The first thing you should know about Mac DeMarco is that he wore the same New York Rangers shirt through all three sweaty, dusty-ass days of this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. The second thing is that during his set a friend asked me, “Did he stick a microphone up his butt?” as has apparently been his wont in concerts past. These things tell part of the story, especially when combined with his eazy-breezy stage demeanor and playful set list that, among other things, including a cover of Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff.” But strip away the shtick and DeMarco’s music is still a master class in surf rock poetics, drawing romantic and laid back vibes from what sure sounds like a chintzy effects pedalboard; he sounds like beer, back porches and a summer breeze, which basically makes him the ideal afternoon gig for a festival. We caught up on Saturday, a day after what was apparently a brutal post-performance celebration.
Whoa, I’m so hung over today!
Dare I ask what you got up to last night?
Just went to one bar, then another bar, then another bar, then another bar…
Just kept on going? Right on. So I was running through your Twitter to conduct my research because that’s how it goes, and I noticed that close to a hundred percent of these tweets are all about cigarettes.
Well, Twitter is, like, you know… some people are really great at tweeting. You only got a couple of words to use, and some people are really good at making funny tweets. I’m not so good at that, I don’t know. And I don’t want to write some diary style shit, so I thought, “Hey, I’ll do my tweets only about smoking,” and not to mention smoking only the worst Canadian cigarettes possible. And then after that, those Viceroys, kids started like picking up on it, and then I wrote that fucking song about them. Now they control my whole life or something. It’s pretty weird…
Do you ever keep track of what are the most Viceroys you’ve ever smoked in a day?
Probably two packs, maybe three packs, I don’t know.
Have you ever considered e-cigs?
I had to smoke e-cigs, actually. We were touring with Phoenix a couple months ago. We had to get a rental van, and you can’t smoke in a rental van, so all of us, we couldn’t smoke. We all had these weird e-cigarettes and everybody’s e-cigarette used to last for like five days. Mine would always cut out after like an hour and a half.
Did you have a regular brand?
What were we getting? We started with the BLU, those suck. We went to NJOY, they sucked too. The Fin, those were the ones that we landed on, that we were like, okay. But I hated smoking them all together anyway.
How do they know in the rental van that you’ve been smoking?
I don’t know. They probably have some kind of, like… maybe they just go in and smell. It’s not that hard to tell. But e-cigarettes, all good.
Right on. How did you feel about setting Pitchfork history yesterday by being the first artist to perform a Limp Bizkit song?
I mean, sometimes Limp Bizkit gets pulled out, I don’t know. I mean, I feel honored that I was given the opportunity to Limp out up there. But I don’t know, it was fun.
Is “Break Stuff” your favorite Bizkit song, or is it the most vocally appropriate?
Hm, I like it. I like “Nookie” as well. I think Significant Other, that album with that alien, that was the first album I got when I was seven or something. I love the Bizkit.
I know you have a song of yours that’s licensed by Target. What song was it?
Yeah, it was a song called “Moving Like Mike”. It was off our Rock and Roll Night Club record. They only used like the first three seconds of it, but they gave me a lot of money. It was really cool.
Could you shout out Target in two sentences.
Thank you Target, for paying my rent for a lucky year. I love you.
I have a bunch of Canadians here and they’ve been taunting us with stories of how much better their candy is, so I have to ask you your preference.
Well, I guess we have the five-cent candies a lot more, don’t we? Because you can’t go into the 7-11 and go through the five-cent aisles. I mean, that’s a bonus. You guys have Sour Keys down here?
No, I don’t think so.
See, that’s key. The sour candies are the best. That’s amazing.
I also know you have a new car, or a newish one.
I got a Volvo before, but that thing kind of got fucked up, so now I have a minivan which has air conditioning, ooh, it’s nice.
I was going to ask you to describe your driving style…
I do all the driving on tour. [pantomimes a sloppy 10 & 2]
Are you tight and in control, or do you don’t really care?
Usually we end up driving pretty late so we have to go super fast and it’s sketchy sometimes. I have to go through the night a lot of the time. It’s okay. I’m the only one with a license, so…
Wait, no one else in your band knows how to drive?
Uh, yeah… They’re all lazy, though. I like to drive too at the same time, so it’s okay.
Last year at CMJ you were wearing a hat and it’s even on the cover of your album, but this year, no hat.
I don’t know, I got a haircut…Dude, it was so hot out yesterday. The hat gets all sweaty. I like wearing hats but I actually don’t know where that hat is from the cover so… I’ll find it someday.
It’ll turn up on eBay as a RARE MAC DEMARCO ARTIFACT.
People do steal, that’s the other thing too, I mean, they wouldn’t be able to steal out of this because on stage there’s a huge gap between the crowd. But like, at a lot of smaller shows if I take my hat off, it’s gone. I’ve lost like five hats. People try to steal them. I’ve had to sometimes go look for them around the club afterwards, it’s crazy.
Another thing: my photographer’s been telling me that all of her girlfriends are super into you, so our readers must know: Are you seeing anyone?
Mm-mm. Got her right over there, Sweet Kira.
Well, if you were single and you had a dating profile what would be your self-description?
I’d be like, “I like to take a long walk along the beach and…” No, that’s not even true. I don’t know. I like to eat food that is fast, that you don’t have to sit around and fucking wait for. I don’t like to go to the grocery store at all, so if you want to be one of those fucking couples that makes a chicken with all these vegetables, side fixes, fuck off. I’m not doing that. Maybe if you date a girl that wants to go to the grocery store, that’s what Kira does, then that’s fine. I’m not going. I hate going in there. Because you go in there, even with a list, and you end up looking at the, oh well here’s the canned vine leaf rolls or, oh, the asparagus is so cheap today—I’m not into that.
So when you’re by yourself and no restaurants are open but you need to cook, what’s your go-to meal?
Uh, usually I just eat a cold can of Chef Boyardee ravioli from the corner store.
Oh, that’s honest.
It’s tight, yeah. It’s okay.
Photo by Aleia Murawski