Legendary DJs Mark Farina and Colette return to Therapy Cafe
By Gary Spencer
Photo: Expect a spontaneous set from Chicago-based DJ Mark Farina, who co-headlines Volume: Deep House Friday with DJ Colette at Therapy Cafe, Jan. 20
Most dance music styles have a short shelf life, but house music has continued to endure since its birth in Chicago in the early 1980s. With the growth of rave culture in the ’90s, Dayton has become a city where house music continues to resonate with people who like to dance, and Therapy Cafe has become the house music headquarters in downtown Dayton with its weekly EDM Tuesday series as well as Volume: Deep House Fridays, the latter of which will be celebrating its second anniversary this coming weekend with the return of not just one, but two legendary producer/DJs for this momentous occasion.
Volume: Deep House Fridays is the brainchild of local promoter Mike Donovan, who received an offer from Therapy to host this event two years ago and couldn’t refuse.
“I love the intimate yet spacious feel of the venue, so I thought it’d be great for a deep house night,” Donovan says. “Deep House is [a] rich and melodic subgenre—it’s less about build up and more about a sustained, comforting lounge feel, which is perfect for Therapy.”
Since its inception, Volume: Deep House Friday has only grown in popularity, developing a devoted following of dance music aficionados as well as new house music followers. Donovan attributes the kinship between the music and audience to the success of the event.
“Volume, at its core, is a showcase of world-class house DJs and producers—a celebration of unity through house music,” Donovan explains. “Volume’s loyal community is like family and everyone is dancing, massive smiles throughout the building, so on that account, Volume is a wild success.”
With an enthusiastic audience in tow, Donovan has been able to bring the heavy hitters of house music to pump up the jams at Volume, including Derrick Carter, Doc Martin, DJ Heather, Todd Terry, and two of the biggest names of the Chicago house scene, Mark Farina and Colette, who will be returning to co-headline Volume for this special edition of the event on Friday.
“The last time Farina and Colette played, I told them I’d love to have them back. They replied ‘anytime,’” Donovan says. “So I thought bringing both of them back for Volume’s two-year anniversary would be a great idea.”
Mark Farina is a music maker and DJ who is most famous for his mushroom jazz series, but whose name is just as synonymous with Chicago house, coming up with that scene as it grew and falling in love with the music surrounding him.
“There would be house mixes on the radio in the ’80s and I used to record them on cassette,” Farina says. “What makes it so strong is house can be a little bit of anything—it taps into soul, funk, gospel vibes, Detroit techno, industrial music from the ’80s…”
Being surrounded by the emergence of this new genre of dance music and DJ culture made Farina want to be a DJ.
“By age 16, I’d go see DJs play teen clubs and see how DJing was done proper,” Farina explains. “Once I saw how it was done, I was hooked.”
Roughly three decades later, Farina still enjoys DJing for the thrill of mixing music and playing the role of taste-maker to anyone who hears his mixes and usually plans them on the fly, making his sets that much more exciting and exclusive.
“I’m always collecting the newest goodies, even an hour before I play, but I like to play some classic jams, too,” Farina explains. “I’m not a preconceived set person—I don’t know what I’m gonna start with or end with.”
DJ Colette also came up in the early Chicago house culture and stood out not just for being the all too rare female in the scene but also for her creative instinct to sing over her mixes, and has since become a trailblazer for female DJs in EDM.
“I started singing over DJs when I was sixteen—I thought if I learned how to DJ, I could sing whenever I liked,” Colette explains. “My friend left his turntables and mixer at my apartment one weekend and I just went from there. In the beginning, I got the occasional ‘you’re good for a girl’ statement—20 years ago, there were probably about 50 women that I knew of who were DJing. Today, that number has grown exponentially.”
Colette has a special set planned for Volume’s second anniversary and is looking forward to returning to Dayton.
“I’ll be DJing and singing my own songs mixed in with tracks that go anywhere from deep to funky,” she says. “I can’t wait to come back and play for their anniversary. The entire night is going to be stellar. I’m just as excited to dance as I am to play.”
In the end, the music, dancing, and playing are what Volume: Deep House Fridays is all about, and its two-year anniversary is about embracing all that.
“A proper deep house night is a luxury—not every place has that,” Farina says. “If you love funky deep house, it’s gonna be a great night in Dayton. Bring your dancing shoes!”
Volume (Rewind): Deep House Fridays presents DJs Mark Farina and Colette Friday, Jan. 20 at Therapy Cafe, 452 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton. DJs Jackie Boy and Tom Reed open. Admission is $20 at the door. Show is 18 and over. Music begins at 9 p.m. For more information, please visit or DJColette.com, DJMarkFarina.net, and Therapy-Cafe.com.