ABOVE: MAC DEMARCO. IMAGE COURTESY OF BRAD ELTERMAN
Listening to Mac DeMarco's second album, coyly titled 2, it's clear that the joke's on us.
DeMarco's debut, Rock and Roll Night Club, served up a generous helping of goofy glam rock—rouge, lipstick, and wild onstage behavior included. (An example: he once got naked while drunkenly covering U2's "Beautiful Day," video evidence of which still floats around on the Internet.) This time around, however, he's applying his melty crooning to songs written about the topic in which he knows best, his life.
Having just touched down in LA to shoot a music video for the track "My Kind of Woman," DeMarco confesses over the phone that he's thought more about the role of the songwriter while creating his most recent work, citing John Lennon, Jonathan Richman, and Arthur Russell among his influences. "I write for myself; I'm trying to keep myself interested in the music. But at the same time, I want to make the songs relatable, in a way; I want to keep melodies pretty simple and the lyrics open-ended so that people could maybe relate them to their own life in different ways. Something for everybody to have a piece of."
Frequently dubbed "slacker rock," it may be no surprise that DeMarco's writing about personal experience came from spending time on the couch. "At the time I was writing the second album, I was sitting home in my underwear all day every day; I didn't have all that much to write about except for my own life and my family," he says. The catchy "Freaking Out the Neighborhood," for instance, was written as an atonement for the aforementioned lewd behavior. "That song is to my mom, apologizing for being a bit of a disgrace to the family. They saw a video of me stickin' drumsticks up my ass on YouTube. When your relatives see something like that, you gotta reach the arms out."
DeMarco credits his family for his start in music—it's "in his chops," as he puts it. "My grandma did opera singing for the better part of her life, she used to sing all over the place. My grandpa was a sax player, and he used to travel all over the place, too."
With a handful of bizarre music videos under his belt—including one in which he plays guitar in the woods dressed as Mozart—and a song written as a paean to Viceroy cigarettes [above], it's apparent that while DeMarco may now opt to keep his clothes on, he certainly doesn't take himself too seriously. While he's not sure if he self-identifies as a slacker, he does know one thing: "I don't want a job, and I think I've been trying my hardest to make sure I don't have a job."
2 IS OUT NOW. MAC DEMARCO PLAYS THE MUSIC HALL OF WILLIAMSBURG ON MARCH 1. FOR MORE ON THE ARTIST, VISIT HIS FACEBOOK PAGE.