Mac DeMarco reflects on the making of his latest album Salad Days
“Give it back, you little motherf*@#ers,” is what Mac DeMarco would say to all the kids who steal his baseball caps.
But the theft doesn’t stop there: “Shoes too, someone stole my shoe in Montreal. It was at the Club Soda show in the middle of winter, I had to go home with one shoe on.”
Between purchasing new baseball hats, DeMarco has had a loaded tour schedule for the past two years. During a brief month-long hiatus between being on the road, the musician settled down in his small room in Brooklyn, saturated the walls with Viceroy smoke, and cooked up some tunes for his new album, Salad Days.
He describes the month as “a little bubble of my trying to reflect on everything from the past few years.”
Even though DeMarco has an insatiable palate for partying, his new songs are not about jubilated nights. On the lyrical front, the songs reveal a more self-reflective and personal side of the fun-loving musician, echoing the songwriter’s headspace at the time.
“I was just exhausted, I think,” said DeMarco. “Things got pretty crazy pretty fast, and it just got crazier and crazier. In the way we tour, too, there’s definitely a lot of alcohol, not very much sleeping, not very healthy living. When I got back, I was just frustrated and exhausted.”
Salad Days’ foundation still gets spectacularly weird like the artist’s previous recordings — maybe even a little stranger. The video teaser for the album meant business, as it featured a naked guy dancing around with a guitar, to a song driven by 1980’s keyboard riffs, and lyrics repeating “Gimme pussy! A little bit of pussy!” The new album comes out on April Fool’s day under Captured Tracks.
Reflecting the teaser, DeMarco does get funky with keyboards on some songs.
“I really don’t know how to play keyboard at all,” he said. “It’s interesting for me because if you don’t really know what you’re doing, I think you can come up with some weird stuff. It’s more fun for me,” he adds. “I just tried weird things. I don’t really know if they make musical sense or not, but that’s the way it goes.”
Many have tried to describe his sound by coming up with names like “blue wave” or “slacker rock,” but these go relatively unnoticed by the musician.
“I just say jizz-jazz,” said DeMarco, a term he came up with a few years ago. “I’d never written guitar solos on songs, and when I started writing guitar solos, I thought it was hilarious. I came-up with the word jizz-jazz because it’s not jazz, it’s not. I’m not a jazz guy. It’s a bit jizzy; it’s like a Steely Dan record that someone splooched on or something.”
He cites inspiration from Harry Nilsson and The Beatles, “[Who are] all close homies.” The title of the album was coined by Shakespeare who uses the term “salad days” in his play Antony and Cleopatra to allude to the ephemeral nature of youth.
“‘Salad days’ means a youthful period in someone’s life, and I think this album is talking a lot about that. Not necessarily that I’m out of that period, but that I need to count my blessings and enjoy it while I’m still around.”
The album’s dreamy, warped riffs and high-reverb guitar suit the character of the goofy, often jokingly cross-eyed songwriter. The music is indicative of a guy who’s not afraid to rip some dirty jokes at the mic or encourage the crowd to let loose and have a good time, the latter of which often results in a bruise-inducing mosh-pit at shows, or fans hopping around naked on stage.
Heading back on another tour, DeMarco continues to economically sustain the Viceroy Corporation and has also developed some techniques for attempting to preserve his baseball caps, unfortunately to no avail.
“When I go crowd surfing, I leave it very far back on the stage, but they get stolen anyway.”
On a final note, DeMarco would “like to thank Jesus Christ.”
Mac DeMarco plays Société des Arts Technologiques April 6.