Interview - Mac DeMarco
Mac DeMarco talks Salad Days and the internet.
Mac DeMarco is known to be crazy, loud and to happily say what is on his mind. However, Mac shaped up to be far more jaded by the system than expected. Showing a different side in our interview, touching on the anxiety surrounding Salad Days, working with Tyler, The Creator and why the internet makes it so damn hard to stick your thumb in your bum more than once.
Hey man, how you going?
I'm okay, pretty good.
Great to hear. Alright, so probably the most important question of the interview would be; do you support the Oilers or the Rangers?
I'm still an Oilers man but I mean I'm not so in into hockey. People often assume I am because I'm Canadian but that's not really the case. I mean I watch it and if the Rangers were to play I would probably start watching it here. I don't really ever have an interest unless the city I'm living in is going crazy.
Okay. You also worked with Tyler, The Creator earlier this year, what happened?
I just shot a little skit with him for his TV show. It was kinda weird and it'll probably be very offensive but it was fun. Nice to meet the guy.
Is there any particular reason why you did it with him?
I didn't even really know it was for the TV show but he was like, 'Come into the studio!' and I was, 'Okay'. We have the same press people so it was easy to set up and I just showed up and that was that.
Okay, let's move onto your most recent album, Salad Days, can you give me an insight into the mindset you were in when you were writing it?
I was pretty frustrated and exhausted. I was in a bad mood in the beginning but by the end I felt alright. It's kind of reflected in some of the songs. I wrote it inbetween two very hefty tour schedules so it was a little of a chore... Okay, not a chore but it was hard for me to get back into the mindset when I'm writing and recording.
You described the process of writing as initially a chore but then something hard to get into, would it be fair to say that you are supposed to enjoy writing an album?
Well thats the thing, exactly. When I went back into it there was so much pressure, a whole bunch of stuff was going on and I didn't have a whole lot of time. It was stressful and the whole process of the record was me, 'Wait a minute, why are you feeling like? You love doing this.' It was about kind of relearning why I loved doing it in the first place. You know what I mean?
Uhuh. How did you try get into the album?
Well, when I started I was like I've gotta write this song, look at that song, gotta do this and that. Eventually that was the thing, I was like, 'Why am I thinking this? I'm driving myself insane.' Eventually it just turned into me enjoying it and it was good in the end. But at the beginning it was very difficult for me.
You said you were in a lot pressure, in between two tours, was there anything else?
For myself it was like, 'Man you've been playing the same songs for so long.' Whilst the label wanted me to put out an album, they gave me a date and if I didn't put it out then I would have had to wait a long time for another album. I don't know, the sophomore album always carries a lot of, 'What's he gunna do? What's he gunna do?' So it was a little bit stressful.
How did you try and deal with this stress?
I just had to forget about it because it's really stupid, it's ridiculous. It's not my second album, it's my tenth album. So I mean the pressure is there but it's all stupid anyway. I just kind of did something I wanted to do and I ended up being pretty happy.
As a songwriter, is there a particular moment in your life that you draw on inspiration?
I try and write about current stuff. I always write about my own life so I feel like if I go back and write about something from awhile ago then I have already probably written about it. No use in repeating myself but this album is definitely very relevant to how I was immediately before I wrote it and still kind of today. But yeah...
So would it be fair to say that the album represents the stress and anxiety that you were experiencing and still are now?
A little bit... Well a lot of it... The album is two-sided in a way, it has where I felt all that and worn out. I also think a lot of the album for me is me looking at all that and finally gettting a chance to absorb all of it and being like, 'Count your blessings you old dick. You are going to fucking Asia and Australia and Europe all the time. There is nothing to complain about.' It was kinda me snapping myself out of it I think was what the album turned out being.
You are also notorious for your live shows, what is your reasoning behind that?
I don't know. I guess I just like having fun. If I'm degrading myself, being weird, then I don't think people feel so self-conscious about themselves and it opens the door for everyone to let loose. Because it's supposed to be fun, it's rock'n'roll!
Do you find that where you go sometimes audiences will react differently based on what they have heard you do in the past?
Yeah definitely. I think that everything I've ever done will always been there because of the internet is crazy. So some people think that something I did four years ago I will do again...You know you never know... Maybe I will, maybe I won't. It's funny seeing that reaction from people.
Would you it be correct to say that you find it annoying that someone expects you stick your finger in your bum and then in your mouth and go a little bit wild?
I don't know, I think it just makes sense. People are just looking for something or something to talk about something else. I think it's just the way things have worked out but I... I don't know if people really want to see me stick a drumstick up my arse again. Then again you never know. (laughter)
Furthermore, how do you plan to tour the album live?
We have done a couple of shows already and just taking the songs to my band will see the album songs change in pace. We now have keyboards on stage which is a brand new thing for my bandmates and I. Things are shaping together slowly but for sure. I'm definitely trying to present the songs in ways that will be recognisable but at the same time I'm just going to let them go their own way.
Okay, unlike most artists you have been both an interviewer and an interviewee. Which do you prefer?
I prefer being interviewed. I'm not very good at being an interviewer. I never do my research and I never know what to talk to them about. When the camera is on I'm not all that funny until it gets to the editing booth.
You say that you are not very funny, is that because you feel that there two sides to you? The side on stage and then the side off-stage?
Yeah, I don't know. I think the side of me on-stage is definitely part of me because myself is another side. I think when I'm trying to be funny, I'm not and when I'm being myself it's maybe a little bit more funny for me. I don't know.
Otherwise, do you have any plans to return to Australia this year?
No, not slated but I would really like to return. It's really cool down there.
What do you like about Australia?
It's warm, the people are really nice and it reminds me of Canada a lot. Maybe that's because we were in Asia and just coming from there I felt like I was at home. I don't know, I just had a great time, a lot of great bands and music loving kids. I just really like it down there.
Why is it like Canada?
Ummm...I don't know! When we rolled into Melbourne, driving through the downtown, seeing the way it is laid, how people live, their houses it reminded me of Vancouver-style city. It just made me feel at home, which I usually don't when I'm that far away from home.
Did that make you feel more comfortable playing live on-stage?
Yeah, I think so. Although it is hard to gauge it as we were in Beijing and Shanghai where people didn't speak English and there people understand what I'm saying. They get the jokes I make and it definitely made me feel more comfortable.
Alright, so how does it feel to have all these fans everywhere?
How does it feel? Amazing. It's like something I never thought would happen and it's really crazy. Like we just got back from Brazil, Chile and Argentina and down there it is so far away where I live. But you see people so into it and you are like, 'I don't understand how this works...'
How were those tours down there?
They were great! Crazy shows and crazy kids! They are crazy down there and you know I can always gauge it on how the crowd surf goes and it was more pulling. Everyone was just pulling. They just really, really excited.
Awesome, well I don't have anything else to ask but is there anything you want say?
No, not really. God Bless. Love your mum.
Thanks man, you too. Have a nice day.