with any other surprises during my shows.

What comparisons can you make between when you first started working in the music industry and the present day? Is it easier or more difficult to become a DJ or producer now?

I am older and wiser and fatter with grey hair. Besides that nothing has changed. I still do what I love no matter what. It used to be minimal, then house, then more tech and so on. But music and beats always have the same energy. I do not separate DJ’ing from producing and visa versa as one completes the other. Its like spaghetti with carbonara sauce, can’t have the one without the other.

How do you discover new music? Does the music you listen to influence your own releases?

I am blessed that I run 8 labels and receive so many demos from future talents with fresh music and innovative ideas.

Everything we listen to has an influence on what we do. It is the same as if you read a book and are influenced by it.

Is there anyone you are listening to at the moment that you are particularly enjoying?

I really enjoy listening to Otis Redding lately. Love him.

Mihalis Safras & Green Velvet “Microwave” is out now and available on Beatport

Connect with Mihalis Safras: Facebook | Instagram | Beatport | SoundCloud