Prior to becoming one of the most significant names on the DFA label, John MacLean was a member of Sub Pop band Six Finger Satellite. Initially, Six Finger Satellite fit in with the remainder of the Sub Pop roster, but after one EP, they took a sharp turn into herky-jerky post-punk inspired by Devo, Big Black, and Suicide. By the time they went to record their final album, 1998's Law of Ruins, Krautrock also began to play a major role, as did future DFA head James Murphy, who produced, engineered, and mixed the sessions, in addition to running the band's live sound.
When Six Finger Satellite broke up, MacLean's aggravated emotional state and long-term drug addiction took him low enough to provoke a move from New York to New Hampshire and a drastic change in lifestyle. Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy, who were getting the DFA label off the ground, provoked MacLean to become interested in making music again. Using the name the Juan MacLean, MacLean took the sound of his defunct band to the dancefloor, retaining flashes of post-punk and '70s experimental electronics while grafting bits of early Euro-disco, electro, Detroit techno, and Chicago house.
A handful of singles — including DFA highlights "You Can't Have It Both Ways" and "Give Me Every Little Thing" — led to 2005's Less Than Human, the first album credited to the Juan MacLean. The Future Will Come followed in 2009, preceded by the singles "Happy House" and "The Simple Life" — both of which featured vocals from frequent collaborator Nancy Whang. A year later, MacLean contributed to the !K7 label's DJ-Kicks series. Also during the early 2000s (and beyond,) MacLean became fairly prolific as a remixer, with Air ("Surfing on a Rocket"), Chromeo ("Me and My Man"), Chicken Lips ("White Dwarf"), Roy Davis, Jr. ("I Have a Vision"), and Passion Pit ("To Kingdom Come") just a few of the acts who sought him out. 2013's album In a Dream introduced some '80s synth pop and electronic styles to the band's mix and utilized more of Whang's vocals. It landed in the Top 20 of the Billboard dance chart the following year. The project returned in early 2017 with "Can You Ever Really Know Somebody," which also featured Whang. ~ Andy Kellman