By Mandi Kimes
Juan Wauters will be performing tomorrow night at Valley Bar with local favorites Bear State, ROAR, and Lonna Kelley. I had the opportunity to discuss the Beatles, recording his new record, his Uruguayan roots, and The Beets (no - not the band from Doug)
Mandi: What brought you to the States from Uruguay? Have you been back since?
Juan: My parents decided to leave for economic reasons; there was an economic crisis in Uruguay that took over the whole region. They become frustrated with the country and didn’t want their kids growing up there. I try to go as much as I can. I’ve been three or four times in the last thirteen years. There’s a chance I can play there, which will be the first time. It’s gonna be a big deal. It might happen in August. If not, I want to go in November or December.
Mandi: Who are your musical inspirations, both growing up and now?
Juan: I look to the Beatles a lot, and the Ramones. Looking back, I didn’t know why I liked them, but now I like them because they’re good songwriters. The Beatles took it to the next level with production. I was thinking what have I been listening to lately, and it’s actually been the Beatles. But, I really like a bunch of different music - I’m listening to Uruguayan music a lot. I love music from South America; I just like music in general. Music is weird: you start it at home, then show it to friends, then get out there. It’s constantly evolving.
Mandi: Your album, Who Me?, took only two weeks to write. Was that a goal you had set for yourself, or did it just happen that way?
Juan: I was really busy at the time, and I only had two weeks off. So, awhile back, I did a session for Daytrotter and afterwards, I had mentioned to the person running the studio, Ian Harris, that I was thinking about recording at home, but can’t do it in New York (where I live). So, we recorded it in the Daytrotter Studios. We recorded seventeen songs. And I love (Ian) - and thank goodness, because working with him was an absolute pleasure. I’m really happy with the way (the record) turned out.
Mandi: Is this your first time in Arizona? What do you hope to discover here?
Juan: I played Arizona twice with my old band the Beets; once in Tucson and once in Phoenix. So, this will be my first time for solo record. I hope that people come to the show and have a good time I’m really excited about the music going on there. My goal has been to try to find freedom through music.
Mandi: Did you name your old band The Beets after the band in the Nickelodeon cartoon Doug?
Juan: We had no clue that existed when naming the band.