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A Sincere Man. Interview with Mac Demarco

by Rose Blanton

My conversation with Mr. Mac Demarco was everything you hope for in a musician but usually don’t get. He was intelligent, sincere and down to earth. Salad Days is an introspective album that he’s put out for his fans. It’s a scope into the mind of Demarco. I was lucky enough to get a taste before its official release but you can pick it up come April 2nd.

Rose Blanton:  Both your EP and LP have done well, and we all know real jobs blow. If you weren’t making music what would you be doing instead?

Mac Demarco: I don’t know, I get asked this every once in a while. I’d probably end up going to school, I never went to school. Or  just give up and get my plumber’s ticket and move back to Edmonton and become an alcoholic.

RB: You tour schedule is intense, got any good stories?

MD: I HAVE SOOOOO MANY STORIES! I do like touring. Sometimes it’s crazy. We’re really lucky and we’ve gone all over the world. You can’t complain about getting paid to see the world. I’ve had to reel myself in a little bit at some points. You know, when your poisoning your body night after night after night, you end up chipping a couple years off your life. I’ve always wanted to be able to do this and now that I am, it’s hard to complain.

RB: So tell me a story.

MD: When we were in Beijing, they were all “it’s an honor, you’re playing at the oldest rock club in Beijing”. And I was all “oh crazy how old is it?” And then were all: “5 years old.” [laughter ensues] Asia is just very different.

RB: You’ve said that you’ve been offered support tours but you don’t take them because they’re with bands you don’t admire. Who do you admire?

MD: Right now, I have a lot of friends that I’d like to shout out but I don’t think anyone will know who they are. But uh, Connan Mockasin from New Zealand. I met him a little while ago, I love his music. I like a lot of west coast stuff like Aerial Pink. The OC’s.

We went on tour with Phoenix. I don’t really know anything about Phoenix I’d heard a couple songs. And I thought, I don’t really know if I want to go on this, it’s kind of weird, kind of a pain in the ass for us. But everyone was like YOU HAVE TO DO IT, it’s going to be so good for your career. And I mean I don’t know if it was good for our career but the guys in the band were super huge sweethearts.

RB: Was it intimidating at all? 

MD: It was weird. It felt more like we were playing for Phoenix. They asked us because they’re fans of what we do. Their audience wasn’t into us at all. [both of us start laughing ]. The way most of the venues worked was there was no alcohol on the floor so usually during our set most people were in the lobby getting their drink on.

RB: Those people fucking suck

MD: Yeah, I mean it was weird. But Phoenix watched us every night. But it’s like they’re not even a band, they’re like a corporation. They bring a staff of like 40 people.

RB: That’s crazy.

MD: Yeah it’s pretty insane but it’s nice to see because I would never even consider touring like that.

RB: So I just listened to Salad Days, bang up job! Has making music at all become a chore or is it still something fun that you do?

MD: That’s kind of the weird thing about Salad Days. I had to block time off from touring and tell my management and label like no press, no nothing. Let me make an album. You guys are running me dead.

And you know 2 was out for over a year before I started recording Salad Days, so I finally sat down and was like I have to do this. And it did feel like a chore. I was looking at it in a completely wrong way, trying to one up myself. Just the typical sophomore album bullshit. The main thing I got out of it is I eventually gave up on all that stuff. I had to re-learn  why I liked making music in the first place, why I liked recording in my room all the time. Because it’s fun. It’s fun for me. It’s only turned into this weird job in the last year or so. Once I figured that out, I was having a blast.

RB: So what is Salad Days about? 

MD: It refers to a youthful or innocent period.  And a lot of people having been asking me already so you jaded? And I’m not, I’m 23. It’s me reflecting, I had to re-learn to have fun with music and I had to re-count my blessings. I’m getting paid to tour and travel and I don’t have to work a shitty job. And it’s weird because you like start getting pissed off about that. And you kind of have to be like “ What have you been working the last five years for? Why are you complaining?” It’s essentially me talking myself out of being a crybaby indie rock butthead.

RB: In the end of January you did something with Tyler the Creator and no one’s really said too much about it. Can you talk about it?

MD: We did a little recording, just a pinch, and a little video.  I don’t know how much I can talk about it. It’s going to probably be very offensive when it comes out.

RB: So I really like Chamber of Reflection off of Salad Days. What’s your favorite track?

MD: I think it’s probably that one. There’s no guitar on that song, I’ve never recorded a song with absolutely no guitar, which is interesting. The idea behind it, well it’s a Free Mason reference because before they become Free Mason’s they had to go into this room called the Chamber of Reflection where they think about the life they brought with them, the life they’ve lived up until this point and all their wrong and right doings. And that’s basically what I did with this album. I recorded this album in a windowless room in Brooklyn by myself. I think Chamber of Reflection sums the album up better than Salad Days to tell you the truth.

RB: Anything you want to tell the world?

MD: God Bless