Among the most passionate people about music are those who work in the music industry: at labels, as press relation people, as concert promoters, as booking agents, as managers, as music critics, and so on. RREVERB proposes to its readers a series of interviews with passionate music artisans.

Today, we meet…

ADRIAN POPOVICH

What’s your name, what’s your role in the company you are presently working at, and since when are you working there? Where are you from and where do you live now?

My name is Adrian Popovich. I’m a musician/producer/engineer. I co-own Mountain City, a recording studio in Montreal. I’ve worked with artists such as Solids, We Are Wolves, Heat, Duchess Says, The Dears, Sebastien Grainger, Sonic Avenues, Sam Roberts, Priestess, Elephant Stone, Les Breastfeeders and many more. I currently play guitar in a new band called American Lips.

mountain city studio

The Brick Room in the studio

When have you started to work in the music business?

I first started playing in a “professional” capacity while playing guitar in my band Tricky Woo in the late 90’s. I was still a teenager and having so much fun that I absolutely did not consider it work, but it was, in reality, my start in show business.

 

At what age have you started to love music?

My dad always listened to music in the house. It was pretty much all jazz, which as a young kid, didn’t appeal to me. One day he pulled out those red and blue Beatles LP’s that everyone’s parents had, and “Elvis’ Gold Records” and I really got into them – Especially the red Beatles one. I would sit and listen to them over and over again. I must have been 5.

beatles red and blue albums

When you were 20, what was your dream?

I was actually living it. I was playing in a band I loved, touring all over with bands we liked, getting positive press, making a tiny bit of money, and we had just been nominated for a Juno award for “Best Alternative Album” (which was something even our parents could be proud of). Because I was fairly young, that experience set an unrealistic precedent. Like “this is just what happens when you play music.” I mean, we were not a big band by any means, but for a couple of years, we were doing ok and the future looked really bright. Alas

Have you ever been a musician? Tell us about your career.

After Tricky Woo imploded, I stopped playing in bands for almost ten years, but I never stopped playing guitar and writing music. I only really got the itch to start playing again after working with a few bands in the studio that really inspired me – notably, We Are Wolves and Duchess Says. I formed a band called American Lips (top photo) with Jessica Bruzzese (my girlfriend) and Sebastien Grainger from Death From Above 1979.

ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS

Do you live from it?

Somehow, and miraculously, I do.

Is it still possible to make a living with music today? What do you need to do to make ends meet?

I think it’s probably as difficult as it’s ever been, but I don’t think it’s necessarily gotten any harder. The revenue comes from different places, but people still manage to make it work.

Tricky Woo

Tricky Woo

Who did you meet in your musical path that was key to your development / success?

The person who was most significant in my development and got me started was Andrew Dickson, the singer for Tricky Woo. He was a little older and saw something in me, and wanted us to play together. Every opportunity in my career can be traced back to the work we did together in that band.

What would you change about the music business today?

Now that it’s almost impossible to sell records, artists have to make things work in other ways. Not everyone wants to constantly be on the road or sell their music to cheesy car ads, but a lot of artists don’t have a choice if they want to keep making music.

Vinyl, cassette, CD or digital?

Having lived through the original cassette era, definitively NOT cassette.

ON ARTISTS AND MUSIC

What are your preferred music genres? Was it always the case through your life?

I’ve always loved rock and roll and many of the associated genres, but the genre that actually got me wanting to play music was rap. It was my favorite for many years. Now I barely listen to any. I do still listen to rock and roll, but mostly, I listen to Jazz now. That’s what plays at home now (I’m becoming my Dad).

On a desert island you bring those 5 albums (no more!)

Wire – Pink Flag
The Damned – Damned Damned Damned
Misfits – Collection I
Gang Of Four – Entertainment
Suicide – S/T

Playlist!

 

Who is the friendliest artist/music celebrity you’ve met?

Jesse Hughes from Eagles of Death Metal was very friendly and very, very funny.

Some artists weren’t friendly nor easy to work with. Without naming them, can you pinpoint why or the circumstances of a negative experience? Is ego always the problem?

Insecurity is always the problem, which I guess is related to ego. So yeah, ego. For sure.

Which brilliant artist should have made it big, but didn’t (yet)?

Kieran Mcnamara from Montreal. In the 90s, he had a band with Andres Vial from The Barr Brothers called The Null Set, that made an absolutely incredible/mind blowing album called “Getting The Redmothgirl Home Safely From the Olympic Stadium. It was psychedelic/drug fuzz rock meets the Beach Boys, meets experimental tape manipulation insanity and the songs were incredible.

 

Nothing else in Montreal sounded like it back then. He was totally ahead of his time and a huge inspiration for everyone in what I would call the “indie rock” scene of the time. He went on to play bass in The Sunday Sinners, but sadly he never put out more of his music. Had he continued, he would have been the king of this town.

Who would you like to meet? What would you tell/ask them?

Ian Svenonius. I’d ask him to read from one of his books.

Thank you Adrian!

Check out Mountain City studio’s fan page for updates!

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.