Gene Farris's House Music Heroes

Apr 20, 2023

Harry Levin

3 min read

Gene Farris doesn’t subscribe to the idea that you should never meet your heroes. On the contrary, throughout his decades-long career, the Chicago house stalwart has made a positive practice out of not just meeting his but working alongside them and, in turn, becoming a house hero in his own right.

His first residency, as a young up-and-comer in the early 90’s warehouse days, was with Godfather of House, Frankie Knuckles, at his legendary club, the Power House. Cutting his teeth on such a storied dancefloor, he laid the groundwork for thirty years of party rockin and evangelizing the good word of house music to the world.

Green Velvet and Gene Farris

Chicago house legend Green Velvet (aka Cajmere) put out some of Farris’ first records in 1995 on Relief Records, “Journey” and “Farris Wheel.” The duo formed a deep bond in those early days that has persisted. Over the years, they’ve collaborated several times. They fabulously captured the spirit of Chicago’s classic sound in 2010 on “The Music Box.” And as recently as 2019, their hit, “Galaxie,” rocketed to the top of the Beatport charts, and was a staple in Dj mixes.

As someone who started releasing music in the mid-1990s in the Windy City, Farris was surrounded by the artists who are now rightfully considered the originators of the craft.

“Lil Louis was my hero. Ron Hardy was my hero,” Farris said in a conversation with Will Clarke on The Will Clarke Podcast.

Lil Louis and Ron Hardy are, of course, two of Chicago’s earliest innovators of house music. Chicago has always been thick with talent. And during the fabled second wave, Farris brushed shoulders with Mark Farina, DJ Heather, DJ Sneak, DJ Rush, and the late Paul Johnson. These groundbreaking artists gave him hope for his future.

“‘Everyone doesn’t have something to be hopeful for,” Farris says.

Growing up in the south side of Chicago, an area he describes as “the hood,” Farris saw many of his friends grow up without hope. Some even passed away at a young age.

For Farris, music gave him hope. And so meeting his heroes and working with them paired that sense of hope with a vision. A vision of living a life just like theirs, and here is living that life today.

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

Related reads

Read next

Copyright © 2024 Seer Assets, LLC. All rights reserved.