Interview with John “JMAC” McCarten | Creating in Harmony

As we ask for any improvement in our lives, a desire is born and given vibrationally to us by the Universe. Our emotional realm serves us as an indication of our standpoint between our desires and physical manifestations. We are continually evolving into more and growth it’s inevitable as life flows through us with such a force that we can’t stop it unless we decide so. When we care about how we feel, whatever we do will be inspired in connection with our inner self. In that state, our creative expression will benefit and resonate with ourselves and those around us. 

Artist John “JmaC” McCarten who recently released a new album, Lost in a Digital World, says: “The creative process can be filled with a variety of emotions, but joy, to me, is being able to thoroughly express the emotions through a single cohesive piece that, regardless of the tone of the piece, resonates with myself and others in a harmonious fashion.”

In this inspiring interview, you will discover John “JmaC” McCarten’s creative journey, his aspirations and his contribution through his music.


  • Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is John “JmaC” McCarten and your electronic music project Manic Focus?

I am a mid-80s baby from the Twin Cities (Minnesota) who loves family, friends, music, films, street art, live performances, electronic gizmos, video games, and innovations. 

  • When did you come to the realization that music was your form of creative expression?

I realized music was the best way to express myself creatively when I was ten years old. 

Photo Courtesy Team Manic Focus


  • The music industry has drastically changed as streaming platforms such as Spotify and SoundCloud have made it easier for artists to release their music. What do you think about the contemporary music industry and how do you envision its future?

I think it’s really awesome how streaming platforms have allowed everyone to release music globally and independently.  A lot of doors have been opened for independent artists through streaming platforms, and I hope that more artists contribute to the growing online database of music.  


  • How would you describe your emotions when the music flows to you and through you?

I’m very excited when I find new sounds or ideas to add to my compositions. When I’m working on a new tune, I sometimes feel like I’m not creating the music, but rather, channeling ideas through my skill set to compose a concrete musical piece.  

  • Beyond having passion and talent, to tap into your full potential of expression and create a unique musical style, as you do, you have to allow yourself to connect from within. How does those moments feel to you? 

Those moments are amazing, and those moments share a feeling of accomplishment.  I feel like I’ve pushed myself beyond previous times to create something new.

  • Lost in a Digital World, your new album was just released. What was the inspiration behind this project?

I’m constantly producing music, and this album is a compilation of my most recent moods and memories throughout my musical journey.  I recorded a lot of the record in New Orleans, and the players I worked with down there were really inspirational. I’ve also picked up a lot of new production techniques from producer friends over the years, and I incorporated those techniques into my latest compositions. 

  • Did you experiment with any elements of your music in the creation of this album that was particularly successful? 

I’ve been experimenting with modular synthesis.  I’m still very new to the modular world, but I have a lot of fun exploring melodies using analog gear.  Having produced on my computer for years, it was nice to get out of the box and explore electronic sounds in a totally different way.  

Photo by Corey Ramos
  • You have an American tour coming up for Lost in a Digital World. What are you most excited about in the touring experience? 

This tour has been a lot of fun, and I’ve been testing a lot of unreleased material that appears to be going over well with my fans.  With the exception of a few larger gigs, most of this tour is a solo DJ performance, which gives me a lot of flexibility as far as changing-up sets each night.

  • You take inspiration from funk, soul, and new-era hip-hop music. What artists or songs are the most influential on your personal style?

I grew up listening to a lot of artists from the Rhymesayers label (Atmosphere, Eyedea and Abilities, Brother Ali) as well as a lot of breakbeat electronic acts (The Crystal Method, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Moby).

  • On top of touring, you have performed at festivals including Lollapalooza, High Sierra Music Festival, and Camp Bisco. Do you think your live audiences have a different experience of your music? How so?

I think live performances are a great way for fans to get the full experience of the music.  Listening to my productions on big speakers with big production is always a treat, and I love sharing my music with crowds and connecting with the audience.

  • Music is a career that requires you to constantly produce and perform. How do you maintain your inspiration and enthusiasm to set up your own rules beyond the demands of the industry? 

Listening to new artists and attending live shows are my main sources of inspiration for producing new music and creating new live sets.  I love watching what other artists are doing on tour and seeing the crowd’s reaction.  


  • How does true success feel to you?

True success feels, to me, like you’ve pushed yourself beyond former moments to grow and evolve.  True success feels like evolution as an individual, with your works acting as checkpoints in your growth.

Photo Courtesy Team Manic Focus


  • Are you involved in any charity organization or humanitarian cause you would like to mention?

The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) is an advocacy group that is dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.  We’ve begun working with them and I will continue to support them in the future.


  • The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?

The creative process can be filled with a variety of emotions, but joy, to me, is being able to thoroughly express the emotions through a single cohesive piece that, regardless of the tone of the piece, resonates with myself and others in a harmonious fashion.  

  • When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words from the Abraham-Hicks teachings, what is your take on such a statement?

Be suspicious of what you want (Rumi), but always desire to learn something useful (Sophocles).
Header Photo by Live Edits Lab & Collin Taylor