Exclusive Interview: DJ Mark Farina

DJ and musician Mark Farina has remained true to his principles of “nice beats, sweet melodies and interesting samples.
Music, DJ

DJ and musician Mark Farina has remained true to his principles of “nice beats, sweet melodies and interesting samples.” Known for his Chicago house, acid jazz, and downtempo works he is embraced by fans from all over the world. His House sets have been described as the jazzy side of Chicago House mixed San Francisco style. Farina has continued a tradition of releasing a series of CDs under the name Mushroom Jazz for many years and has been performing hundreds of shows worldwide each year.

How did you become a DJ?

I’ve been going to clubs since the age of 16.  In the mid-80’s all DJs had vinyl, which I collected too.  When I saw a DJ beat matching around ’85 in Chicago, I was hooked!  My friend and I hijacked his dad’s Radio Shack mixer, I brought my pitchless, direct drive turntable over and BAM!  We had a DJ set up and began practicing using our finger to slow or speed up the records.

You’ve performed all over the country and all over the world. Which is your favorite location and venue to perform?

I’ve been very fortunate to visit many cities in the world.  So many places to play.  Generally, a good sound system and good listeners are the best foundation for a great place.  There are too many to list, but a couple of favorite spots are: Sub Club (Glasgow), Fabric (London), Rex Club (Paris), Eleven (Tokyo), Smart Bar (Chicago), Focus (Orange County) and U-Street (DC).

Of all the tunes/tracks/sounds you have, which one never fails?

“Street Player” – Chicago

How has the scene evolved over the decades?

The obvious change is the transition form vinyl to digital.  This entails the switch from a record store culture to a more solo way of shopping digitally on-line for music.

How has your style and sound evolved over the decades?

My principles have stayed the same: nice beats, sweet melodies and interesting samples.   With almost 30 years of House Music to tap into, there’s a lot of vintage options to sort through.  Now with CDJ-200’s, there is more room for creativity in the mix than just being able to play what is pressed on vinyl.

What was the first record you bought?

Captain and Tennille’s “Muskrat Love” and Grand Funk Railroad’s “Do The Locomotion” on 45.

How do you keep busy when you’re not performing?

I have a 3 1/2 year old son.  That is my ‘full time’ job.  Then, ‘homework’ for whatever gig is next.

I understand you’ll be here in NYC this week. What can revelers expect at Cielo this Friday (1/10/14)?

Some brand new Promo jams and vintage House funky joints.  And maybe some Disco.  But you will have to be there to see (and hear).

What upcoming projects do you have in the works? Who are you collaborating with?

Working on Mushroom Jazz 8 (MJ8) compilation for 2014.  Also working on some tracks with DJ Sneak and a possible Symbols & Instruments reunion with long time mates, Derrick Carter and Chris Nazuka.

Looking forward to performing in UK, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Japan, Montreal, Toronto and at #Moogfest (Asheville, NC).


Founder, Co-Owner & Managing Editor. Corey has experience in the corporate financial services, training, brand development, and when he is not writing he's at home dancing nude with a glass of wine.