Mac DeMarco’s Slacker Wisdom

Life Advice from the Musician, Who Proves that Being Chill is Incredibly Hard Work

  • Photography: Rebecca Storm

Mac Demarco lives in a paradox of chillness. While his music is celebrated for its slacker romanticism, his own schedule is packed with writing, touring, and all the other trappings of a musician’s lifestyle. He follows a path that is just as much weary as it is youthfully blissful. Yet Mac has a humble knack for making it all seem so easy. At home, signing autographs in his Echo Park bungalow, he dispatches wisdom on cigarettes, sandwiches, and Michael Jackson.

On Cigarettes

I don’t feel like I have to be [a role model for kids] but either way I have become one. So, yeah, you gotta be nice. For example the smoking cigarettes joke and stuff like that. I wrote a song about it. I smoke cigarettes, it’s an addiction, it’s my choice. I get to make that choice. But it’s not like I’m a cigarette salesman. What I’m trying to say is, don’t start smoking kiddos, I love ya! It ruins your lungs, and your skin.

On the “Old Guys”

I went for lunch with a guy named Michael McDonald, you know, from the Doobie Brothers. An older man than I, a very sweet man. He’s got pipes of gold, deep blue eyes, I had a nice time, and hopefully I’ll be seeing some more of him in the future. I gotta stick with the old guys.

On Getting Older

It sucks, but we can forget about that.

On Eternal Youth

That’s some Peter Pan shit. Um, yes? No? No. It would get too crazy. It would be chill for a while. It would be cool to just pause, to stay 25 for like 50 years. But later that would suck. Imagine if I had the power to do that and then Kiera just got really old. I’d just have this grandma girlfriend.

On the Internet

Instagram is the only one I like of those things, I don’t know why. I think it’s a good medium. You upload a picture, you don’t have to say shit if you don’t want to. Twitter, I don’t like that much. Facebook, I don’t like at all. Instagram is fun. But I think anybody that takes social media seriously needs to check themselves. I don’t post anything that has any substance. It’s just pictures of my double chins—and that’s the way it should be. Luckily the people our age were born in a time before it was social media-fied. Now everything is marketed and you don’t even recognize that it’s happening—especially young kids—but it is and it’s evil and bad, and people don’t understand that. Posting your diary on the internet? Bad move. But then again, the internet also has a lot of benefits without social media—you can make a record, put that record on the internet, you can send it to all these people, and you can stay in touch with people all over the world. But it can get too crazy, and it can be very bad. If it’s too crazy, it’s not good. People can be mean on the internet, they can do whatever the fuck they want. But that’s not real life, that’s the internet.

On Alone Time

I think I’ve had too much right now, it’s starting to drive me a little crazy.

On Sandwiches

There’s a collection of sandwiches I’ve been curating worldwide and I don’t often get to talk about it. Sandwiches that I have a lot of respect for and all of which I’d love to revisit. There’s the döner kebab in Berlin, similar to a smoked meat sandwich in Montreal, but it comes with a little cup of Alphaghetti, and big chunks of corned beef. You have a pickle on there, cream cheese, a big salty bagel, spicy mustard, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and the place is open 24 hours. So if you’re looking at the street, there’s two salty bagels, you don’t want to go to the one on the left—you want to go to the right, I don’t really know why.

It’s just the one I went to first and you gotta remain loyal. Now we’re going to move over to another sandwich that I absolutely adore, from Brazil, I don’t know what it’s called. Comes with pork shoulder, slowly roasted and shredded, on a bun with a bit of pineapple, cheese, and drizzled with this super spicy pepper oily sauce. It’s one of the best things you can ever have in your life. Also the same place has a drumstick of chicken, coated in cream and bag battered and then deep fried. Also amazing but not a sandwich. Philly cheese steak I also love, in Philly of course. I love smoked meat sandwiches in Montreal. And the Godfather sandwich in Brooklyn, New York, great sandwich, all kinds of meat and cheese.

On Being your Own Fan

“Old Dog” is my favorite track off the new album, which is out May 5th. I’ve released like five albums and people only talk about four songs, it’s incredible. “One More Tear to Cry” from Rock and Roll Nightclub is a great track, I think. Joe helped with that lyric. That’s definitely one people didn’t care about too much.

On Maybe Having a Fashion Line in the Future

It would be sturdy clothing for the everyday human. Something that lasts. Unisex. It would be nice and thick, and breathable for the heat but also warm enough for the cold. It would be tough. I dunno, honestly, I don’t like that stuff. I don’t want fashion stuff. Tyler the Creator is doing it, he’s genuinely into it, but I feel like if I tried to do it the kids would just be like, "fuck you!" Which is true because I’m obviously not interested in it.

On Other Back-up Plans

I would have a shop, you know—tin mugs, tiles, handpainted tiles—that would be okay. I’ll probably do that when I’m too fat and too tired to go on tour, or open a recording studio. That would probably be the easiest to fall back on. But, if that doesn’t work then the Italian restaurant… They’d just call me Max. Checkered table clothes, candles, genuine Italian chefs and servers, it would be Italian-American. Sandwiches, meatball subs. Or what would really be nice is a Sandwicheria, with all those famous sandwiches from around the world brought into one easy location. Over the years it would grow and become more popular and I would franchise it into chains all over the world, and I could get those sandwiches I love whenever and wherever I needed.

On What the Fans are Thinking

I don’t ever want them to think that I’m an evil bad guy or anything like that, but as far as putting out music or anything creative, once you release it into the world, it’s not yours anymore. So if you do the same thing with your image, like I’ve done, it’s not yours anymore either.

On Living Somebody Else’s Life

Michael Jackson would be so interesting and it would be awesome to just be that good at making music. So either Michael Jackson, Jesus Christ, or Steve Jobs.

On the Future

I’m turning 27 this year! Rockstar death age. The kids say that I use a white lighter sometimes, and that means I’m going to be dead at 27. Apparently that was the thing with everyone who died at that age, white lighters were in all of their pockets. So yeah, getting older, becoming a father in the next few months and I’m really excited for that. What else? I guess thinking about getting a white lighter tomorrow… and finally getting my testicles removed. [laughs]

  • Photography: Rebecca Storm