ASBO Meets: POPOF, French Techno Titan

popof

French techno titan POPOF celebrates the milestone one-hundredth release of his beloved FORM Music imprint in January 2022, as he enlists a selection of his all-time favourite producers to provide their own inimitable interpretations of his iconic 2009 hit record, Serenity. Almost exactly thirteen years to the day since the minimal juggernaut first did its damage across international airwaves and packed warehouses, the Parisian producer and FORM Music label boss now looks to breathe fresh life into one of the most iconic records in his expansive career discography, as he announces a remix project of truly epic proportions.

Delivering the 100th release on FORM and the label’s first full-length EP of 2022, the exquisite six-part package sees POPOF flex his A&R muscles to the extreme as he taps Booka Shade, NTO, Vitalic, ATOEM, OXIA and Pig&Dan for one of the biggest releases on FORM to date.

We caught up with the Parisian label head to find out more…

Hi POPOF. Firstly, congratulations on the 100th release for FORM music! What does that mean to you?

This 100th release, ‘Serenity’ EP, represents for me a culmination of what my team and myself have built over the years. I really feel like we are coming full circle and starting over again in 2022, for us to go even further with Form Music.

Did you ever think that FORM music would be this successful when you first started out? What has been some of the highlights since the inception?

No, I had no idea! Actually, it all came together quite naturally; I never founded Form Music for the glory or the money. The label is first and foremost an artistic project aiming to produce contemporary music that we like, via confirmed artists as well as newcomers. There have been many highlights since Form Music was born: NTO, Sam Paganini, Julian Jeweil, Umek, Sebastien Léger and so many others!

What is the difference between electronic music when you first started out compared to now? How do you imagine that electronic music will continue to grow over the next 10 years?

There is a blatant difference between electronic music as I started to produce it 25 years ago and today’s productions. Back then, there was no VST or USB cable to connect the hardware. Everything was done with a music editing software or a sequencer with hardware (synth, drum machine, etc.) connected to MIDI interfaces, and external effects. In fact, it was difficult to get into the music production business at the time because it required a lot of commitment on all levels. Whereas today it’s easier thanks to the emergence of new technologies. There are good and bad sides to every situation. In 10 years I can’t wait to see what it will be like.

Serenity Remixes EP – talk me through the decision to release an EP of remixes of this song and not another song or something completely new? How did you decide which artists you would trust to be a part of such a landmark EP?

First of all, ‘Serenity’ was the first track I released on my label Form, so there was a bit of nostalgia involved. Then, the other factor was the track’s international success over the years, which gave me the idea and the desire to give it a second life through these remixes. Choosing the remixers was a very natural process. They are all artists I like a lot and with whom I have already worked in the past, so the choice was easy to make. When I see the results I’m really happy!

Which remix are you most excited for the public to hear?

Tough question! This said, I think it would be Atoem’s remix. They’re a new, emerging French duo and I absolutely am a fan of them! They managed to make a version that completely reflects their world and I love it.

Where do you go from here? After releasing such an epic EP what is next for FORM music? Where would you like to see FORM music in the next ten years?

I think we’re just going to keep going the way we are now, releasing songs that we love made by great artists! Following our musical vision is all that matters to us.

Any plans to tour in 2022?

Absolutely. If all goes well, and depending on the outbreak situation of course, I’ll be heading to the USA, then India, then the South American continent …But nothing needs to be taken for granted nowadays…

Who are you top 3 artists to watch for 2022 that you expect big things from?

Space 92, Kiko and Atoem.

Do you have any routines or superstitions that you follow when recording music?

Yes, I do! I always use the same composition process. I start by composing all the rhythmic parts, then I integrate the bass, then the leads, then the pads, then the fxs. Once my loop is working well and I like it, I move on to the editing of the song and the details.

What is a common misconception that people have about electronic music artists?

I honestly would not know!

What advice would you give to any artist starting out in the music industry? 

When you compose music, whether you are a beginner or not, it is crucial to do so with your heart and soul. The most important thing is not to follow some trend or to try to sound like someone else. To seek one’s own musical identity is the key.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?

I really have no idea because I have been making music since my teenage years! I released my first vinyl when I was 18 years old so as a matter of fact I have never had a ‘regular’ job in my entire life.

What is something no one knows about you?

My middle name is Dick!

If you were to do an album of a different genre what would it be?

It would definitely be an album with groovy funk soul overtones and modern hip hop beats. And a lot of featurings/collabs.

What is the one most important thing that you want listeners to take away from listening to FORM 100?

Happiness!

POPOF – Serenity Remixes EP is released on FORM Music today: https://bfan.link/serenity-2

Words: Dylan Hannigan 

Images: Juliette Leigniel