As a founding member of the Boy’s Own crew, a regular at formative clubs such as Shoom and Future back in the early days of acid house, and a formative figure in the development of the house music scene, Terry Farley needs little in the way of introduction.
Over a 30-plus year career, he’s been there, done that – as he told 909originals a few years back, “Get the vibe right, and everything else falls into place.” Words to live by. 🙂
In recent years, Farley has been a driving force in the revival of the legendary Faith fanzine, now part of the Defected Records family – the latest edition can be ordered for free worldwide (you only pay for postage) via the Defected Store. Faith has also expanded into a record label and events vehicle – it is planning a mammoth soirée on New Year’s Day in London, at 93ft East, with tickets available here.
Having recorded under various guises over the years such as Roach Motel and Bocca Juniors, as well as his longstanding production partnership with Pete Heller, Farley is still keeping busy in the studio – last month saw him team up with Wade Teo on the track Why We Dance on Rekids, a jacking house cut featuring Kameelah Waheed. You can download/stream it here.
909originals caught up with him.
Hi Terry, thanks for talking to us. What are you up to at the moment?
At this moment it’s about final pushes for our New Year’s Day party at 93ft East and the very last-minute checks for the winter edition of Faith fanzine. The party’s got an ‘NYC on NYD’ vibe with Lenny Fontana who actually played at 54 – or just ‘Studio‘ as they called it – and Pal Joey, a real NY deep house hero for the heads. The fanzine is a Chicago 90’s special with some fantastic dug deep stuff I wasn’t aware of.
You recently put out Why We Dance alongside Wade Teo and Kameelah Waheed – how did that come together?
Well, Wade and myself, along with Snowy, had made a record with the voice of Jungle Wonz’ Harry Dennis (Ghosts), that Ashley Beedle remixed and released. The label also had a brilliant record called America the Beautiful by Kameela. Wade and her got chatting on socials, and we hatched a plan together.
We had nothing but a song title – always a good place to start – and Kameelah quickly created a great set of lyrics that were working on different levels. We are very proud of it.
Are you pretty active in the studio these days?
I enjoy dabbling in the studio these days, and see it as an artistic expression rather than a way of making a living. During those glorious days with Pete Heller and Junior Boys Own, we would be working most of the week from 11 till way past midnight and then straight onto the next mix.
I’m very much an ideas man, and to be honest, I’ve run out of really good ones. I think having room to breathe and gather more ideas, with less immediate pressure, is quite inspiring.
You were instrumental in getting Faith back up and running in 2020, and now Faith fanzine seems to be going from strength to strength. What prompted you to revive it?
We stopped Faith because of the recession hitting advertising and us running out of ideas and new people to feature. Jimmy P and Roual Galloway, who basically did most of the work, also had real jobs to consider.
One day Simon Dunmore rang me from New York and said he was with the Love Injection fanzine crew – it’s fabulous, go search for it – who had told him we had been a major inspiration and ‘would I consider having a chat about bringing it back’, with his help.
The years since Faith was last published were long enough to now have tonnes to write about, so the three of us, myself, Stuart Patterson and Dave Jarvis, went in and had a proper sit-down, and all agreed the time was right. Faith had always been free, and we didn’t want to charge, and Simon and Wez have kindly made this possible again.
As the ‘mission statement’ in the first issue of Faith back in 1999 put it, “Unlike the majority of quick-fix concerns making a mess of things nowadays, Faith respects traditions, it does not junk them.” You could almost be talking about social media with a statement like that! Do you see Faith as a kind of ‘antidote’ to social media?
We see Faith as ‘the dub on the import double-pack 12″’. We would like it to be for everyone, but understand it’s not for those who don’t bother digging a lil deeper. More and more people like something tangible, something to actually hold and collect. That’s our role.
We couldn’t help notice your recent ‘discussion’ on Twitter with an account declaring ‘I Help DJs’...
Oh, him… To be honest, I don’t know him, and going by several DMs from people who did, it’s best kept that way. I guess he represents the reality of kids wanting to be a DJ because of what they’ve seen on Instagram, rather than what they experienced themselves.
The exchange kept a lot of people entertained, which he weirdly tried to claim credit for. I guess that’s another world way away from what we like to believe is ‘our thing’.
A lot of younger producers these days are seeking to emulate that early 90s sound – we’ve lost track of the amount of 1992-sounding rave tracks we’ve been sent. Is that a good or bad thing do you think?
Oh, that’s just how it is. I remember in the early to mid-’90s Pete and myself getting an E-MU ‘Vintage keys rack-mounted synth’ that had all the 70’s Disco organs on it, and we would be looking back at what Leroy Burgess had used on, say Mainline, but with tougher beats.
Pete is top-notch on the SP1200 drum machine – again the classic older sound – so we were looking back but still creating something new rather than a pastiche. I think people like Jansons, Bontan and Darius Syrossian, plus many more are doing the same thing with the 90s as their influence .
Q. When can we expect another Acid Rain/Acid Thunder compilation? Both are still on heavy rotation in the 909originals household.
Acid Rain and Acid Thunder I saw as a three-part exploration, but sadly the company went bust. My idea for part three was very early 90’s New York – at the time they had control of Nu Groove but wasn’t to be.
Again, I’m very proud of those box sets. Ian Dewhirst was the catalyst behind it all and Miles Simpson and Chicago writer Jacob Arnold Gridface were the brains behind the fantastic booklets. Jacob, funnily enough, has contributed to the upcoming Chicago special in the latest Faith fanzine. I wonder if Defected fancy taking a walk into the series, now that they own Nu Groove? 😉
What does the remainder of the year have in store for you?
Well a few ‘bits‘ of DJing, promoting and fanzine stuff. Alongside my co-editors Andy Thomas, Simon Dawson and Nick Gordon Brown, we have all got a to-do list for the Spring/Summer edition. Plus there’s some exciting stuff happening with the Faith record label in early spring. I wanted to put my feet up in Goa in the new year, but that’s been kiboshed.
In other words, keep moving and doing the stuff I love.
Thanks Terry for talking to us. More information on Faith fanzine can be found here.