Video footage from recent festivals in the U.S. and Canada shows a band on top of its game with a frontman who gives just enough of a fuck to make great songs, but without the pretention that often accompanies artists. Nonetheless, DeMarco builds strange appeal through songs that let you in and then corner you with comfort, oddness and beauty.
The phrase “world tour” brings to mind a toy aircraft moving across a kind of antiquated map of the Earth with a little dotted line trailing behind. Over here, we’re really happy that your plane’s dotted line will set you down in Taipei. Have you visited anywhere in Asia before? Any preconceived notions of Taiwan or China you could share with us?
I've never been anywhere close before actually, nowhere even close. Really excited though. I don't really know what it's gonna be like. I have a feeling like I know what some of the food will be like, but then again I'm probably going to be completely surprised.
Creeping about to gather the what of Mac DeMarco has given a general sense of secondhandedness – like the way it feels to rummage around the back of a curiosities shop. This feeling is kind of nestled into your songs and certainly the video for “My Kind of Woman” celebrates usedness. Is this something the director of that music video, Alex Lill, brought to the song or was the location your idea? Can you talk about this a bit? Do you like old stuff?
Alex had that location already picked out, and he had the whole video orchestrated before I showed up pretty much. So I just rolled in and made sure that sketchy dress fit haha. That place was cool though, lots of strange, old, shit. I like old stuff I guess. I really like using older recording and musical gear. It gives the recordings a weird quality. I've always played old guitars and amps too. Don't get me wrong, new stuff can be great, but I think I've just fell into looking out for old stuff - I feel like it's always gonna be cheaper or something.
I really love the scene when you’re seemingly hovering through a storm of condiments. Did you get ketchup in your eyes (or mustard or mayonnaise?) when all that shit was hitting you in the face? Can you talk about that a little? It’s a really cool scene. How did it come about?
Yeah definitely, the mustard and ketchup was a little nasty, but what really sucked was getting the fire extinguisher in my eyes and mouth. That stuff tastes very strange. I don't really know how that scene came about. It was a huge mess to clean up after though.
I think this interview will be translated into Chinese. That might feel a bit strange. But it’s cool because the music scene here in Taipei has really started to open up over the past few years. Knowing this, is there anything you’d like to say to the beautiful women (and men?) that may be swooning next to the press pit when you’re playing in Taipei at The Wall?
"The donkey's balls are always reddest before dawn."
How old were you when you wrote your first song... or second, or third? Do you remember the chorus? Pretty please, divulge the line if you remember it? That would be fun.
Not sure really. I wrote a lot of songs that I've long forgotten, or that I never recorded. Some of my really early stuff I've tried to keep though. I used to play in a band called "The Meat Cleavers". It was a joke band my friend Alex and I had in high school; I think our first song was called "Going to the Bar". The entire concept of the band was sort of to make fun of the culture of where we grew up.
You played at a few festivals this past summer. Can you talk about something memorable that happened on stage – maybe that the audience didn’t notice, but that stands out for you?
We actually just got back from Fun Fun Fun festival in Austin. We played a later show and we pulled this kid on stage. He had the most flagrant mullet I've ever seen in my life, so we brought him up and showcased it. I wasn't even trying to poke fun at it or anything either - it was just a really insane mullet.
Rummaging through the Internet’s reserves of Mac DeMarco, which run incredibly deep for being barely into your first world tour, there emerges a picture of a young man with a very conspicuous ability to maintain a fairly high level of shit talk. From whom or from where do you attribute your ability walk the shit and trash the talk? You’re good at that. Where does it come from?
I pick things up from people, and I've been moving around and meeting people since I finished high school. I think my entire persona, or whatever you'd call it, is just a jumble of different groups of friends from different times and different places. I'm sure they'd be able to pick out specifics of what I'm biting if they were to see it somewhere.
On the subject of weirdness and inspiration, there is definitely a vein of oddness running through your work in a very good way. If you agree, or even if you don’t, could you talk a bit about growing up in a small town – Duncan – and how you think small town weirdness comes into your songs, if at all?
I actually didn't grow up in Duncan. I was born there, but don't remember it, and haven't been back since. I grew up in a city - Edmonton, Alberta. It has a million people or so, but it's still got a weird country, small-town vibe. I don't actually think the city itself really contributes anything to the weirdness of my music though. Edmonton is full of meat head Chongo idiots. I'd say Nickelback has drawn a lot from a place like Alberta. I think the weirdness everyone thinks I've got comes from my friends mostly. I guess growing up around Chongos could make you weird too.
This world tour is taking you literally to the far reaches of the planet. Are there any places you’re particularly excited about visiting, and why?
I'm excited to come to Asia, I've always wanted to. It hasn't really hit me yet either, I don't think it will until I step out of the plane. I don't really feel that scary culture shock sensation that much anymore since we're all over the place all the time, but I feel like I'm gonna get freaked out there again, which will be cool.
Will there be anything you’ll be adding to your live performances during this tour of the world? Road testing new material?
Maybe a little bit, but probably not yet, I think we'll probably start playing the new stuff a little closer to the album release, so I'm not already bored of it by the time it comes out. But as for this tour, my bassist Pierce is removing all the hair from his body for live shows. Very aerodynamic.
You’re about to be changed into a toy (possibly a tool devised for sexual pleasure). Which toy would you be if you could choose? Of course, you may delete this question, but we’d be thrilled to know.
Vibrating, Molatto, Travelers Honey Pot.
As for why, Ask Ev.