Three phone calls straight to voice mail? Getting in touch with the Juan MacLean took a little persistence. His new album, The Future Will Come (DFA Records), met with many a positive review; he’s been steadily gigging ever since. The 40-year-old nu-disco stylist is lucky to spend any time in quiet New Hampshire, where he fled after too many drug-addled years in New York in his twenties. Amid back-to-back tour dates, MacLean returned our call from the road.
Time Out Chicago: Before your move to the electronic realm, weren’t you in a band?
Juan MacLean: My first band was Six Finger Satellite. It’s the first and only band I was ever in. I started when I graduated from high school in the ’90s and quickly got signed to Sub Pop. I became very disenchanted in the late ’90s and quit. I just dropped out of music completely.
TOC: Hence your teaching English?
Juan MacLean: That’s one of the things I had done in between music careers. I got certified and was doing that for a while.
TOC: You contribute a lot of amusing travel stories to your website. Are they all true?
Juan MacLean: Funny you say that. My girlfriend is sitting here laughing out loud at my latest entry. They’re all true stories, generally with a lot of embellishment. I have an incredible amount of people subscribing to it. It was overshadowing the music for a while. People would say, “I love your music, but your blog entries are amazing.”
TOC: SFS tried to channel disco influences, but now the tables seem to have turned a bit.
Juan MacLean: They’re sort of complementary opposites. A big part of the DFA sound is that we all come from indie-rock backgrounds and got into making dance music. Live instrumentation is the biggest thing we’ve brought with us into this electronic-music world. Playing live shows, none of us are standing up there with a laptop.