Mihalis Safras has become a well-respected tech house DJ in the community, garnering recent releases from Hot Creations amongst others, but now Safras has been accused by over ten producers of using his Material Series label to steal from other artists.
The snafu began on October 27, 2017, when the producer Tennan noticed an upcoming Mihalis Safras remix of Matt Tolfrey & Kaz’s “Big Things” which used a sample from an unreleased Tennan demo, “Comerta,” which had been sent to Safras as a demo on May 4. The remix in question has since been pulled by the label that published it. On October 30, Safras responded with a Facebook video in which he confirmed the use of a loop from Tennan’s demo in his remix, but chalked it up to an accident, and opened up the project file on his computer to make the use transparent.
This didn’t sit well with a number of silent producers who had allegedly also been victimized by Safras in the past, and inspired them to speak up. The publication Change-Underground has interviewed a number of producers including Metodi Hristov and German Brigante who made similar claims.
Through the growing number of claims, they allege a pattern where Safras acquires the stems or project files for a track or demo being released on or considered for one of his labels, including Material Series and Mr. Carter, and then samples, filters, or adds to segments from the original arrangement to make a soundalike to pass off as originals of his own. In the case of Brigante, he says he was “naive at [the] time and just wanted to release music so I made the mistake of trusting him,” while Hristov says that Safras offered to “remove the beat” but they “didn’t make an agreement.”
Some of the allegedly-stolen tracks feature big collaborators like Roger Sanchez, or released on notable labels like Relief and Repopulate Mars. A video published by Tennan on Monday compiles a large list:
- German Brigante – Give Me Some to Mihalis Safras & Siwell – Get More
- Dlc – Innovation to Mihalis Safras – Grey
- Mihalis Safras & Cj Jeff – Yellow Sun (Emanuel Satie Ruff Mix) to Mihalis Safras & Gene Farris – Like This
- J. Barnum – Barracuda to Mihalis Safras & Roger Sanchez – Barracunda
- Mountage & Alfonso Ares – Rock da cloud to Mihalis Safras – Jfk
- Zds – Sometime to Mihalis Safras – Consequences
Then today, Mihalis Safras’s team confirmed in a statement on his Facebook that of the “six issues identified” there were “three genuine accounts of malpractice”. They claimed in these three instances that “any loops and baselines used without authorization have been replaced” and that “there has not been a malicious approach or any financial gain in favour of Mihalis in relation to any of these three cases.” He further notes that he has “in fact has donated most of his earnings to children´s hospital charities both in the UK and Greece” and disparages the “trial by social media” he is currently experiencing. Mihalis then included this personal statement:
You may or may not have been contacted by someone making accusations against my integrity as a producer, I am genuinely sorry that I have made some mistakes even though not intentional.
Firstly, that means owning up to an honest mistake: One of my recent remixes made use of an eight-bar loop—not a full track, as some people have mistakenly come to believe-I had sampled off a demo track an artist had sent me. I have no excuse. It was a complete oversight on my part. When going through my archives for samples I found a track that I liked that was unnamed. I should have been more thorough in searching my emails, messages and so on to see if I could find out where the track came from, but I didn’t. Because I have been ghost producing for years I have an awful lot of music on my computer and it isn’t arranged as well as it should be. This is not an excuse, but this is what lead to my honest mistake. In other accusations, I have been accused of completely ripping of a track and signing someone else’s track to a label, the label has subsequently come forwards to accept the responsibility that a track uploaded in error and was taken straight down.
However, other accusations have been leveled at me that are wholly unfair. I can provide further details if required but would just like to reassure you that I am no crook. I understand the art of sampling and value the importance of personal relationships and trust in this industry. I have played hundreds of shows and made more than 300 tracks in my time, and this is the first and last time this has happened. I will learn from it and hope to continue to be a valued part of the scene.
Mihalis Safras’s team has already indicated to some parties that they intend to sue Tennan for defamation of character. As Hristov sums up in his Change-Underground interview, “I think people need to consider how serious all these claims really are and have to decide what is right or wrong. Maybe if they watch the youtube video “Safras Greatest Steals”, it will make their decision easier.”
The most recent of Tennan’s explosive allegations are below:
So it’s been 10 days since my first video post went public, regarding Mihalis Safras ripping off an unreleased demo track that I had sent him a few months back. Since then, 3 more artists (including German Brigante) came forward with similar cases against him and another 2 which will come forward eventually too. Apparently, Safras is using Material Series as a platform to get his hands on other producers’ work and is following a specific set of tactics to target his victims. Frequently asking for all parts from producers in order to remix their tracks but instead using their parts/ sounds for the benefit of his own productions. Once he does that, he then removes all original tracks (the ones he has stolen parts from) from all digital platforms in order to cover his tracks and avoid being detected.
This story is still developing.