DJ Mark Farina brings his funky brand of mushroom jazz and house to Vail Sunday night
San Francisco-based DJ Mark Farina said when he first heard the term acid jazz in the early 90s, it sounded weird to him.I just remembered when I first heard that term used it seemed very strange and abrasive. The first couple of times I heard it I was like acid jazz what the hell is that? Farina said.But obviously it stuck with him. When he switched from DJing house music to slower tempo records of hip-hop, jazz and R&B in Chicago clubs, he decided to name his first mix tape Mushroom Jazz a slight tweak on the names source.Just coming from a more organic style of that (music), I chose mushroom jazz because I was into nature and hikes and that type of thing, Farina said.Farinas Mushroom Jazz mix tape quickly became a hit with record stores and underground music collectors.It kind of got a good people response initially on cassette and I supported my vinyl habit for quite a while selling the cassettes and it kind of got an underground following of people listening to it before or after the party, Farina said.Back before CDs became the craze, Farina said he made about 20 volumes of Mushroom Jazz cassette tapes. Ten years later, Farina began converting and condensing them to CD format. Volume 6 in the series was just released.It started on a whim. I didnt realize it was going to be such a long-going thing when it was created, Farina said. It still stems from the same principles; early acid jazz, East Coast hip-hop flowing at like 100 beats per minute is kind of the formula for Mushroom Jazz.
Farina will return to Samana Lounge in Vail Sunday night. According to club promoter Scott Stoughton, he was brought back because of his ability to rock a club and the fact that hes widely popular around the world.He (produces) this really deep, attainable, great-sounding music that a lot of people who arent into the electronic world have heard of, myself included, Stoughton said.Farina used to watch DJs spin as a teenager when he would go clubbing at under-21 venues and became spellbound with the way they could make a crowd move. Farina made friends with a DJ who let him come in and spin but he said he never thought hed be able to make a living out of it.Farina made the move from Chicago to San Francisco around 92 and discovered that the people there were more into dancing to all different tempos. In short, hed found a place where his new mushroom jazz style could flourish.That was just a bonus. It was more of a fresher club environment there … so there were a little more options, Farina said.
Although Farina has released other albums outside the Mushroom Jazz series, those remain his biggest claim to fame. But its not like hes completely stuck on one style of DJing. His first love was house, which he still spins when the club and atmosphere calls for it. Farina said that in a sense he has a kind of split personality when it comes to DJing. But with all the factors that go into the game, its really more about adaptation.I always find geographically … some cities are up for tempo changes and some arent, some even like their house at a different speed and they dont want it played too slow or theyll freak out, and in some places you dont want to play too fast. It might be the same records in different venues that you play at different speeds in different cities, Farina said.Because Farina has played Samana before, he said he knows what the Vail crowd wants to hear.The Colorado crowd usually knows both my styles of house and down-tempo, so Ill probably do both but its just a question of when and how I start, Farina said.High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or email@example.com.