“Juan Zaballa was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But this Ramones lover, now residing in Far Rockaway, Queens NY really comes into his own as Tall Juan” is his bandcamp description. And yes, one thing we can be sure of is that Tall Juan is really a big fan of the Ramones; in fact, for his latest release Why not? he includes a cover version of Chinese Rock, which counts with Barbara Zampini aka Barbara Ramone as a stellar appearance on bass. ‘We are friends. I’m friend with her and her boyfriend Dan. They are good friends with my sister Agustina, that’s how we met, back in Argentina about 10 years ago.’ After asking him if he heard any good story about Dee Dee, he said ‘I don’t know any or maybe i don’t remember any story. Once we were at the Chelsea Hotel, where she used to live with him and she took us down to the basement where the Boiler room is, where Dee Dee said he saw Sid Vicious Ghost.’
He sings I like to stay home, and after asking him ‘where is home?’ Juan said ‘Home is My House in Far Rockaway.’ Yes, there is where he lives, but he wasn’t born in the USA, he was born in Argentina. Why did you leave Argentina? Did you find in NYC what you where looking for? ‘I think I left Buenos Aires because I wasn’t feeling alright, and I felt going away could be a good way to feel better, and it definitely was. I came to NYC in search of my sister Flor and I did Find her’. USA sounds great, and NYC even better, but we all know it’s not that easy to live there legally. Are you under an artist visa? If yes and if this possibility of living in the USA ever expires, where is next? ‘Yes, I am. I don’t think that as a Possibility, but the only place I’ve been to once and said, I would like to spend some time here, is Mexico city, DF. Maybe that one?’
You can tell by listening to his music that the sound he has, has the coolest of the lo-fi but at the same time has the clearness and purity of the hi-fi. After reading the info you find out he has been recorded by Mac Demarco at Jizz Jazz studios. ‘We met here in New York Through my Friend Juan Wauters when we were touring the US with him a couple years ago. Then we moved together to a house in Far Rockaway, where he recorded my songs. I didn’t feel anything really special, he just helped me out letting me use his gear and sending the final Mix to me, which I really appreciate. Thanks that I have some songs out there, I can share my music and I’m able to Book more shows because of all that’.
And talking about booking shows, Tall Juan is going to be touring touring around Europe:
‘We’ll be playing in London at The Lock Tavern on the 21th of January, and at The Shacklewell Arms on January 22nd and then all this other shows listed Below:
23rd Brussels,BE @ Madame Moustache
26th Lille,FR @ DIY Bar
27th Lugano,CH @ TBA
29th Barcelona @ Sidecar
30th Madrid @ Ocho y Medio
February 4th Paris,FR @ Le Mecanique Ondulatoire
After listening to his music and scrolling down through his pictures I can tell Tall Juan is a life fighter; wearing box shorts and boxing gloves, a floral guitar and floral shirt. Who or what is your rival? have you won the battle or are you still in the fight? ‘My Rival will always be all the things I don’t like, and that fight is a never ending one.’
By Nico Wussy.