Photo by Coley Brown
As a performer, Mac DeMarco presents a very specific version of himself to the audience. He’s a happy-go-lucky troubadour, a jokester and unlikely heartthrob whose live shows often find him indulging in extended jam sessions with his band that sometimes feature schlocky cover versions of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care Of Business” or Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” He’s the kind of guy who’ll pen a heartfelt ode to his favorite brand of cigarette (“Ode To Viceroy”) and include his address as a bonus track on his 2015 EP Another One, with an offer to make you coffee. And yes, as a matter of fact, people actually did come to visit him in Queens, a good hour-long drive from Manhattan. “It’s called Far Rockaway for a reason,” he says.
The DeMarco that people see onstage isn’t a fabrication — he’s not playing a character or doing anything so calculated. But Mac the performer and Mac the songwriter are almost yin and yang, two complementary aspects of the Canadian-born artist’s artistic personality. His new album This Old Dog, released in May via Captured Tracks, is a window into the Mac DeMarco that his listeners don’t always see or hear. It’s his subtlest and most reserved record to date, not coincidentally a reflection of the circumstances in which it was recorded. To date, DeMarco has played nearly all of the instruments on all of his albums, and This Old Dog is no different.
DeMarco, who has moved to Los Angeles since making his New York address public, views songwriting and recording as something very different from playing live. For him,... Sign In to Keep Reading