Mihalis Safras

The Greek legend delivers an anthem on his Toolroom debut

Welcome to DMCWORLD young man, bringing the world’s dancefloor your full Toolroom debut ‘Stranger’ with remix duties courtesy of Brazil’s finest Wehbba. Why did you choose the mighty Wehbba for remix duties?

“Hey Dan, well it wasn’t like I chose Rodolfo (Wehbba) for the remix, it’s mostly cause we are friends and we have a great relationship (he is producing for my label-Material). So what’s better than having good friends remixing one of your finest works…the result was this stunning belter mix!”

Okay let’s talk a little about your early life. You were twelve years old and it’s your birthday. Most kids ask for a new bike at that age, you though were quite adamant in what you wanted as a present on your big day…(and did your dad wrap them up?)

“Haha! Seems someone read the story of my having 2 turntables and a Delta mixer when I was twelve! Well it might sound stupid but when I got back home from the school I saw on my desk the whole setup with the decks and mixer and a big ribbon! Can you imagine my joy when I saw what I had asked for? Talk about Santa Claus wishes!”

What were the early clubs and DJs you were spinning at in the early days?

“Since 1997 I was a regular DJ in the Athenian clubs, like +Soda, Camel, Danza and Venue. The landmark was club Umatic, by far the biggest club in Greece. I was a resident there and had played along with most of renowned DJs like Richie, Carl and so on. That was the point were I said..’hey why I don’t start producing and DJing around the world’. Again…talk about Santa Claus wishes!”

One of your early heroes was Mark Broom – what was it about his style you loved?

“Who said that Mark was my hero? Only joking! Since I started my DJ career back in ’97 I had always the ‘in your face’ techno as my favourite kind of techno! Mark was a leading figure back then and still is in what he does! Simple and affective productions! That is always his advise..keep it simple!”

So what was your first release into the music industry?

“My first release was in 2006 with some tribal techno..but 2007 was a breakthrough year for me with a track that was released on Trapez Limited called ‘Interafrica’ which was being played by almost all the key players. I remember when Sven charted it as No. 1 on his charts, it all started rolling from then on…” (cc. Michael Gleeson)

We love your old skool approach to each DJ set at a club, going there with no ‘pre set’ in your mind. You just turn up and size up the crowd there and then. However, have you ever had any funny looks when you have dropped a piece of Abba or Billie Jean in the mix…

“The fact is that as a vinyl DJ I always, always mix old stuff into my sets. The last one I recall was in Rome where I played a Jackson 5 track…yes I did my funny face and funny moves and so did the clubbers! It was like we were back in kindergarden!”

Tell us about the next Safras releases…

“I suppose I don’t have to mention the ‘Stranger EP’ which was released on Toolroom this week?! Besides j’Stranger’ which I consider one of my best releases so far, I have up and coming tracks on Get Physical, 2 massive EPs on Fatboy Slim’s Skint ( ‘I Am’ EP) and a more techno-ish release on Great Stuff with my buddy Kiko late October – the Mentos EP. Not forgetting the exclusive track I have for Toolroom’s Rhythm Distrikt Comp out at the end of September! Plus some good remixines till end of year for the infamous house label King Street and Soma Recordings. As we say…stay tuned!”

Not many people know this, but Mihalis Safras is really good at…

“Talking from the Bible! Strange (as the EP!!) but true story (as HIMYM).”

Do you miss playing at the clubs in your home country Greece?

“I really do mate! After the legendary club I was resident shut down (I remember it was a gig with Dave Clarke when the cops came in) I decided never to DJ in Greece again. So it is almost 8 years now when I haven’t DJ’d in my own country. I miss that, but I’m hoping when I come back thing will be better in the Athenian dance scene!”

You are known as one of the hardest working DJs in the world, even though you hate airport food you are still flying around the planet every week. Which has been the most unbelievable DJ show in 2012 for you?

“Kazantip! Period!”

You are one of the few DJs who if he loves a tune, can remix it in under 1 day. What was the longest a remix has taken you and what was it?

“For Mark Broom on 20:20 Vision. The track was called Take Me Home..I couldn’t put the parts together to produce what I felt. It took like 20 days which is a lot in my case! I was happy to see it going down well.”

What is the current Top 10 you are spinning?

1. Mihalis Safras – Stranger (Toolroom)
2. Mateo & Matos – Open Minded (Nite Grooves)
3. Plateau Soul – Gold – Mendo remix (Material)
4. Arjun Vagale – Glo (Materialism)
5. Mihalis Safras & Kiko – Twix (Toolroom)
6. Angelo Ferreri – Get it (Material)
7. Siwell – El Canto – Loko remix (Sphera)
8. Mihalis Safras – I AM (Skint)
9. Mark Broom – July (CDR)
10. Mihalis Safras & Jose M & Tacoman – Pianolist (get Physical)

What has been your anthem of the summer?

“New Order – Blue Monday – the Safras Edit…Simple as that!”

What is the strangest request you have ever been asked by a clubber when DJing?

“While I was DJing in Athens in 2003 in a small club that was packed, a young man came and said: ‘can you sign on my water bottle?” Duh! If that’s a request!”

Who are your big DJ buddies you love to party with when you bump into them on tour?

“I am not allowed to say names right? But John, Lefteris, Mark..Couldn’t resist man.”

Who are the producers around the world you are giving high fives to at the moment?

“A lot of young talents out there, but for sure I love Jose M latest ones, Material high rocking artists German Brigante and Kiko. Not forget to mention my favourite dub artist Lee Burton.”

Did your parents ever go to any of your early gigs?

“Come on! Oh yes! New Years Eve 2004…6AM just got off the decks and bang! I see my mother in one of the most underground clubs dancing! Laugh or cry? Definitely now I am laughing!”

How many Apple products do you own at the moment? Riva Starr has a lot to answer for?

“You know the story with counting sheep when you want to go to bed? It goes like that…1…2…3..4…endless!  I would rather say that I am a huge Apple lover!”

Looking back, what do you think has been your greatest piece of production and why?

“Really – I don’t have to look that far since it is released last week…the ‘Stranger EP’ on Toolroom! Am I advertising it too much? Haha! I really thing that new Toolroom release is a quality release that can cover both funk and underground tastes.”

What is your idea of a perfect Sunday…

“To have a perfect Sunday you must have slept well on a Saturday, which is quite hard cause of gigging! But let’s suppose I am living the dream – then I would say that waking up next to the person you love is the the main thing!”

Beatport: http://bit.ly/STrEP

Video (original): http://bit.ly/StrVid    

Video (Wehbba): http://bit.ly/WbhRmxVid