Emerging Artist - Manic Focus
John McCarten, better known by his stage name, Manic Focus, is a rising electro-soul producer from Minnesota who now considers Chicago, Illinois his home. Combining soulful progressions with intimate beat patterns and filthy bass, this talented young man is currently sweeping the electro-soul scene by storm, and for good reason. Previously releasing EP's such as Expanding Mind and Bad MFer: Remix Compilation Volume 1, Manic Focus has surely established himself as being one of the hottest producers in the game.
After an extremely successful tour debuting his most recent album, Distant Perspectives, JMac continued to spread his name into the summer festival season, filling stage left and right to watch this magician do his thing. More recently, at the highly acclaimed Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan, Manic Focus joined forces with fellow electro-soul legend, Michal Menert to close out the final day of the festival with the debut of the highly anticipated Manic Menert. With Denver’s very own hip hop advocate AC Lao providing underlying beats on the drums, this set was truly one for the record books. The Forest Stage could not have gotten any more packed, and where the given speakers lacked in sound quality, JMac made sure to make up for it in live energy and passion. When Manic dropped his extremely euphoric remix of Disclosure’s hit tune Latch, I was immediately brought back to Sherwood Court just a day earlier, when Philadelphia based jam band Conspirator brought JMac out on stage to play a live cover of this huge track highlighted by Manic Focus himself slaying it live on a keyboard guitar. In my personal opinion, Manic Focus was easily one of the top performers of the entire weekend at Electric Forest, and for that reason alone, you should definitely give this man an in depth listen if you haven’t already taken the chance to - I can promise you that you won’t regret it.
McCarten also happens to be a member of Griz’s rapidly growing music label, Liberated Music, and seeing all the success this producer has achieved in just this past year alone, it is virtually impossible to say that the name Manic Focus will simmer down anytime soon. It’s almost bewildering to think that shortly under a year ago, Manic Focus played a show for $5 at Stearn’s East, a dorm hall at my university. Then, just a few months after, he had completely sold out Boulder’s Fox Theater just a short trek away. In my opinion, it is always great to see artists such as JMac receiving the respect and praise that they deserve for all the hard work, time, and dedication that go into making this kind of music a reality. Aside from McCarten’s upbeat stage presence, JMac is an incredibly laid back yet extremely intellectual individual, with a hidden love for live magic. If you’re ever lucky enough to get the chance to chill with John in person, slip in the request for him to perform a quick magic trick, as you’d surely be pleasantly intrigued with the witchcraft this multi-talented producer is able to pull off right before your very eyes if the situation is right.
Alas, the future is extremely bright for this rising electro-soul producer. With each new release Manic Focus puts out there, his fan base only continues to exponentially expand. His most recent release, On the Horizon, racked up a couple hundred thousand plays when it was dropped by ThisSongIsSick as an exclusive premier just a few weeks ago. JMac next plans on collaborating with the like of the immensely talented rising electro-soul duo Break Science, as they will soon debut the first ever taste of Manic Science, hopefully accompanied by a few brand new unreleased tracks. Keep an eye out for the name Manic Focus, as it is only a matter of time before his name is atop the lineup of some of the most highly acclaimed festivals here in the US. If you happen to be lucky enough to have Manic Focus come to a town near you, I strongly urge you to go out of you way and attend the event, as you most definitely will have an amazing time. Electro-soul is on the rise my friends, and with it, take advantage of this limited opportunity to catch a producer of such high stature while tickets are still going for a more than reasonable price - I can assure you that this won’t be the case for very much longer. ;)
Written By: Cooper Turley