If you already know about Farina, he needs no introduction and you need no convincing to get to Blu on December 10 to see him. If you were a part of the rave scene in the late 90’s, you probably saw him a few times at the Knights of Columbus or the Bingo Hall on the southside. You might have road-tripped it to Chicago to see him at an after hours or at Smartbar. You’ve been rockin his mixes in your car since they came out on cassettes.
For all others who need convincing, here’s a bit about one of the best House DJ’s we’ll ever know, reprinted from www.residentadvisor.net
“I look at my job as a modern day traveling minstrel, to bring new music to as many places as I can, and expose obscure records that, otherwise, might go hidden.” While Mark Farina may be able to sum up his job description in a sentence, there is much more to be written.
Mark developed his musical tastes in Chicago – listening to house music on the radio, living in one of the country’s most primordial breeding grounds for house. Around ’88, while record shopping at Imports, Etc., he met Derrick Carter and a friendship began. “I just ended up there between classes, I ended up buying his picks. He steered me toward the cutting edge House producers of the time.”
“I started playing when I lived with my parents and didn’t have any bills to pay so I could just buy records. My intentions were never to just make money, it’s nice, but it’s kind of turned into a job by accident – it was a hobby that turned into a job.”
Living together and working on tracks together along with Chris Nazuka, they utilized the tight connections between the Detroit and Chicago scenes. Fondly, Mark remembers hanging out listening to Detroit Techno classics – Model 500, Derrick May – eating bologne sandwiches on white bread and drinking Kool-Aid out of a paper cup, prepared by none other than Chef Saunderson himself. In ’89, they signed on Kevin Saunderson’s KMS Records under the Symbols in Instruments moniker and produced a landmark track called “Mood”. “Mood” sold 35,000+ copies in the US and the UK. This record was the first ambient house track ever made and, accordingly, it has taken its position as a classic. The same year, The Face magazine published their year end Top 50 with “Mood” ranking above pop anthems by Dee-Lite and The Pet Shop Boys.
“I used to do mixes with Derrick on the radio at Northwestern, we’d make it at the house and listen to it on the lake where they filmed ‘Risky Business’. We would drive around and listen 89.3 WNUR; they had a policy, guest DJs didn’t have to be students.” Eventually, the University changed their policy and only students were allowed to DJ.
When Farina first started wandering from his passion for the purist forms of House into what grew into one of his trademark styles, Mushroom Jazz, he was playing the main room in a club in Chicago and got demoted to the B-room after playing too many Martin Luther King Jr. samples. Mark experimented with a deeper style, dropping De La Soul, disco classics and other stuff that wasn’t being played in the main room. However, in 1992, Mark found a welcome place for his collection of downtempo tunes accompanied by a small run of mix tapes entitled “Mushroom Jazz”. Originally launched as a cassette series, the Mushroom Jazz tapes grew from the first Chicago run of 50 copies each