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An Interview with Performing Artist Mac DeMarco

SeagateCreative Industry Spotlight: 

At 22 years of age, Mac DeMarco has learned a great deal about how best to showcase his ability as a songwriter, singer and producer. Having recently released Mac DeMarco 2 you’ll be able to feel the growth and transition from his debut album Rock and Roll Night Club 12”, which released earlier this year on Captured Tracks. We sat down to chat with Mac about his muses, creativity and some of his favorite videos.

Seagate Creative: What inspired the song, “I’m a Man”?

Mac Demarco: I’m a Man actually started out with completely different lyrics; it was called ‘Eyeballs’. I eventually realized that the initial lyrics I wrote were garbagio so I sat down and started rewriting everything, somehow the chorus came along with the funny high pitched backing vocals and from there I just tried to describe what being a man in my life in Montreal is like.

Seagate Creative: What was the process for making this video with Yours Truly? How many times did you record the song? 

MD: We shot the Yours Truly video at 285 Kent in Brooklyn during our sound check for a high school graduation party / indie band weirdo warehouse show back in June of this year. I think we played it 2 or 3 times.

Seagate Creative: What are some of your favorite Yours Truly videos? 

MD: I really like that Dirty Beaches video. Alex and I have been friends for a couple years, I love watching him do his thang. It’s spooky.

Seagate Creative: How do you feel video impacts the translation of a song to the listener?  What are your thoughts on performance video versus creative treatments? 

MD: I think it really depends. Sometimes music video’s can really bum me out, but then I usually realize it’s because I’m not super into the song. But as far as videos go in general, I think the more the merrier for the most part. If I’m really into a band all I want to do is look up live videos or see if they’re making funky music vids.

Seagate Creative: For Mac Demarco and your previous moniker Makeout Videotape, how do you typically conceptualize music videos? Can you walk us through how you decide if an idea is worth pursuing, to finding the right director/film-maker, to the finished product? 

Photo by Christina Hicks

MD: For the most part, I’ll usually just have some idea that I think would look funny in a video. Really rough I guess, I’ve never really worked on a treatment for a video or anything, I always find it more fun to just roll the tape and screw around, hopefully piece something sort of coherent together with editing. If it doesn’t turn out any good, just keep screwing around until it does.

As for directors and filmmakers, all the videos that people have made for me are usually made by close friends of mine. I’m lucky to have a bunch of talented friends that are down to get groovy.

Seagate Creative: What specific technique, muse or ritual do you use on a regular basis?

MD: I smoke a cigarette pretty much right when I get up in the morning. Don’t really feel awake till I do.

Seagate Creative: In terms of gear and equipment, what has helped you discover or create a breakthrough in your art? Can you describe what happened?

MD: I think for the last album I put out, Rock and Roll Night Club, the gear I was using and the recording process shaped the way that came together more than anything else. I was slowing all the instrument tracks down, which changed the entire feel and sound of everything, not to mention using a bunch of really strange cheap guitar effects I hadn’t ever tried before. I warped the speed of my voice as well, which sort of gave me the idea of singing songs I wouldn’t usually write, sort of taking on a persona. I’m not sure anything upcoming that I’ll do will have the same vibe, but it was really interesting to mess around like that.

Seagate Creative: What’s one piece of advice you’d give an aspiring artist to help them be creative or develop their ideas into art?

MD: I think the best advice is to not really think about it too much. If you do you’re going to drive yourself nuts. Also, it’s important to have fun, if you aren’t, then what’s the point in doing it?

Seagate Creative: What’s next from you that we can look forward to?

MD: I have a new album coming out on Captured Tracks on October 16th. It’ll be the first full length I’ve done with them. We’re also touring all over the states right now, for about another month, so keep your eyes peeled. I’ll also hopefully have some kind of a new release sometime in the new year.


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