One thing that we need to make clear first is that Mac DeMarco isn’t American. He’s Canadian. Although that probably makes him all the more ambiguous and alluring. As the artist gets himself settled in with the Brooklyn-based label Captured Tracks, you can experience Mac in all of his glory, making his rounds at the CMJ Festival this week, and unveiling his debut LP, Mac DeMarco 2.
Allow me to submit for your consideration why Mac DeMarco is America’s Anti-Heartthrob. Unassuming in a sweatshirt (or a simple cotton button-down depending upon the weather), slim jeans and a Polo cap, it’s the slow spaced-tooth smile flanked by two deep dimples that ignites the charm. Once he released the EP “Rock and Roll Night Club”, it was the video “She’s Really All I Need” that convinced me that Mac DeMarco is really all I need. I’m exhausted with the try-hards that pop, hip-hop and R & B has been churning out. There’s something deliberate, organic and secretly enticing about DeMarco’s libidinous approach to music and the personality he’s delivering. In the same manner that R. Kelly unapologetically flexed his sexual prowess on stage and dared to name himself “The Pied Piper of R & B” (in the wake of allegedly urinating on a minor during sex), Mac DeMarco should be crowned the lothario of lo-fi pop.
DeMarco is engaging in a familiar sort of way because he looks more or less like someone you went to high school with. Yet on the other side of the coin, DeMarco’s behavior is unpredictable, with drunken bro-like antics to sudden perv-in-the-back-of-the-bar advances. In short, DeMarco’s emergence from his former band Makeout Videotape corrupts the performance responsibilities of the charismatic solo artist. Think Michael Jackson leaving the Jackson 5 and subsequently unleashing all of his sexual fantasies on wax; DeMarco’s videos and interviews (which can be found around the Internet) allude to a healthy sex drive which aptly explains his own M.J. crotch grabbing and posterior fixation in the videos for “She’s Really All I Need” and “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans” respectively.
I happened to meet Mac DeMarco, and as the hot, sticky New York summer came to a close, I had the pleasure of discovering the more fashionable side of Mac DeMarco…
Portable: What are you wearing right now?
Mac DeMarco: A big, billowy t-shirt, black pair of Levi’s cut-offs and Vans.
P: What essential wardrobe items are you packing for the tour?
Mac DeMarco: I just pack all the clothes I know I’m most comfortable in, that way I don’t have to change them much, and don’t give a fuck about what I’m wearing. Also fresh undies are very useful for tour, you can get a real bum bum run when you’re road dogging it.
P: Where do you find your clothes? Do have any favorite shops or clothing labels?
Mac DeMarco: I think the only place I’ve gotten clothes in the last four or five years is Value Village. You can find some funky gear out on the street in Montreal too. Free boxes, ye. I’m a fan of Levi’s, GWG, Wrangler, Polo… all the pimp shit.
P: What was your style like in high school? Did your personal style always embody the artist we know as Mac DeMarco?
Mac DeMarco: I wore pretty much the same stuff as now, my pants were way tighter though, going for more of a relaxed dad, Chinatown style these days. I don’t really think about correlating my music with my clothes. I’m just trying to stay comfy, try not to look too much like a bum.
P: There are several images of you blurring gender lines with teased hair and makeup. From an anthropological perspective, opposing genders have been known to emulate the other as a means of flexing their dominance or enhancing their sexual prowess. Perhaps it wasn’t that intentional, but was the inspiration behind your look?
Mac DeMarco: Those photos were actually taken on Halloween of last year. Didn’t have a costume so I slapped on some lipstick. Then my friend Chas started taking a bunch of funky ass photos of me. I really never thought they’d be used as press photos half a year later. I’m glad they were, though- I think they’re pretty funny, and a lot of people are definitely confused by them, especially when they see us live.
P: What’s the latest thing you’ve added to your wardrobe? Have you made any recent changes to your look?
Mac DeMarco: I wore out my pair of red shoes, so I bought a blue pair last week.
P: If your style could be related to a film, which would it be?
Mac DeMarco: The Fighter with Christian Bale. My friends often tell me I’m dressed like a crack head.
P: What would say is the most recognizable or consistent thing about your style?
Mac DeMarco: My clothes are usually stinky and dirty, and nothing ever really fits me right because I can’t bring myself to spend very much on anything.
P: Who is currently inspiring you?
Mac DeMarco: Einstein and Jesus Christ
P: If you could describe Mac DeMarco in one word…
Mac DeMarco: Pimpin’.