I first met Juan Wauters in November last year, opening for his band The Beets at Glasslands in Brooklyn. We became quick friends and realized we had a lot in common musically. Months later he released his outstanding debut solo album North American Poetry. Soon after we played a handful of shows together in Austin for SXSW, where we did nothing but chill. Since then we’ve kept in touch and hang whenever the opportunity is there. Juan and homeboy Mac Demarco dropped by my last show in Brooklyn a couple months back, which is when the picture above was taken.
To get down to business, Juan is one of the most unique songwriters in recent years. He has a weird philosophical take on day-to-day living in his lyrics. His live show and aesthetic is as unique as everything else he does. Backed by Matt Volz’s artwork and an array of triggered lighting, he engages the audience by himself in the chillest way imaginable.
This is his third Empty Bottle performance of 2014 and I could not be more excited to have him back! I caught up with my man on the phone today for a little interview action, and here’s what he had to say.
Jimmy: Sup Homie!
Juan: Sup son! Stoked to come back to Chicago and hang!
Jimmy: Let’s get down to brass tax real quick. Plenty of time to shoot the shit later tonight. Gotta be a pro-journalist for a second.
Juan: Whatever you want to know, bro.
Jimmy: One of my favorite things about your lyrics is your take on day-to day-living, some might say it’s kind of philosophical…
Juan: I just like to think about myself and how to make myself better, you know? I just think about they way I think and how I am, and the way the world works. Kind of my commentary on the world’s condition and the human condition. I don’t know ’bout philosophical…that sounds kinda uptight.
Jimmy: Chill Philosophy?
Juan: Yeah man.
Jimmy: Whats the main difference for you, in shifting from doing The Beets and doing solo style?
Juan: With The Beets it was more of working around the set-up and instruments we were using. But right now I can go further and explore different sounds. And it has become a lot personal now too.
Jimmy: Solo is great cause you can’t break up with yourself…
Juan: Yea man, just living drama free!
Jimmy: So you’re a cutie… You get hit on by the ladies at the rock shows?
Juan: Haha, yeah, I don’t think I get hit on too much or anything like that. Sometimes, it’s chill…I dunno dude. I like to share moments with the ladies and the guys.
Jimmy: You just did Europe and kept posting about how you were accepting fruit. Did people hook it up?
Juan: Yeah, people brought a lot of fruit, but fruit wasn’t too good in Europe. Actually, fruit is kinda bad over there. Matt Volz got some shoes. I got some shoes.
Jimmy: Was Spain really chill because Spanish is your first language?
Juan: Yea, that’s the first time I got to play for a Spanish-speaking audience. I’ve been writing a lot more in Spanish recently. And I got to sing a lot of songs in Spanish. So get to communicate. But I have a lot of Spanish-speaking kids that come to the shows in the states too. They feel like they can identify with me, which is really cool.
Jimmy: What’s next for Juan?
Juan: Going back to New York and recording a record next week that’s gonna come out in March. And have a different record coming out in January, it’s a 50 minute song that I did with Carmelle. That one has many different moods, but is a really weird one. It puts people to sleep, but in a good way. Very peaceful. But I can’t wait to get the second album out in March. I’ve been ready to do this for a long time! Thats what’s up son!
Written by Mr. Jimmy Whispers