Since crossing paths in 1999 with James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy-the duo who two years later launched independent dance-punk label DFA Records-John MacLean's life has been a whirlwind. It was around then that he tweaked his name to Juan MacLean with the intention of creating electronic music, but not, he explains, the sort where "people get up there with a laptop and a beard, smoking a bunch of pot and tweaking knobs for dudes who stand there with their arms folded."
Now, Juan MacLean has become one of the more prolific artists on the DFA label, which is also home to LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip and Black Dice.
Shortly after the release of his debut album, Less Than Human, MacLean began a world tour with LCD-a trip he says consisted of "little bits and pieces of the usual insanity."
There were two buses on this particular tour. First was LCD Soundsystem's bus, referred to by MacLean as ""the knitting bus' because there was a lot of knitting and shit like that going on." Then there was MacLean's bus, which the LCD camp called "The Warped Tour Bus" due to the excessive amount of skateboards, BMX bikes and hackey sacks onboard.
"One night we stole a bunch of plywood from a nearby building site and made jumps and little ramps and were skating and riding all over them-jumping over each other, knocking down beer and whiskey bottles. I think there was a lot of acid going around," MacLean recalls, noting that the cops eventually spoiled their extreme drugs 'n' sports extravaganza.
MacLean's current tour, a series of DJ gigs in club venues across Europe and North America, is unlike previous tours, when he performed with a live band.
"DJing is a different story," he explains. "There's not much you can do on the visceral level that a band operates on. I try to mix things up quite a bit. I've never been accused of being the most sophisticated person on the DFA roster. My idea of a good show is like naked people dancing and rolling around on the floor, glo sticks, dust masks-shit like that. My mother asked me the other day, "Juan, do you make ecstasy music?' And I said, "Yes.'"
Juan MacLean will be spinning a DJ set at Belo Nightclub on Saturday, March 10. 619-231-9200.