Indie rock star Mac DeMarco to play Gundlach Bundschu
“I’m lucky people even listen to me in the first place,” Mac DeMarco said after playing for the third time at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio earlier this month.
Despite DeMarco’s humble attitude, the singer-songwriter has performed at dozens of festivals such as Coachella, Outside Lands and Treasure Island, as well as a fair share of headline shows over the course of his career.
His records “2,” “Salad Days,” and “This Old Dog,” have given the Canadian-born star a reputation for delivering music that gets radio play while standing out with playful lyrics and what some might consider an out-of-place chord here or there.
In other words, DeMarco’s work has earned himself the title of indie-rock royalty. Not that the singer pays attention to the labels his music is given.
“Somebody calls you one thing one day and maybe it sticks or maybe it doesn’t. I’m a slacker-rocker, my music is new wave — it’s hard to follow,” he said by phone from his Los Angeles home.
Yet he remains true to his roots with his new record titled “Here Comes the Cowboy” and will kick off his North American tour in support of his fourth studio album May 7 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma.
The new album, the follow-up to 2017’s “This Old Dog,” will be his first on the aptly named Mac’s Record Label, founded last year. But having his own imprint doesn’t mean DeMarco’s tradition of recording music at home isn’t still in the forefront while working on new material.
While the indie-rocker could have very easily gone with an overproduced sound, DeMarco is all about simplicity and laid back vibes.
“I did this one in my garage,” Demarco said. “I could have gone to the studio or worked with a bunch of musicians or whatever but I feel like there’s something special about the results you get if you do it on your own.”
For the multi-instrumentalist, the ideal recording scenario is at home, where he’s relaxed and comfortable.
“I’ll just wake up and start doing it. Maybe I’ll put on pants sometimes but maybe not,” he said.
It’s this way of thinking, when DeMarco is truly and utterly himself, that shines through on each recording.
“Nothing is going to sound different if you’re not wearing pants,” he joked.
The good humor DeMarco displays also makes an appearance during his music videos. Take the video for his new song “Nobody,” which has characteristically creative visuals of DeMarco casually puffing a cigar while dressed as a lizard in a cowboy hat.
Though the outfit ensemble for the video required DeMarco to sit in a make-up chair for eight hours, it’s just the type of aesthetic fans expect of him. Other videos include a number of quirky antics, and fresh off the set for his latest music video, the songwriter hinted that there would be some new mask involved in his next one.
The key for DeMarco while creating is to not worry about what other people will appreciate.
“The first person I want to satisfy or make happy is myself,” he said. “I just let it come naturally and if people want to listen that’s cool.”
Once he puts a song out into the world, he likes to let it go and be open for interpretation.
“People take whatever they want from it,” DeMarco said. “It’s not really up to me or anybody else making music.”
DeMarco and his cohorts have only played one club show with the new material after hitting the stage at Coachella, he’s excited about the upcoming tour and expects to play new songs at Gundlach.
“If there’s enough time, we’ll probably play most of the new album,” he said.
On DeMarco’s last album, the singer tackled his strained relationship with his father in a rather touching and transparent way, but he prefers to work on songs that could have different meanings depending on the person.
“This time it’s more my older style, where the songs are very personal to me and deal with kind of heavy stuff from my personal life. But it’s maybe not as plain to see for other people,” DeMarco said. “Maybe someone will come to the same conclusion but maybe they’ll choose their own adventure with it.”
After performing in different parts of the Bay Area such as Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland, Demarco is excited to play in Sonoma for the first time.
“It should be dope,” DeMarco said.