Mac DeMarco on why he hates guitar pedals

"I don’t want them crapping up my shit"

Mac DeMarco has explained his hate for guitar pedals, calling them “cheap pieces of shit”.

During a recent MusicTech cover story, the Canadian singer-songwriter/producer spoke about his dislike of running instruments and sounds through effects.

The article notes that DeMarco travelled with a collection of gear worth over $20,000 (£16,050) while he was making his latest instrumental album, ‘Five Easy Hot Dogs’. He told the outlet that a Minimoog synthesiser served as “the lead singer of the record”, adding: “I’m so glad I took him along.”


However, DeMarco said that he is moving away from using effects pedals on his music. “I have a lot of nice shit; nice tape machines and synthesizers, nice guitars, you know,” he explained. “But I think that less is more for me at this point.”

The artist went on to say he “didn’t use a computer to record until probably like 2016 or 17”, and that he would sometimes use effects at that time.

“And, at first, I was like, ‘OK, here we go – we’ll put this effect on here, we’ll do this, we’ll do this…’,” DeMarco said. “And pretty quickly, I realised I should just really limit myself.

Mac DeMarco press photograph
Mac DeMarco. CREDIT: Press

“I don’t know, I like getting the sound at the microphone… Instead of buying more gear, I’d rather just move the mic around or record in a different room. That’s what is more interesting to me now.”

As for guitar pedals specifically, DeMarco described the devices as “stupid” and “cheap pieces of shit with crappy electronics”.


“It’s just crap in the path. I don’t like crap. I don’t care if it makes you sound like Jimi Hendrix or whatever. I don’t want it,” he continued. “I don’t want it! It just stresses me out thinking about it.

“And the cables that people use in between them. Oh, man. And then the power – crappy. Everything’s crappy. It’s just crappy. And I don’t want them crapping up my shit. No crap.”

DeMarco conceded that he is using a limited pedalboard at his current live shows, which consists of a tuner, a vibrato pedal and an impulse response effect for his acoustic guitar.

But he reiterated his hate for the “sound-goodizer” pedals on the market. “Yeah, no more pedals,” the musician said. “All the pedals should be put in a big pile and we should light ‘em on fire.”

Speaking to NME this summer, DeMarco opened up about his changing musical direction as well as touring and past antics, saying that “maybe finally I’m growing up”. You can watch the full video interview above.

Back in June, DeMarco clarified that he will not be retiring from music.

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