Singer-Songwriter Mac DeMarco Really Invited Fans Over for Coffee in a Song -- and They Took Him Up on the Offer
Mac DeMarco, 25, may be indie rock’s resident court jester -- a quick Google search turns up footage of him onstage, naked, with a drumstick in his butt -- but his music is far from a joke. The irreverent Canadian, known for bedroom productions like 2014’s Salad Days (his breakthrough LP that reached No. 30 on the Billboard 200), follows with Another One, an exceptional mini-album he recorded at his beach home in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens (it’s due Aug. 7 on Captured Tracks). DeMarco explains how a so-called goofball manages to write songs so heartfelt that fans literally knock on his front door.
How do you reconcile your comedic persona with your often poignant songs?
I’m being me. I’m just not the solemn indie-rocker with the cool haircut. At the same time, people are going to think I’m joking around. It’s useful. People see it, and they’re like, “That doesn’t make sense. It’s supposed to sound like ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.” It confuses people, and that makes them take a second look. People don’t give a shit about things for more than 30 seconds. It’s a trick that’s going to work in my favor.
On new song “My House by the Water,” you give your home address and invite fans for coffee. Are they taking you up on that?
I’ve had about 30 kids come over so far. I don’t know what I was thinking. (Laughs.) Everybody has been nice, but I asked a kid the other day, “Did you check if I was on tour, or did you just come over blindly?” And they were like, “We just came over.” These kids came from Long Island and Staten Island. They took the train for two hours. You didn’t even think to check if I’m on tour?
You’ve mentioned how you were freaked out that you sold out Webster Hall in New York. Is it still strange to think you have that many fans?
I just think about it less. Nobody in Far Rockaway is ever going to recognize me. It’s a pretty working-class, normal-people neighborhood. They’ll wave if they know I live in the neighborhood, but for the most part, I shut myself off. Then I go to Brooklyn, and it’s like, “Oh, my God.”
You wear a Michael Jackson shirt and mask in your new “Another One” video. Did you listen to him growing up?
A lot when I was a kid -- unconsciously, because it was around, in movies and on TV. As I’ve gotten older, [I’ve realized] Michael Jackson is a really huge part of my musical life, instead of just the guy with the song at the end of Free Willy. I didn’t plan for the video to be an homage. I just had the shirt, and my roommate had the mask. So I was like, “OK, I guess I’m going to go dance in front of the ocean with this stuff on.”
Your label said there would be a radio push with this record. Do you want top 40 airplay?
It doesn’t matter. If a press team wants to do it that way, that’s fine. I don’t think they’re going to get this music on top 40 radio. But if you want to waste money trying to get it on there, it’s up to them. I make enough money anyway. (Laughs.) I don’t give a shit.