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, 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.
album review from all music
In the liner notes to his DJ-Kicks, Juan MacLean makes the process of producing a commercially released mix sound as nerve-wracking as making an album with a band. From merely listening to this set, one wouldn’t know the hassles involved in selecting and licensing the tracks, not to mention the mental fatigue caused by the sequencing and the actual mixing. In the end, simplicity won out. Heavy on 2009-issued house records, and mixed live on two turntables (as a preference, not as a jab at flawlessly beatmatched digital mixes), MacLean’s DJ-Kicks is simply a reflection of what the DJ/producer was into at the time it was made. Beginning and ending with brief appearances from separate mixes of the Juan MacLean's “Happy House,” and containing an effectively twice-deployed Theo Parrish dub of Rick Wilhite's 1996 beatdown “Get on Up,” the mix carries a shrewdly mapped-out, albeit unforced, circularity. Even when two successive tracks contrast with one another, as with Jee Day's chest-quaking “Like a Child” and Giom’s smoothed-out “I Know You Were Right” (tame enough for a mall clothing store), it’s all pleasurable and translates as easily to a club as a car ride. The Juan MacLean's own “Feel So Good,” featuring vocals from Nancy Whang and drums from Jerry Fuchs (who passed away in November 2009), generates the set’s greatest rush and might be the best DJ-Kicks exclusive track since the one provided by Claude Young.
1 Feliz Casa [version] Juan MacLean 1:04
2 Spaghetti Circus Still Going 5:46
3 Ebony Luca Doobie, Andre Crom 2:50
4 Planets 6th Burough Project 3:56
5 Take Me A+O 3:03
6 Get On Up!! [version] Rick Wilhite 2:50
7 Here Today Gone Tomorrow Florian Meindl 4:53
8 Don't Take It  Armando 3:30
9 Like a Child Jee Day, Jef Day 5:50
10 I Know You Were Right Giom 3:44
11 Chip Chip Superlounge 6:34
12 Pieces of Me Manual Sahagun 5:25
13 Everybody Get On the Decks Sonny Foderra 4:44
14 Laid Out Danny Howells 4:54
15 Simple Things [version] Shit Robot 5:19
16 Feel So Good (Dj-Kicks) Juan MacLean 3:58