The first memory I have of Mac DeMarco is of him opening a beer bottle with his teeth to lashings of applause from a sweaty Adelaide Laneway Festival crowd earlier in the year. The 25 year old Canadian had the crowd in his grasp and maintained a good balance of obviously talented musicianship and banter with his bandmates and the crowd gathered before him throughout.
This was my first exposure to the live show experience so many friends had been raving about for months before – in DeMarco is a performance quality that makes a punter effortlessly at ease. You could imagine sinking beers with Mac afterward, maybe smoke some green, swapping stories about parties gone by. Speaking with Mac away from all the noise of a festival, this familiar, down to earth vibe is still present. Returning to Australia at the end of the year for the Falls Festival tour, DeMarco describes his affinity for Australian crowds.
“I think it’ll be good,” he says of the upcoming shows. “I mean, we tour a lot now all over the place and Australia for me, is one of those places where even though we’re playing bigger shows… it gets a little impersonal sometimes, you know? Back in the day, we’d meet kids after the shows and stay at their house or whatever and the next time we’d go back we’d say, ‘What’s up?’, because they were our friends. If I was like, ‘Yo, we need a place to crash tonight,’ now? It might get a little bit crazy. The thing about that impersonal touring in Australia is that we’ve made a lot of really good friends that live in Australia, so I’m really excited to be with my homies and have a nice time.”
Of course, in the time since his last tour, DeMarco released the well-received Another One mini-LP. Written and recorded at home in New York, DeMarco was able to somehow fit in making the record in between tour jaunts and recovering from sickness.
“I had maybe two months off when we got back from Laneway,” he remembers. “For the first month, I had a really bad ear infection, so I was really sick. As soon as it went away, I just wrote the songs in a week and a half and recorded it in another week and a half, two weeks.”
Another One, like Mac’s previous releases, has a uniquely Mac flair to it. A hazy, romantic, slightly off-kilter approach to pop music has brought the songwriter well out from under the ‘slacker rock’ label many associated with his earlier material. As to how much his songwriting approach has changed much as a result of touring more relentlessly, taking to larger stages and generally being away from home more frequently, DeMarco is unsure.
“I think so, in some ways” he says, pondering the idea of his writing being affected by ‘the road’. “Just being around different kinds of music and bands more often… I don’t know. I mean, I’m not about to write a road-dog song or anything like that, but it probably does. Like a lot of things in my life, I’m doing too much all the time to really sit back and think about how it would be. It’s my life, so I write about my life – I guess, inherently, it’ll be in there somewhere.”
Currently, DeMarco and his band are on the road through North America and Canada, before heading over to South America for some sunshine and shows before Christmas. Giving some new material a work out has given him the opportunity to flex his creative muscles a little, no doubt bringing the entertainment levels of each show up a little each time.
“We’re playing some new songs and we have a new keyboard player,” he says. “It’s been nice, actually. The guy who is playing keyboard is one of my really old friends, I think he’s one of the first people I really sat down and played guitar with. I’ve known him since I was about 13 or 12, something like that. It’s just like having another bud with us. The songs are going well and people seem to be enjoying the shows. It’s really nice for us because we’ve got some new stuff to play.”
Reflecting on his last Australian shows and how the response to his music has only continued to grow and expand in reach, DeMarco chats about his community of fans, ‘the kids’, as he fondly says.
“It’s great.” he laughs. “It’s crazy that it’s happened this way and I don’t know why this has happened! There are lot of bands that are bands, you know? They’re doing the same thing that we’re doing and I guess some other bands have fans like ours too but I like to call our fans ‘the kids’, even though a lot of them are not kids – a lot of them a fully grown people, a lot older than I am, even! They feel the vibe for some reason and I don’t even know if we put it out there that strongly, I mean we must, but it’s great. It’s like family all over [the world] in a weird way.”
MAC DEMARCO AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
January 3rd, 4th, 5th – 170 Russell, Melbourne | http://170russell.ticketscout.com.au
January 6th – Enmore Theatre, Sydney | www.ticketek.com.au
Also appearing at the Falls Festival and Southbound Festivals:
December 28th – January 1st: Lorne, Victoria | SOLD OUT
December 29th – January 1st: Marion Bay, Tasmania | www.fallsfestival.com
December 31st – January 3rd: Byron Bay, NSW | www.fallsfestival.com
January 8th – January 10th: Sir Stewart Bovell Park, WA | www.southboundfestival.com.au