POPOF dropped by to talk about his debut on Patrick Topping’s label, the future of Form Music, hard techno, and more!
House and techno enthusiasts turn to POPOF when they want to bust a move because he has a flavor for every mood. Staying outside the box has allowed the Parisian producer to grace an array of industry-leading labels like Toolroom, Desert Hearts, Filth on Acid, and Factory 93 while illuminating his Form Music imprint as well. This weekend, he threw Patrick Topping‘s Trick into the fray as well.
He made his move with the Gold EP, a collaborative package that features We Are The Brave Pioneer Alan Fitzpatrick and Belgium-based duo Mumbai Science. Each track pops with unconventional sound elements, perfect for turning the party inside out. For example, “Rough N Raw” dials up drunk synth beeps, “Gold” slices up the brain with a repetitive scaling tone, and “Good Grass” keeps the bassline simple while raising the freak flag on the top end.
Staying in step with his evolutionary personality are POPOF’s alter egos. Not only is he a member of the pioneering free party collective Heretik System, but he’s cultivating a fresh future with his Turbulences project alongside Space 92. Fans in Miami are still recovering from the ride after being initiated into the mile-high club at RESISTANCE this past November.
As POPOF continues to dominate both inside the studio and out on the road, we caught up with him to get the lowdown on life. He opened up about his debut on Trick, the hard techno boom, how he avoids burnout, and what comes next for Form Music. Smash the play button on the Gold EP and read on for our chat!
Stream POPOF – Gold EP on Spotify:
Hi POPOF, thank you so much for taking the time to chat today. Let’s jump in and talk about the Gold EP, which marks your debut on Patrick Topping’s Trick label. Can you open up about this signing, how the label aligns with your vision, and how the Trick boss has inspired you over the years?
Hello, thanks for having me! Signing to Trick came quite naturally. When I sent the three tracks to Patrick, he immediately loved their energy and vibe and directly suggested I release them on his label. Patrick and I have known and have been following each other musically for a long time. I’ve always appreciated his music, and I’ve been following his label since its creation, so proposing these tracks to him was a no-brainer. I felt they fit in well with Trick’s identity.
You’ve mentioned that, for this EP, you wanted to update the tracks that you loved to play back in the day and give them a contemporary techno touch. Can you dive deeper into the backstory of these tunes?
“Rough N Raw” and “Gold” are tracks I used to play a lot ten years ago. I felt it would be a great idea to update them a bit and come up with more modern techno versions. Alan Fitzpatrick and Mumbai Science subsequently agreed after listening to the rework of their original track, and the project was born! As for the third track, “Good Grass,” I made it over ten years ago, but I’d never released it! Incidentally, I didn’t touch it up and it came out just as it was.
This EP saw you work with Mumbai Science and Alan Fitzpatrick. What about them made you think they’d be the perfect fit for this project specifically, and what did they bring to the table?
I initially just wanted to make a new edit of each one of these tracks and refresh them a bit because I intended to play them on stage. The thing is, they turned out to be so popular on the dancefloor that the idea of setting up a collaboration and releasing them officially became natural and clear in my mind. I therefore took the core sound elements of the tracks and made new versions, quite simply!
Each track on Gold has its own psychedelic flavor that keeps it unique and stylistically connected. Can you talk about this design choice?
Indeed! This is exactly why I wanted to refresh these tracks. I felt that there was a huge potential in the sound design, which deserved to be updated so that it could be rediscovered by a new audience. I therefore took the main melody of each track, then created and added all the elements around it.
Hard techno is picking up steam in the US. Why do you think more people are turning to the harder sounds now?
Since I, myself, come from the hard techno and hardcore scene initially — I started my career with (cult underground French collective) Heretik System — I am more than happy with the way things are at the moment, haha.
In my opinion, this is simply linked to the natural evolution of electronic music over the years. It used to be techno that took a long time to establish itself and become accessible to more people, and now it’s hard techno’s turn to shine! Hard techno has gradually become better known and more commercial or popular, just like any relatively new music genre that attracts increasingly more people. This is the logical route for contemporary electronic music, I think.
If you were approached by someone who had never heard a hard techno track before, what are three tracks that you’d encourage them to listen to?
There are billions of exceptional hard techno tracks and lots of great classics, so I wouldn’t recommend seeking specific tracks. Instead, I’d advise following crews, such as Heretik or SP23, who were major players in European rave music in the ’90s.
We can’t breeze over the fact that you also have your hybrid live project called Turbulences with Space 92. With all this work happening in tandem with your other projects, have you ever faced burnout? If so, how did you overcome it?
It’s a lot of work indeed, and a lot of questioning. However, the experience I’ve gained over the years in this field, the people around me, who are very important, and of course, the work around it all, gave me the strength I need to manage it all and move forward. But it’s not an easy road! Learning to manage all of this at the same time is tiring, time consuming, and sometimes frustrating, but it’s very much worth it in the end.
Finally, you’re the owner of Form Music, and there’s been a bit of a release pause this year. Can you dive into the details of that and what may be coming next from the label?
You’re right, my Form Music label has seen fewer releases this year. Finding and selecting the right tracks and the right artists to release takes a lot of time. I intend to relaunch the process in 2024. I’m also thinking of releasing more tracks of my own on it, and on a more regular basis, too, to keep supporting it — even though it’s been around for ten years! What’s certain is that Form Music’s first release in 2024 will be an EP by myself.
POPOF, thanks again for your time, and congratulations on your Trick debut!
Thanks a lot, guys! Best wishes for the year to come!