INTERVIEW: Mac DeMarco
Take a Springsteen fan who writes songs that reflect his being in the moment, creates his own chords in open tuning and isn’t afraid to get naked on stage. The result? A wonderful and ever-so-charming gent who goes by the name MAC DEMARCO.
Capturing our attention with his first serious project Makeout Videotape, DeMarco soon graduated his artistry to a level that was to be acknowledged by his own name alongside his 12-track EP Rock And Roll Night Club followed by the release of his debut album 2. Housing rustic instrumentation to adorn songs about his favourite cigarettes, his relationship with Kiera “Kiki” McNally and essentially, the gamble of life, DeMarco welcomed us into his soothing terrain of sound; teaching us that less certainly can be more.
Maintaining this quality of musicianship, Mac DeMarco has once again delivered a sophisticated record titled Salad Days. Full of wonder, privacy, emotion and talent, the artist deals with the idea of youth, as well as his sudden stardom as it’s a concept he still at times struggles to grasp.
Released only extremely recently through Spunk Records (featuring the previously heard singles ‘Passing Out Pieces’ and ‘Brother’), we were delighted to have a chat with Mac DeMarco regarding the new record, his collaboration with Tyler The Creator, touring schedules and more.
Before Makeout Videotape, DeMarco found himself in a few bands as a high school student. Having not really heard of his previous formations The Meat Cleavers, The Sound Of Love and Outdoor Minors, we asked the artist if he would consider Makeout Videotape to be his first proper music project.
Yeah, well it was the one that I kinda started taking seriously first.
Post Makeout Videotape, DeMarco started playing under his own name which eventually saw him being picked up by Brooklyn independent label Captured Tracks. Although recording everything himself, DeMarco also has a live band made up of three of his buddies. How did this live band come together exactly?
I’ve played with those guys for years in different bands and all kinds of different stuff but, I don’t know, it was just kinda like none of them had jobs when I signed to Captured Tracks; so I was like, “Hey, you guys wanna play in my band? I’ll pay you” and they were like, “Okay, sweet.” It worked out!
As aforementioned, DeMarco released his second full length album Salad Days in Australia on Friday, 28th March through Spunk Records. Upon listening to the title track, you get the sense that the term “salad days” is a metaphor for something to do with youth and possibly even a lack of it. Where exactly does it come from?
It’s from Shakespeare, from Anthony and Cleopatra. “Salad days” is a reference to a youthful time in someone’s life, and a lot of people use it in reference to that youthful time being gone. But my interpretation of it or the way I’ve portrayed it on that album is more of like maybe I feel jaded sometimes, but you’ve got to kind of snap yourself out of it and be like, “Yo, what are you doing you stupid moron? You’re so young, don’t feel like this.”
The Mac DeMarco we’ve all become familiar with creates a brand of very unique guitar styling, modest drumming and gorgeous harmonies. So when we clocked over to track #9 of the new album, ‘Chamber Of Reflection’, we found ourselves welcoming a whole new side to the composition of DeMarco’s material, as the song was driven predominantly by the work of a synthesiser. Is this something we can start hearing more of in future projects?
Yeah! I’ve been buying a lot of synthesisers. I think it’s definitely something I’m going to give a shot at. So yeah I dunno, just going to give it a try, I think.
Earlier this year, we were informed of a sonic union between two extraordinarily different artists – Mac DeMarco and Tyler The Creator. How exactly did this come about?
I dunno, we have the same press people and he likes my music and eventually I just met him. He’s a really nice guy so it was cool. From a different world though.
When and what can we expect from the release exactly?
It comes out on July 16th on Capitol Records. It’s a double album called White Chocolate and I guess it’s my first producing wrap. I sang on it a little bit but you know I was kinda doing some of the instrumental cues so yeah, it should be interesting.
Speaking of releases, Captured Tracks (the label DeMarco is signed with) have announced a very special collection of 7” vinyl, essential for the personal collection of any Mac DeMarco fan. Entitled, The Wonderful World Of Mac DeMarco 7” Club Volume One, receivers will find a limited, collectable 7” vinyl, possibly alongside a gift in their letter boxes every 6 weeks. We got Mac to further explain the concept behind the release.
I think they’re just going to do live recordings and some demo stuff, just kind of like a little club. We’ll be recording the shows a lot on this tour so if we get a good cut of a song, we’ll put it on vinyl and you know, if you join the club you’ll get something cool like that. We’re also going to give little gifts and stuff. It’s just a nice little opportunity for kids to have a little bit more.
Usually when asking an artist for their favourite record of all time, we’re faced with an onslaught of “ums” and “ahhs” as they carefully pick out their most important LP. Mac DeMarco however, was 110% confident with his answer. So what is it?
Favourite record of all time is Sgt Pep[per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles].
At Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival last year, DeMarco was invited to conduct a series of interviews for MTV’s Weird Vibes segment. Approaching the likes of Sky Ferreira, Parquet Courts, Mikal Cronin and festival punters, Mac was to ask a series of questions with a certain delivery that was a little outside the conventional box. What was his favourite interview?
The whole thing was a pretty weird experience, it was very nerve racking but uh, I’d say maybe doing the interview with Toro Y Moi or like the Foxygen guys, they’re friends so it was a little bit more comfortable for me.
Any fan of Mac DeMarco will know how big a fan he is of a certain brand of cigarette – Viceroy. Not only is his Twitter background a tiled spread of the packet’s design, you’ll also find him talking about them from time to time whilst probably smoking one simultaneously. Ultimately though, all you have to do is listen to his first album, 2. Not only does he mention them throughout his songs, he dedicated an entire track to them titled ‘Ode To Viceroy’. What makes them so much greater than any other cigarette?
Ohh they’re shitty, they suck. They’re bad, but I love them. They’re just the cheapest that’s why I bought them, but I can’t even buy them cause I live in the States now so, that’s the way she goes.
In the past we’ve received an answer that resulted in puppies; but Mac kept it simple when asked what he’d request to have in his tour rider.
Well what do we request right now.. Errm, I don’t know I guess like socks and underwear is always pretty nice; but right now I think we just have McDonalds meals and beer, just the bare minimum.
With Splendour In The Grass coming up, we’ve been trying to work out who’ll be coming over to Byron to hang out this July. With a gap big enough in his touring schedule alongside the recent release of Salad Days, Mac DeMarco seemed like a likely candidate to come and party. However, it seems as he has different plans to tend to during this time off, as we initially asked him if we can expect any sort of tour in Australia within the next few months..
Possibly. Probably not in that period because I’m getting a sex change operation? But then maybe afterwards. It’ll actually be Macy DeMarco after that.
“Yeah sweet, so no Splendour In The Grass then?”
Splendour In The Grass?
“Have you heard of that festival we have over here?”
No, I know Meredith and Golden Plains, but I don’t know Splendour In The Grass.
“No worries, it just falls in that time gap that’s all”
Oh that’d be cool. If it’s anything like Meredith then I’d love to come.
Unfortunately DeMarco did sound incredibly genuine about having no idea what Splendour was. All we can do now is pray to the Gods that Mac DeMarco/Macy DeMarco will make it over here for one of the country’s finest Winter music festivals!
Mac DeMarco’s second album Salad Days is available to purchase HERE via Spunk Records.
Words by Hannah Galvin.