« 52 Chokeules | Main | 50 Ryan Dahle of Limblifter & The Mounties »

51 Mark Farina

Mark Farina is a legend in the world of djing.  Coming from Chicago he embraced the house music originating there, and also delved into a mid-tempo world that would become the universally loved Mushroom Jazz.  From a weekly event in his current home of San Francisco, to critically acclaimed compilations his focus on jazz and hip hop influenced music has made an indelible impression on the world of music.  Farina continues to release music of all kinds on his Great Lakes Audio label, and took a quick break from his busy schedule to talk with us about where he's been, what's next, and his love for Detroit.  Catch him tomorrow night at the Garden Theatre!

Fingers On Blast: First of all, we can't thank you enough for taking the time to chat with us, can you tell us what you've been up to lately?

Mark Farina: I just did a mini tour of California, playing Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, all on vinyl in the last couple weeks.  I've been working on a couple remixes here and there, and taking care of my four and a half year old son, hanging out with my fiance, and earlier today did some grocery shopping...

F.O.B.: Detroit is one of our favorite cities, can you tell us a bit about your time and experiences playing in Detroit over the years?

M.F.: Since about 1989 I've been coming to Detroit, my first experience was coming to the old music institute listening to Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, all spinning there.  In those old Detroit days I was very lucky to go record at Transmit and Metroplex and KMS.  We used to drive to Detroit from Chicago; Derrick Carter, Chris Nozuka and myself.  I've had a long relationship with Detroit, the last few visits have been going to Grasshopper, it's been sort of my regular spot the last few years with the Golf Clap guys.  That's been going well.  With Detroit it's been a long musical journey, and some of my old memories would be sleeping in one of the side rooms at KMS studios, meeting MK for the first time, he was working as a parking lot attendant playing Playstation in the booth.  We also recorded in one of Bob Seger's old studios back in the day, playing fast pitch with Derrick May pitching...

F.O.B.: Can you tell us a bit about what inspires you to get down to work? Where do your ideas come from?

M.F.: DJ wise it's when I get a new track, when I hear something and instantly know I wanna rock it at a party.  When I get a bunch of good new tunes, that inspires me to want to put them on a mix to share them with people.  Making a track it's kind of when I hear a funny sample or it could be a spoken word, a chop up of a vocal or a little bass sound.  I'll usually get something like that and think 'that needs a track made around it'.  For making music and djing you can be inspired by a lot of different things, but I just love sharing music.

F.O.B.: What's a day in the life of Mark Farina like?

M.F.: It sounds like a cliche but when you have a kid things really do change, life before having a kid was very different from what it is now.  Monday to Friday I'm up at 7 am, he's up at 6:30 wanting to do something.  Previously I used to be much more of a night person, I used to stay up to 2 in the morning every night of the week.  Either in the studio working on music, now I've got to get to bed a little earlier on school nights as I call them.  He starts school at 8:30, I come back and do work from then til noon.  I have to regiment my time, and then in the afternoon I am hanging out with him, sometimes a relative will look after him so I can get some extra time.  Then he's in bed about 7:30 and I can get back to work, but I can't be up all night.

F.O.B.: What is your favorite thing about what you do for a living?

M.F.: DJing is a pretty awesome job.  I'm pretty grateful to have that as my job.  I remember growing up I was always worried I was going to be in some office 9 to 5, doing I didn't know what.  My office always changes, every weekend there's a new place to go a new 'so to speak' office to go to with a new set of co-workers which is exciting.  I've gotten to travel, I remember I didn't get on a plane until I was 12 and now I've gone so many places and not just as a tourist.  Often when you go somewhere you know someone who's looking out for you.  There are so many cities I've gotten to visit through djing.  There's no complaints about being a dj as a job, yeah there's long hours, there's late nights and sometimes you've got to get up and catch a flight but whatever, things good be a lot harder.  I enjoy it, and I'm grateful.

F.O.B.: If you were a superhero, what would your super power be?

M.F.: My superpower would be to be able to remove any drum roll from any song before it ever happens.  Whether I'm hearing it in a taxi cab or in another room of a club, wherever I am my powers will omit any drumroll or any dramatic breakdown like that with wooshes and drumrolls before it ever happens so basically any drum roll would never exist.  

F.O.B.: We love Mushroom Jazz, and we were wondering - will there be another release in the series? How does a Mushroom Jazz set differ from a club set?

M.F.: There is a Mushroom Jazz 8 in the works, trying to get it together with Sol Republic headphones looking at an end of 2015 early 2016 release.  Mushroom Jazz is a little different, I'll do Mushroom Jazz at clubs sometimes, the bpm is a big part of an evening.  You know, most events I'll do are house things, and Mushroom Jazz is generally around 100 bpm where house is around 120-125. So generally for most club nights I find Mushroom Jazz to be kind of slow, tempo wise.  If it's a late night, or it's an alternate room of a club it works, if it's a midnight to 2 am set time Mushroom Jazz can be a bit mellow for the club.

F.O.B.: Is there anything up and coming you'd like us all to know about?


M.F.: There's a Nick Jagger EP that's coming up, and then Riki Inocente both on GLA (Great Lakes Audio)

 Thanks so much to Mark Farina for taking the time to chat with us! He's playing the Easter edition of Country Club Disco in Detroit with Shiba San, option4, Golf Clap and more!  

Event: http://on.fb.me/1BzTanf
Tickets: http://bit.ly/1ERn5uI