A founding member of Chicago’s infamous House Music scene with music collaborations alongside Jamie Jones, Erick Morillo, Sonny Fodera and Cajmere, Gene Farris has continued to cement himself in the underground realm. With his own releases finding success on Toolroom, Dirtybird, Classic, Subliminal and Relief, Gene set up his own imprint Farris Wheel, which now tracts regular support from Nic Fanciulli, Pete Tong, Danny Howard, Solardo, Claptone, Shiba San, Hannah Wants and Roger Sanchez. In a busy 2020, Gene sat down with us for a catch up about his music and label...
Hey Gene, thanks for chatting to us here at DMC. For any readers who don’t know you, can you explain a bit more about yourself and how you came about?
Sure! Hello everyone my name is Gene Farris I’m from Chicago, I started in the “Golden Era” of the 90’s alongside Green Velvet, Derrick Carter, Sneak, Mark Farina etc and more recently been working with the likes of Jamie Jones, Sonny Fodera, Mark Knight, Erick Morillo, Will Clarke & Cajmere.
You hail from the Chicago house scene, tell us a bit about how this has changed since you started spinning vinyl?
A lot has changed for sure over the years, and I believe that it’s a good thing in most cases.
1. CDJs vs Turntables – This is a great leap forward and this coming from someone who started on vinyl and still plays vinyl from time to time. We don’t have to worry about anyone bumping into the turntable anymore, jumping the record and completely ruining the vibe. Secondly, we don’t have to worry about feedback from the monitors because of the needle on the record and last but not least no more carrying 120 pounds of Records everywhere we go anymore and zero risk losing them in transit!
2. Better Sound & Lights – The sound systems and light shows these days are amazing! They were good back in the day but not even close to the level of production we have today, the technological leaps are mind blowing.
What has been your proudest achievement as an artist?
My proudest moment would be getting my album signed to Relief Records with Green Velvet in 2014. This was a big moment for me and felt really good.
You’ve just released Gimme Your Luv with Cajmere (AKA Green Velvet), can you tell us a bit about the track and your guys’ relationship?
Curtis is like my big brother and one of my best friends – we’ve known each other since 1994 , he’s always supported me and been a great mentor over the years. We made this track to showcase our Chicago roots. If you listen to all of our collabs they’re mostly leaning towards those Chicago vibes from back in the day. Vibes from the old clubs like the Warehouse, Music Box, and the Powerhouse – these are the clubs that started it all for the WORLD, not just Chicago.
Your label Farris Wheel recordings was started in 1998. Take us through what’s happened with the imprint over the last 12 years?
It’s been a great ride. We have been constantly putting music out on the label since 1998 until now and not missing a single year. We’ve been a consistent heartbeat in the music scene for the last 2 decades, and it’s something I’m really proud of.
Do you have a favourite release from the label?
I honestly don’t, they’re all like my kids! It’s hard to pick a favorite. The first release on the label in 1998 is always going to be a special one as it was the start of the journey – Gene Farris “Copa Cabana” EP.
What artist would you love to release on the label?
Ohh there are a couple. Something from Chris Lake would be nice. Anabel Englund has an amazing voice and would love to work with her. Gorgon City, I love their stuff. My brothers Dennis Cruz, Claptone, and last but not least Camelphat.
What is 2020 looking like for yourself and Farris Wheel?
It’s looking great, we launched with the Cajmere & Gene Farris record that’s continuing to pick up a lot of support from Radio 1 – Annie Mac, Pete Tong & Danny Howard are all showing love on that one. Right now I also have a big record just out with ATFC called ‘Spirit Of House’ on Toolroom. I’ve got releases coming out pretty much every month on some of the most respected labels in the business, so that’s a really good feeling. Farris Wheel has two releases a month coming out for the rest of the year also, the future is looking very bright over here right now!