Mac DeMarco on His New Album, “Salad Days”

Class Clown No More

Mar 11, 2014 Issue #49 - February/March 2014 - Portlandia
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"I've already got in trouble from my label for giving details...they might castrate me!" says Mac DeMarco several months before the release of Salad Days, his second full-length album under his own name.

It may not be the most promising way to start an interview, but despite a fear for his manhood, DeMarco does let a few details slip. He says that fans can expect a continuation of the sound he found on previous record 2. "Maybe a little stranger, maybe driven by the keyboard, you never know. It's heavy-hearted; it's going to be all over the place!

"The new record isn't going to be a giant jump like it was from Rock and Roll Night Club to 2. It's a little different; a lot of the songs are more mid-tempo. It's weird because I did it all in about a month. Maybe it was the mood I was in, I didn't really feel like writing a 'rock' song."

In January of this year DeMarco put out a teaser trailer for Salad Days that featured a naked man dancing with a guitar, 1970s porno keyboards, and lines including "Give me pussy/A little bit of pussy/Some pussy in the morning/And maybe in the evening too." But DeMarco is keen to impress that there's more to him than glibly joking around. There is an undeniable sense of lewdness to some of his live shows, but there are also moments of sweetness, such as when he brings his girlfriend, Kiera McNally, on stage to sing with him.

"We have this rep of 'Oh my God, his show's crazy,' but it really depends on the way I'm feeling, I guess," says DeMarco. "If I'm in a good mood then that's the way I want the show to go. Because these are love songs, it's not just about fart jokes.

"The new album is full of a lot of weird stuff. It's very serious to me but I don't know if anybody else is going to figure out what I'm talking about...and I'm not going to tell anybody what I'm talking about. It's different because to me the ideas behind the songs are very concise."

So is DeMarco unfairly characterized? After all, his albums are lighter and more nuanced than depictions of him as the young face of stoner rock might suggest. "The whole stoner thing is funny to me. When I see that in a review I think, 'Well they really don't know what they're talking about.' Perhaps that's the vibe the music gives off. A lot of kids come up to me at shows all the time and they're like, 'Yo man, you wanna go roast this doobie in the alleyway?' And when I tell people that 'Oh no, I'm okay, man, I don't really smoke [weed],' it's like their whole world crumbles in front of their eyes."

DeMarco's reputation as something of a joker is probably well-earned. But there's a tenderness about him and the importance of his girlfriend in his life that's actually rather touching. "I was just on tour for a year and I don't want to write about, 'Got so wasted in Budapest!' or 'Oh mah gawd, London was crazy!' I can't do a song like that. It's all about my personal life, because that's the only chance I get to figure it all out. And I like writing love songs."

[Note: This article first appeared in the February/March print issue (issue 49).]

 



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