In these tumultuous times we live in, we are constantly in tune with the future. “Content is king”, they say, and more often than not in the music world, that’s always the case because let’s face it – if don’t have an output, you don’t have relevance.
But what eventually comes to fruition are the rushed projects, the half-finished songs, and the ever disappearing need for that authentic simplicity which seems to have died a slow and painful death in recent years. Thankfully, there are some who have shed the cliché image of the pretentious rockstar gimmick completely, and show that music can still have a fiery soul without all the glitz, glamour and drum samples.
“If someone wants to do a crazy super huge production record and it works out then that’s great if it’s a good record on their hands, but you don’t need a golden paintbrush to make a painting.”
Mac Demarco stands by those words and shows it through the simplistic, mellow psychedelic vibe of his jangle soaked pop music that has become the signature sound for the loveable, Canadian lo-fi king.
“You can use what you got and enjoy yourself and you’ll eventually get some good out of it,” he says. “I like to keep it real, I like to keep it simple and put certain boundaries on what I’m able to do because it feels right to me. It’s the way I learnt how to do it.”
Demarco’s laidback light-hearted demeanour has earned him worldwide adoration, but it’s his music that has helped him score slots on festival lineups including last month’s Coachella, where his renowned on-stage antics led to him proclaiming to fans that his album had leaked, and to download it illegally.
“I think it leaked, I’m not really sure,” he says. “I’m not the type that would go and download it, but I figured if people were going to download it then you can’t really stop them from doing it anyway. It would be nice if people bought it, but my main concern is that people get to hear it.”
For Demarco, the last few years of worldwide success have changed things immensely, but fortunately, he says, it hasn’t changed his heart or his persona.
“I feel the same, but sometimes I feel like the crowds have gotten a bit bigger,” he says. “It’s fun though. I get to play with my friends, make records, and I don’t have to work at a grocery store anymore. It’s pretty dope.”
His most recent release, This Old Dog is a more mature Mac, one where he deals with the introspective part of his soul through a sombre medium while addressing – what would almost seem untouched in a Mac Demarco discography previously filled with positivity and self love – personal themes of past negativity, most namely an alcoholic father. But whether it’s ditching DAW’s for a tape recorder, or picking up the acoustic guitar once in a while, Mac claims it’s the music that he feels has changed the most.
“I was listening to a lot more stripped back stuff,” Mac says. “James Taylor, Paul Simon, that kind of vibe. It just blended in. I’ve always demoed on an acoustic in the past, and that instrument has the nicest sound. You can jam around and sing and it sounds more like a finished idea. To be completely honest, it was just around, so I just left it in there and thought that it worked.
“I don’t think there are any huge pop hits on it or anything, it’s truly just a bunch of songs that I think sound good together.”
Demarco claims his last trip to Australia over a year ago included some of his favourite shows to date, and believes the warm reception he received from fans reminded him of home.
“I like coming to Australia, it reminds me of Canada,” he says. “Beautiful, beautiful place. Kind of far. I didn’t really know what to expect when I came for the first time but it’s probably one of my favourite places to play.”
Demarco remains ambiguous on when he’ll be back, but confirms that it will be in time for festival season. “We should be there in your guys next summer,” he says.
“I don’t exactly know when and if I’m allowed to say what for yet, but it’s something we’re accustomed to already, and it should be quite a treat.”
Mac Demarco’s new record This Old Dog is out now via Captured Tracks.
Written by Benjamin Potter
Via Beat Mag.