Mac DeMarco: The Canadian’s Eight Commandments For Living A Better Life

Singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco’s sweet jangle-pop and affable persona have made him cult leader for a new generation of slackers. He’s 27 now, and he’s learnt a lot. Jordan Bassett bones up on his philosophy.

Meet New People

“I don’t really know what I was thinking [when I gave out my address and invited fans for coffee on ‘My House By The Water’]. A lot of my friends were like, ‘What are you doing? They’re going to rob you, they’re going to hurt you.’ But none of that shit happened, you know? I met a lot of different kinds of people. Some were old and really shy. Some overstayed their welcome quite a bit, but that’s OK. The worst thing was some young kids were trying to drink Smirnoff Ice. I was like, “Yo guys, this is not a bar – the invitation was for coffee!”

Be Best Pals With Your Partner

“The secret to a long-lasting relationship? Just liking being around that person and wanting to spend time with them. Kiera [McNally] and I have had our ups and downs, but I just like her and have done since I was a kid. We met when we were 13, so when we finally got together seven years ago, it was so exciting to have something monumental in my life. Touring is impossible for a relationship, but if you like somebody, it’s going to work out. Me and Keira have something special. We’ve been together for a long time, so hopefully it keeps working out. I have hope.”

Don’t Let Your Past Define You

“The reviews for [my latest album] My Old Man were like, ‘Goofy guy tries to make a serious record. Oh, he’s trying to make a serious record but the guy put a drumstick up his ass while playing a U2 cover eight years ago.’ I mean, I did – it was quite the performance – but they’ve been saying that for the past two records. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about how I’m portrayed; I just want people to respect what I’m doing with the music and enjoy it. Like, did they think it was a good show? Those are the things I worry about.”

Find Your Style

“I saw this meme on Instagram – someone wearing cuffed jeans and Vans and a baseball cap with the caption: ‘Listens to Mac DeMarco once’. It’s like, I didn’t invent wearing any of this shit, but it’s become this thing. I’m not trying to be fashionable but it’s cute that kids [emulate me]. Maybe it’s not the items I’m wearing, but the repetition. I’ve been wearing the same style of shoes for 10 years. If you dress like a cartoon character for long enough, people are gonna start treating you like Bart Simpson.”

Self-Acceptance Will Come

“My dad and I aren’t really close; I haven’t heard from him in months. ‘My Old Man’ isn’t supposed to be like, ‘Fuck you Dad!’ It’s just me trying to figure out what that relationship is supposed to mean. If he’d been around, I probably wouldn’t be the person I am today. Not knowing him never really bothered me, but maybe it pushed me to find other people to look up to for that role model. I tried to emulate other people I knew. Finally, nowadays, I don’t really have to do that. I just feel like I’m doing me, not trying to fit in somewhere.”

Live Life At Your Own Pace

“I’m one of those project-obsessed people. When I’ve started something, I’ll stay up until five or six in the morning. We’ve been busting our asses on tour for like five years and the shows are still crazy – I try to do the crazy things I used to – but I’m not a limber young man now. I can’t end a show and be like, ‘Hey, can we stay at somebody’s house tonight?’ The shows are too big – you can’t put the invitation out to 5,000 people where everyone’s like, “Yeah man, I’ve got a bong and a pint of beer!” Look at photos of me nowadays – I’m falling apart!”

Instagram Isn’t Life

“Social media is ridiculous. It’s funny that that’s the window into someone’s world. When I was a kid, the internet was a strange place. It wasn’t for the masses, it was a meeting place for weird people that didn’t fit in, like mall goths and furries. It was a beautiful thing. You could let your freak flag fly online. Now it’s super-accessible and sneakily marketed. Everything’s an advertisement for, like, protein powder. Your social media presence is your personal brand so when I post double chin photos all the time, people think, ‘He’s just this goofy guy.’”

There’s No Shame In Having An Accident

“I’m not a very healthy eater. I don’t react well to diary or gluten, but I don’t give a shit. I’m like, “Gimme the pizza!” Well – you reap what sow. I eat that stuff all the time and then I’m on the can for, like, three hours. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol for the better part of a tour, that’s not gonna help at the back. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes you poop your pants. But it’s not, like, a lot. It’s just a very unhealthy little shart, you know what I mean?”

Mac DeMarco tours the UK in November