Despite being unfairly labelled as a meme prince, Mac DeMarco’s musical sensibilities have always been in the right place. The ultimate hero of slacker rock joy, DeMarco has delivered a discography that has rarely dipped below average and always champions the songwriter’s unique style. His music may feel like something entirely modern. However, the reality is that the songs he creates are composites of his favourite musicians, from John Lennon to Aztec Camera.
DeMarco has shared lists of his influences before, but, more recently, during a conversation with Pitchfork, the ‘Salad Days’ singer shared his favourite album of the last 25 years, which is a reminder of the idiosyncratic genius behind the meme lord persona. It’s an album that few would have in their record collection but significantly influenced DeMarco.
The publication asked a host of musicians for their favourite album of the last quarter of a century during the feature. The usual answers followed—bands picking Radiohead or Daft Punk and leaving their imagination behind in the process. DeMarco, however, chose to go a little off-piste and picked out Connan Mockasin’s Forever Dolphin Love from 2011.
“This is the record that sticks out to me personally as far as ‘influence’ goes. I remember first listening to it when it came out, and there was a sort of mystery that came with it.” Mockasin was never an artist destined to have a high-flying or commercially lucrative record. Instead, he focused on creativity and artistry when making his music; it was clearly something that shaped DeMarco’s outlook too. “Didn’t know a thing about Con, also don’t think he had played in the U.S.A. at that point. Wasn’t the most available thing, but our crew in Montreal at the time found out about it and latched onto it real quick.”
There are some parallels to be drawn between the two artists. While Mockasin preferred to flex his muscles through digital means, DeMarco used some similar techniques through a lo-fi setting to achieve a sound that felt both fresh but like it had come straight from the shed at the bottom of the garden.
If you were looking for the reason DeMarco changed up his style and started to get a bit more experimental, then this is the moment: “I had weird rules about recording and guitar up until I heard this record, didn’t like using any guitar effects, never used keyboards, things like that. Chucked out most of those after I spent some time with dolphin love; was maybe the first time I’d heard something contemporary with a lot of weird elements that didn’t feel whack.”
Things got even sweeter for DeMarco, who eventually became pals with Mockasin. “Since those days, I’ve gotten to know Connan, played with him a bunch, and have become friends. I love all his music; please listen to this record. Thank you, Mr Conch.”
Listen to Mac DeMarco’s favourite album of the last 25 years, Conan Mockasin’s Forever Dolphin Love below.