THE BIRDHOUSE 101: Gene Farris Interview

After having Doc Martin on the show a couple weeks back, I'm feeling extra lucky to have another house legend on the show: Chicago's own Gene Farris has given us a full hour of funk for Episode 101.

Farris got his start in 1994, thanks to fellow Chicago native Green Velvet. I'm convinced there's something in the water there because, just like Curtis, Gene has kept the music coming for over two decades while also touring nonstop. He founded his Farris Wheel Recordings imprint in 1996 and, since then, has worked with nearly any producer you can think of and put out music on a huge range of influential labels. (We were lucky to have his Riva Starr collaboration "After Dark" on our Dirtybird 10 compilation!) 

I'm pumped to welcome Gene to Campout for the first time in October, and I think he'll make an outstanding Counselor. Scroll on to listen to his mix and learn more about this humble hour hero.


How did your music career get started in earnest?

My career started in 1994 when I put out my first Record on Relief Records, Green Velvet's label.

Where are you from and does it have an influence on your music?

I'm from Chicago, a very musical city, "the birthplace of house music". It's home to many legends and the Godfather of Tech House, Lil Louis, so yes it had big influence on me. I started DJing at 11 years old. [What! –CVS]

How many times did you want to quit trying to make this your career?

Oddly enough only once, when I first moved back to the states from Amsterdam in 2008. I wasn't inspired anymore but then after a talk with my good friend Curtis [Green Velvet], I realized I have a lot more to give. [Another reason to love Curtis. –CVS]

What was one piece of equipment that helped define your sound early on?

My MPC-2000 was my signature for years and my TR-909. I still use my 909 all the time.

When you were getting started, which artists did you try to emulate (both musically and careerwise)?

Oh, without a doubt Lil Louis. He was my favorite, I idolized him.

When you have a tough week or a rough tour, how do you get yourself back on track?

Family time always does it for me, and golf. I love to golf.

Where and when are you at your most content/happiest?

When I'm home I'm happiest always, I love my fiancé and my family. Also when I'm golfing I'm pretty happy lol.

Do you have any secret hobbies or hidden talents?

Not really. I'm pretty "basic". But I can DJ ok sometimes. 


Favorite and least favorite colors?

Favorites are blue and black, least favorites are yellow and orange. 

Favorite and least favorite words?

Favorites are "lit" and "hit", least favorites are "massive and "epic".

Favorite animal?


Favorite board game?


Favorite guilty pleasure food?

Donut holes.

German or Detroit techno?


Festival, club or illegal warehouse?


Biggie or Tupac?


Star Wars or Star Trek?

Duh, Star Wars is life.

Exercise or Netflix?