The Wit and Wisdom of Juan Maclean
Most interviews produce a surplus of material, and, unfortunately, sometimes some funny, interesting responses don’t make it into the actual feature. The Juan Maclean offered a treasure trove of such insights. Here are a few interchanges that littered the cutting-room floor from our recent interview.
Q: Why didn't you include "Less Than Human" on Less Than Human? It's your best track, in my opinion (which may not mean squat to you, but there it is).
A: It's interesting you say that. I always secretly considered that my best track, and it is probably the least often mentioned or noticed. It came down to one issue, which was the sound quality, in terms of how it would fit on the album. Someone had mistakenly deleted all the files for that song before it was really done, some moron in the studio, so it has a really different sonic character than any song on Less Than Human. In fact, I always had it earmarked as the definitive song of the album, hence the title. Oh wait, the retard that deleted the tracks for that track was me.
Q: How crucial was the role played by your DFA associates in Less Than Human's creation?
A: Crucial. People keep asking me stuff like, `Now that you've made so many great tracks and a great album with James [Murphy] and Tim [Goldsworthy], do you see yourself going off and working with someone else or doing more by yourself?' I look at it like a happy marriage. You don't walk up to some couple who are happy, living their life in a really effective and rewarding way, and say, `Your marriage has been outstanding for the past few years, do you see yourselves maybe marrying someone else or having a go at it by yourself?' Not that we have that kind of relationship, like husband and wife. I mean, I'm not gay or anything, but I could be if it came down to it, if that's what those guys wanted.
Q: Whence springs your misanthropy? (Not that there aren't many solid reasons for feeling misanthropic, but everyone has unique rationales.)
A: I would say I am not a misanthrope; I am a realist, the rallying cry behind every misanthrope. But behind every misanthrope/cynic is a damaged idealist, and that is me. I just can't believe that people are as stupid/selfish/hurtful as they are. Like all these motherfuckers driving around with 'Support Our Troops' stickers on the back of their SUVs. What the fuck is that? That whole gay marriage thing that everybody forgot about the moment the election was over. Who fucking cares who you get married to? Personally, you can marry your horse as far as I'm concerned, as long as it's consensual.
I don't attempt to justify my misanthropy by citing how I have been wronged in my life, or whatever difficult circumstances I have endured. Pain is pain, and the pain of having a sharpened toothbrush stuck into your kidney hurts just as much as the pain of a college kid who has just had his trust fund payouts lessened to $5k a month due to the failings of his stocks.
Q: It's easy for me to understand your love of Kraftwerk, Moroder, Detroit techno, and Chrome, but not so easy to grasp your fondness for soft rock. What is it about the latter that appeals to you? (Upon reflection, "In the Afternoon” sounds a bit like 10cc's "I'm Not in Love.”)
A: I don't know how you know about my love of soft rock, but I do have a great appetite for it. And, yes, `Not In Love' has been one of the great influences on my music, but nobody has ever even remotely hinted at figuring that. So you must have inside information! I am drawn to music that is viscerally effective, so Black Flag and Flipper are equally appealing to me as Gordon Lightfoot and Bread. I'm a fucking masochistic brooder, too, so I like to sit and listen to that shit and get all upset about it.