For Mac DeMarco, forging his own style has been one of natural progression. From his early garage rock angst and right up to his more relaxed form of “jizz jazz”, the Canadian musician has allowed his own creative vision to flow at its own pace.
DeMarco, who has always prefered to experiment with his own sound and production, took his career into his own hands last year by taking bold decision to launch his own record label—the natural progression for a musician who has pushed the boundaries of his heavy workload.
Still only the tender age of 29, indie music’s favourite singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has released six full-length studio albums of which he has predominantly handled the producing. While is reel-to-reel production style has drawn lots of admirers, DeMarco has always been keen to point out the likes of John Maus, Ariel Pink, Isao Tomita and more as influences in that department.
In fact, DeMarco has never been shy to discuss certain figures who have helped shape sound; famously citing the likes of Connan Mockasin, Billy Joel, The Modern Lovers, Harry Nilsson, The Beatles and more. Despite the fact that DeMarco is still so young, a self-reflection of his own work has already started to influence certain interviews. Given the fact that he has developed his own sub-genre of indie pop, a lot of people have attempted to discover what mix match of musicians has contributed to DeMarco’s direction.
In an interview with The Guardian a couple of years ago, DeMarco ran through numerous different categories in order to break down his transition in music. When asked about the first album he enjoyed as a child, DeMarco named 1960s Manchester beat rock band Herman’s Hermit as pivotal moment: “I didn’t care much about music as a young kid, partly because my mom used to listen to pop-country all the time and it really bummed me out,” he said. “But then, when I was six or seven, she got this Herman’s Hermits CD and I was like, ‘Yeah, this Henry VIII song is pretty chill’.”
Given DeMarco’s love for the obscure side of alternative music, the Canadian cited ‘Mother’ by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band as the one moment he was given a taste for unusual music.
First record Mac DeMarco loved?
Herman’s Hermits – ‘I’m Henry Vlll I Am’, 1965.
The music that reminds him of a hard time in his life?
Arthur Russell – ‘That’s Us/Wild Combination’, 2004
Typically, this moment DeMarco reminisced about a “heart-wrenching” moment wasn’t particularly devastating it has to be said: “After a couple of months in Vancouver, I decided to record something and put it up on Myspace. It got me a few shows. I was really excited for a while but then I went back to being a sad young man, riding my bike around, being like: ‘Aw, these girls don’t want to date me’. It was a heart-wrenching time and this song reminds me of it.”
First enjoyable taste of weird music?
‘Mother’ by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, 1970.
Music always separates us from the rest during school… but which record first made Mac DeMarco feel that way?
The Smiths – ‘Ask’, 1986.
The one song that reminds DeMarco of leaving home?
Wipers – ‘Romeo’, 1982.
Explaining his choice, DeMarco said: “After high school, I moved to Vancouver. I had no real reason for moving there – I wasn’t going to university, I didn’t have a job, I knew nobody, no girls, nothing. I was just a lonely guy riding around on my bike and working at a Starbucks in some weird Vietnamese suburb.”
That’ll do it.
Mac DeMarco’s ‘Dad Rock’ song?
Steely Dan – ‘Peg’, 1977.
The biggest influence on DeMarco’s debut album?
Neil Young – ‘Harvest’, 1972.
“I’m an obsessive listener. This record I used to listen to several times a day for months and months,” DeMarco said. It was around the time I recorded 2 and I wanted to make my album sound exactly like this: really dry, really crisp 70s style.”
He added: “I’ve listened to that album so many times but I never get tired of it.”