5 Classic Gene Farris Tracks That Still Do Damage on the Dancefloor

Apr 19, 2023

Harry Levin

3 min read

If there is one thing festival lineup placements do not reflect, it’s time spent in the scene. Hence why Gene Farris—who has been DJing since he was 11 years old and is one of the original house music artists to come out of Chicago in the 90s—is almost always playing when the sun is still out.

A perfect example of this is found on the roster for the 2022 edition of Day Trip Festival, Insomniac’s newest house music-centric event.

Gene Farris had a humble, hour-long slot beginning at 5 PM. On that same day, the melodic techno trio, MEDUZA, played the penultimate slot of the evening, starting at 9:30 PM and playing for 75 minutes.

MEDUZA only put out their first record in 2019. Less than five years ago. Gene Farris has been putting out music since 1994. That’s 25 more years of developing his skills as both a DJ and a producer.

Now, the purpose of this piece is not to debate the merit of festival slot times. It’s rather to demonstrate that just because an artist is lower on a roster, it doesn’t mean they lack skill.

Gene Farris has been pouring his heart and soul into house music for decades now, and his nearly 30-year-long discography demonstrates that level of dedication and talent. Check out five tracks from his early years that still do damage on the dancefloor today:

1. Gene Farris - Summer Affair - (Relief Records) [1996]

One of Farris’s idols and colleagues in the history of Chicago house is Curtis Jones, aka Green Velvet. The two have been sharing decks for decades, and Jones shared several of Farris’s early releases, including the upbeat jazzy jam “Summer Affair,” on his label Relief Records.

2. Gene Farris - Perkin Hard (Farris Wheel) [1996]

For almost as long as Farris has been DJing, he’s also been running his own record label, Farris Wheel. In 2023, the Farris Wheel moniker also represents a series of events and live streams, but back in the 90s, it was a hub for Farris’s tracks like “Perkin Hard,” at 10-minute long heavy groover punctuated by explorative sound design.

3. Gene Farris - A Place 4 Me (Soma Records)[1997]

Another label Farris frequented in his early years was Soma Records, a label launched in Glasgow, Scotland, back in 1991, one of the founders of which is techno legend, Dave Clarke. Though Clarke is still known today for his unfiltered techno, Soma puts out all kinds of music, including lighter deep house tracks like “A Place 4 Me.”

4. Gene Farris - Mainline Disco (Farris Wheel)[1998]

Another Farris Wheel classic, “Mainline Disco,” delivers on its promise in the title. Harkening back to the earliest days of house music when the fire of disco was still strong in the sound, this down-tempo jam touches on all the classic disco instrumentation with a house-ready drum rack.

5. Gene Farris - Welcome To Chicago (Defected)[2003]

Moving out of the 90s, Farris was making a larger mark all over Europe and began releasing on labels that are now some of the most legendary in house music. One of the said labels is the UK’s Defected, and Farris made his debut on the famous outfit by honoring his hometown. “Welcome To Chicago” takes all those newfound British fans and shows them the funky sound that got Farris hooked on house music in the first place.

Upcoming events

elrow Chicago at Arc Music Festival 2024

Gray Area event

Union Park

Chicago, Illinois

Aug 30 - Sep 1, 2024

Gene Farris is on the lineup

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