The Juan MacLean
New York house meets rock’n’roll by way of funk and post-rock
This article is from 2009.
With the temporary absence of LCD Soundsystem while James Murphy and co near the finish line of recording their third album (and not, as rumoured at one point, split up never to return), the next best alternative for fans of New York disco-punk might well be one of Murphy’s oldest accomplices on his DFA label.
‘I must have known James since the very early 90s,’ says John Maclean, otherwise known as the fulcrum of angular house-meets-rock’n’roll outfit The Juan Maclean. ‘He was our live sound engineer in my old band Six Finger Satellite, so when I left the band and started doing my own dance music programming, I went to James and Tim Goldsworthy’s studio in New York to finish off my first twelve inch. We were putting our heads together trying to figure out who should release it, and a few months later James and Tim just decided to put that twelve inch and some early Rapture stuff out themselves. That was the start of DFA Records.’
Maclean’s new album The Future Will Come is his second as The Juan Maclean, but the first since SFS’ Law of Ruins in 1998 to feature a full band (which now includes LCD’s Nancy Whang). ‘Even though we were on Sub Pop, the biggest independent label in the US,’ recalls Maclean, ‘I was just tired of having to navigate other personalities, so I quit and went off to be an English teacher.
That’s why dance music was so appealing; I made my first album (2005’s Less Than Human) on my own in my home studio without having to rely on a band. The irony doesn’t escape me that I’m touring round with a group of people all over again, although as Six Finger Satellite we were a dark, angry bunch. It’s easier now; The Juan Maclean are basically just a collection of my friends.’
Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, 0131 225 1757, Mon 17 Aug with The X-Vectors; Optimo at the Sub Club, Glasgow, 0141 248 4600, Sun 16 Aug.