Exclusive Q&A with Mark Farina & Homero Espinosa

As one of the most respected figures in the industry, San Francisco House veteran and Great Lakes Audio label owner Mark Farina is known for his unique style of mixing Jazz, Downtempo and House Music. His reputation as a DJ has taken Mark around the world playing at the finest clubs and festivals. On the production front, his music has graced prestigious labels like OM Records, Transport, Robsoul and Farris Wheel. Homero Espinosa is also from the San Fran area and has been integrated into the scene as a DJ and promoter since the early 90s. Present day, he runs Moulton Music, and receives regular support from the likes of Mark Farina, DJ Heather and Miguel Migs own his own projects.

We caught up with Mark & Homero to discuss their latest collaboration project ‘Work Groove’ (out now on Traxsource), artist influences and more in this featured interview.

Homero, obviously the topic for today is the new “Work Groove” release. Tell us in your words how it came to be, the Farina collaboration aspect and what you both were trying to convey to your listeners…

I’d been wanting to collaborate with Mark for some time but the timing was always tough. We had been emailing each other about new music and with the closing of Moulton Studios, I asked him if he wanted to get together and write some music before we shut our doors.  We never sat down and thought about what we were trying to convey. Everything that has happened in the studio was in the moment. I’ve been a big fan of Mark’s work for a long time and he’s always supported my music. What surprised me was how easily and quickly the music started flowing.

What was the main inspiration behind “Work Groove” and what prompted Mark and yourself to take the track in that direction?

This was one of the first tracks we collaborated on and it came together pretty quickly. We’d been going over samples to cut up and this was the one that we both were really feeling. What I like about working with Mark is that he’s super fast and knows what he’s doing. Mark played the beats, sample, and vocals through Push. Once the basics were there, I laid down the keys and we began tracking. We wanted to create something funky and deep for the dance floor.

What’s it like running Moulton Music and what do you want to accomplish as an label?

I love running the label.  It’s easy when I’m working with such talented artists. Chris Lum, David Harness, The SyntheTigers, Fred Everything, Phaze Dee, Kinky Movement have all helped to establish Moulton’s sound. Our goal from the beginning was to create a label that speaks to the music we love: House, Disco, Funk, and Soul. San Francisco has a rich history of dance culture and we made it a priority to ensure we honor that history through our label’s music. 

Mark, where did your artist name emanate from, is it in fact your real name?

I chose my own name, Mark Farina, since in the late 80s a lot of DJs were using pseudonyms.  I thought it sounded really different to use my real name instead, so I did, rather than making up something like “DJ Spider Farina”.  And it stuck.

Mark, what keeps you motivated after all this time in the industry?

Stuff that keeps me motivated: Derrick Carter, JT Donaldson, Joshua (Iz & Diz), DJ Heather, Colette, and so many other good old school peeps and friends. And even some new and upcoming producers making dope tracks I’ve discovered, I try to sign them and play their productions out too.

Homero, which artists would you say have really influenced your sound today?

There’s too many to mention but if I had to pick my top 5, that would be DJ Duke, Mood II Swing, Ron Trent and newer cats like The Checkup and Detroit Swindle.

Mark, where does a music media store like Traxsource fit into your musical agenda?

As a DJ I like to use Traxsource.  Although I get a lot of promos I like to check out Traxsource to see what I missed in my promo bin, what’s out, what I need to get.  Traxsource really represents the style of House I like.  Also checking out other DJ charts to see what other people are playing.  It’s like a modern record store.

Homero, is there any piece of studio gear you simply cannot do without?

Abelton’s Push. I love it! It reminds me of the MPC. I love that I can compose an entire track on Push.

Mark, where can your fans catch you playing over the next few months?

Over the next few months I’ve got a lot going on.  This weekend I’m doing Mushroom Jazz at Mighty (SF), then a daytime Mushroom Jazz set in Salt Lake City then an underground house set later.  Then LA for Monday Night Social at Sound Nightclub.  Edmonton for pre-Canada Day festivities, then off to Mercury Lounge in Ottawa for Canada Day.  Next, Scottsdale for 4th of July.  Westfest in Chicago on the 11th,  then Asheville, Toronto and closing out the month in Europe at Tomorrowland, Derrick Carter’s stage, a B2B with Seth Troxler, Paris for B2B with Phil Weeks at Rex Club, then off to Ibiza.  August is busy and I got my party, Classic vs. GLA, in SF with Luke Solomon.  

And finally Mark, any advice for your fans on how to make it in today’s fast paced game?

My advice for new kids coming up – 1. Make tracks, it’s a good way to get your name out.  2. SoundCloud – record and post your mixes.  3. If you particularly like a label, make your tracks to suit their sound.  And send them your tracks.   4. Be persistent and keep recording mixes.

Mark Farina artist/label pages & releases on Traxsource.

Great Lakes Audio

Mark Farina

Homero Espinosa artist/label pages & releases on Traxsource.

Moulton Music

Homero Espinosa