Mac DeMarco interview: "We’ve got a bunch of new toys to play with onstage"

The quirky Canuck delves into self-analysis on a surprisingly introspective new LP

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Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco Photograph: Brad Elterman


The Canadian musician Mac DeMarco has inspired something of a cult following for his rude, lewd and sometimes nude stage antics—oh, and his songs. Still, despite his brand of so-called “jizz jazz,” DeMarco sounds strikingly introspective on his second full-length, Salad Days. We caught up with the new Brooklynite at the warehouse of his label, Captured Tracks, to talk self-awareness and salad.
 
The first lyrics on Salad Days are, “As I’m getting older, chip upon my shoulder.” The lamentations spread outward from there.
I guess it’s a little serious. A couple of things happened to me over the last few years of touring: Some have been good; some have been bad. Some of it is pinching myself to make sure I’m not acting like a prick or feeling jaded. We kind of just wound up in New York in the middle of the tour and my girlfriend was down here, and we weren’t set that up in any way. She’s not a U.S. citizen and I’m not; things are just complicated. In general, going from playing shows to, like, nobody a couple years to playing to a whole bunch of people: I’ve become a public thing for some people now. It gets a little weird, I think.
 
Many of the new song titles have an active request. Are you giving advice?
For the most part, I think it’s me trying to give myself advice. All of the songs are pretty personal; it’s just me reflecting. That’s more or less what it is—me being like, Come on, man.
 
How does that reflective air jibe with the take-it-easy persona you’ve cultivated?
Maybe I’m portrayed that way or come off that way—and I am a pretty easygoing person—but when I get a chance to sit down and think about it, it’s a little bit different.
 
What’s your favorite salad?
I’m not really a salad guy. But I did start eating this salad from the corner store: a chicken Ceasar. Little bit of meat, little bit of salad; that’s about it.
 
What’s this I hear about cocaine-mirror merchandise?
I’m not sure if they’ve been made yet. We’re definitely trying to get some funky items for this album. I think they’re doing a life-size cutout of me holding the record for the record stores.
 
Fast Times–style. Tell me about your Tyler, the Creator collaboration.
Late summer or fall, we’ve got a double album with 25 songs on it coming out called White Chocolate. It’s my first opportunity to try producing rap. We worked with a couple people, but it’s basically him rapping and me making beats.

The latest record feels very raw.
I’m not a professional recording guy by any means. I do it myself and to the best of my ability. During this album, a lot of my gear was breaking and shit. So, if I got a take where there wasn’t a super fucked-up amount of hiss or the tape didn’t snap, I’d be like, “Okay, that’s the one.” It’s the way it works with the stuff I’m working with. I like the way it turns out.
 
Do you have any onstage tomfoolery planned for this tour?
We’ve decided, let’s drop all the shit we do now because we’re so sick of doing it and just let new stuff come to light. We’ve got a bunch of new toys to play with onstage. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.
 
Were you pretty pumped about Canadian hockey this year?
Did they win the Olympics?
 
The men and the women.
Well, there you go. That makes me proud but I’m not a huge hockey guy. A lot of people are confused when I’m like, “Oh, I don’t really know about hockey”—because I’m Canadian. For me, the hockey guys in high school were just the biggest fucking apes. So, they kind of turned me off.

Mac DeMarco plays Baby's All Right Apr 8 and Webster Hall Apr 9.


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