Manic Focus is the electronic music project of John “JmaC” McCarten, a Chicago-based producer originally hailing from the Twin Cities. McCarten’s music is known for its multi-dimensional sound, incorporating elements of soul, dubstep, hip-hop, blues and funk, as well as smooth vocal samples, heavy-hitting bass lines, and the occasional rowdy rhymes of hip-hop artists.
Born in Boston in 1986 and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, McCarten’s introduction to music began at an early age with classical piano training. As a teenager, he became enthralled with the hip-hop culture, citing influences such as Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Green Lantern, and Outkast. In high school, McCarten started producing hip-hop infused beats for his classmates to rap over and recorded tracks in his parent’s basement. While attending DePaul University and living in his new home of Chicago, McCarten continued to master Ableton software and perfect his craft, which has evolved into the electro-soul genre under which he classifies his music today.
Over the last 5 years, JmaC has released four full-length albums, each one a new evolution in sound and approach. After releasing his first three albums independently - Definition of the Rhythm in 2011, Expanding Mind in 2012 and Distant Perspective in 2013 – McCarten released his fourth album, Cerebral Eclipse, on GRiZ’s All Good Records label in 2014. Always one to embrace artistic collaboration, Cerebral Eclipse featured tracks with Dominic Lalli (Big Gigantic), GRiZ, Michal Menert (Pretty Lights Music, Super Best Records) and incorporated an enhanced collection of live instrumentation. He has completed a slew of remixes for artists such as GRiZ, The Floozies, Lettuce, Minnesota and Pretty Lights, and released several works with Pretty Lights Music veterans Break Science.
On the road, JmaC has been steadily building his live performance to include additional musicians and elements of production. Jacob Barinholtz is now a mainstay on the drums, and other musical co-conspirators join the two on select dates around the country. He’s also been known to incorporate surprise guests such as Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli, GRiZ, The Floozies’ Matt Hill, and Russ Liquid, to name a few. Occasionally, fans are treated to the rare live fusion of Break Science and Manic Focus, taking the stage as Manic Science.
In the studio, JmaC continues to push himself to new musical limits by incorporating original, sample-free recordings of many up-and-coming musical allies. This is especially apparent in the material from his forthcoming album, Minds Rising, to be released in April of 2017.
Whether it’s at a small-town venue or a world-renowned music festival on his nationwide headlining tour, you won’t want to miss a Manic Focus throw-down.