Chicago born house legend Mark Farina will bring the party vibes to this years Neon Desert Music Festival. His name has always been a mainstay consistently in the electronic dance scene going way back pioneering the infamous Mushroom Jazz Series, still killing it at festivals and club appearances. Farina was kind enough to share a few words with Fusion Magazine.
What are the ingredients for a good dance song?
Good beat, funky rhythm and you can bug out to it.
What track is a classic banger that is a DJ must have?
The House Master Boyz and The Rude Boy of House—House Nation 1986.
What do you think of the current state of electronic music?
Healthy. Many many sub-genres and almost too many new artists/DJs to keep up with.
When was the last time you spun vinyl?
Ten minutes ago.
Any crazy crate digging finds lately?
Yes. 80s series of re-edit vinyl called Razormaid, that includes rare Cabaret Voltaire edit of “Kickback” and New Order “Sub-culture” on green colored vinyl, INXS interview double LP from US 1988 Tour.
In proper deep house though, doing your homework and knowing the history is important and appreciated by house heads.
Your all time vinyl record you are always looking for?
Liaisons Dangereuses LP from 1981.
What is your opinion about the shift in technology in the DJ set up? The transition from vinyl to CDs, to computers and USBs?
I enjoy the compactness and dependability of USB drives. Love vinyl of course, but always hated faulty DJ booth set ups that had feedback and skips. Never been into computers in clubs.
Are new DJs blowing up too quick? Are they doing their homework?
I don’t know if it’s too quick. Different sub-genres of dance music have different speeds of intake. Like I mentioned, pace of music quicker these days. Which also means DJs can disappear quicker. In proper deep house though, doing your homework and knowing the history is important and appreciated by house heads.
Tell us about the early days, when you used to spin, how was the ambiance of the scene, what did the flyers to your shows look like?
Chicago in late 80s early 90s was special. Had to be there. The land of house. Flyers were raw like the music. Underground.
I miss the slower pace of the record store/vinyl only days, where songs had a longer shelf life, certain songs were more exclusive on limited vinyl promo, and the culture of hanging out in record stores.
Who is your favorite Jazz musician and why?
Miles Davis—I played trumpet for 10 years from elementary to high school. An innovator.
The Mushroom Jazz collection is a huge hit, how have you picked which artist to sample?
I’m always on the lookout for new peeps making good MJ tracks. Also…keeping tabs on the older established producers of the MJ style.
What is keeping electronic music alive and vibrant?
Tons of new music and an abundance of festivals and venues,djs that play it.
Is the internet hurting or helping the music industry?
Both. It gets new music to DJs and people no matter where you are. But I miss the slower pace of the record store/vinyl only days, where songs had a longer shelf life, certain songs were more exclusive on limited vinyl promo, and the culture of hanging out in record stores, whereas most internet music shopping is done solo.