Gene Farris

The Chicago don drops another bomb ‘We Work It’

Interview by Rob Chadwick

Gene Farris is a man who’s been involved in house music for over three decades now, but also someone who’s still churning our production bombs at an astounding rate. A native of Chicago, Farris is renowned for making the sort of clued-in house tackle that the city is famed for, most notably alongside other illustrious names such as Cajmere. His latest EP sees him work alongside Sonny Fodera on the aptly titled We Work It, which is out now on tastemaking label, Visionquest. We quizzed Gene recently for a quick glimpse into his world…

How are you, Gene? Music aside, what’s been on your mind recently?

Music aside it’s all about my amazing son, Amaré Gene Farris. He’s my heart…

How long have you been involved in music now?

I released my first record in 1994, so quite a while… 

Does house and techno still excite you as much as it ever has?

Yes, even more now actually as there’s easier ways to produce and there’s way more producers so the competition is high. It’s awesome, I love the competition; it keeps you hungry to make more and better music…

You moved back to Chicago from Holland a few years ago. How did you find moving back?

It’s great to be home. It took me about 6 months to readjust to American culture after living in Europe for 4 years, but I’m glad I did come back – even though Europe is amazing!

Was it a big transition again or did you just seamlessly fit into Chicago life again? 

As far as the music scene it was a seamless fit, but I definitely had to reestablish my space in the Chicago house scene. Again, I love the competition!

So what’s your daily life consist of? Is it just music, music, music? Or what else do you get up to? 

I wake up and let out my dog, then I work out, eat a good meal and have a good smoke. Then I go to the studio for 5-7 hours a day depending on what I got going on. Then I Skype with my son who lives in Detroit. I’ll have dinner at my house or out – depending on who’s around – then I catch up on my DVR (Walking Dead, Games Of Thrones etc.). That’s a typical Gene day. And when I’m off, I play golf…

What led you to releasing an EP alongside Sonny Fodera on Visionquest then?

Sonny is actually one of my best friends; I even know his mom! He stays at my house when he comes to Chicago so we write music together often. Also, Lee Curtis is a very good friend as well, so it was a no brainier to get this to Visionquest, Lee Heard the song, fell in love with it right away and the rest, as they say, is history…

What’s the most satisfying thing about being a part of the Visionquest fold do you reckon? 

I think having Lee on speed dial is pretty awesome! Ha, but I’m a big fan as well, and fully honored to be a part of this great new family at Visionquest.

What does the label stand for in your eyes?

To me, it represents a new era in dance music and is one of the most innovative labels out there today, so as I said before I’m more than happy to be a part of the movement..

Did you always produce it with the label’s sound in mind? Or is that something you’re at all conscious of when you’re making music?

I don’t really think about labels when I’m writing – I just make the music and then find them good homes.

So did you and Sonny actually get together in the studio then? What was the chemistry like between you?

Our chemistry is great. He’s family and this is our third project together.

So did that EP come out exactly as you imagined?

Better actually! The buzz on this track has been so good so I’m humbled and excited for the release…

How do you think your style has progressed since your early days alongside the likes of Cajmere?

I’ve grown so much since then with my sound and my work ethic. I’ve grown up a lot in and out of the studio, to be honest.

You tend to enjoy working in collaboration with others. What is it about the collaborative process that you dig so much? 

I love bouncing ideas off on another person and getting a good collective feel in the studio. Making something special with someone you respect its awesome and very humbling. 

At what stage did you realise you wanted to do music full-time? 

At 25 years old, after 3 years of putting music out and traveling I just knew this is where I belonged.

And what do you consider your finest moment to date so far?

I think my Cosmos album is the best work I’ve done, hands down. It’s also the one I’m most proud of…

What’s next on the horizon for you that you’re really excited about?

I’m really excited about working with KMS and the Saundersons. I’m a huge fan of Kevin and he’s a friend too. And I got some cool stuff dropping on his label, so watch out for that.

And finally, what do you think you’d have done if you hadn’t ‘made it’ in music? 

I’ve have sold weed or become an NBA player. Or maybe a golfer!


Gene plays at Hard Times at the Vista Club on Saturday June 27th alongside A Guy Called Gerald and PBR Streetgang. Tickets / Info –

Sonny Fodera & Gene Farris’ We Work It (incl. Lee Curtiss Remix) is out now on Visionquest. Check it out here: