Written by Emily Harrison
Mac DeMarco, The Nostalgia King
In a time when people are too glued to technology to witness what is going on around them, (I mean that literally – only yesterday I saw a man walk into a lamppost because he was so engrossed in his iPhone) Mac DeMarco represents the antithesis of this – an antihero yearning for a simpler time.
DeMarco’s nostalgic yearnings couldn’t have come at a better time. He is the perfect poster boy for the growing fervor against the all-pervading onslaught of technology within our everyday lives. That is not to say that DeMarco’s embodiment of these ideals is calculated, in fact it is anything but, and this is what lends it its charm.
DeMarco represents a nostalgia for simplicity – a time when goofing around with your friends without updating all your other friends about all the fun you’re having, was the norm. He is just a guy, having a good time making music not worrying about his latest instagram snaps.
His videos perfectly illustrate his relaxed attitude. In stark contrast to artists who appear to have spent millions on special effects and polished dance routines, Mac’s videos star his friends and are comprised of home movie style effects and odd cuts and scenes. The deliberately amateur look of the videos perfectly encapsulates the haphazard nature in which you can imagine they are thought up.
‘My Kind of Woman’ is perhaps the least serious of all Mac’s videos, an accolade tougher to get than it sounds. Not only does Mac appear comically ridiculous in drag, but also deliberately attempts to look sexy whilst singing, smoking a cigarette and having food thrown at him. The video itself has a dream-like quality, which only emphasizes DeMarcos’ bizarre drag image – kind of like David Lynch, if he didn’t take himself at all seriously.
The sheer randomness of much of his videos for me perfectly illustrates the freedom with which his mind operates. I admire Mac’s not-giving-a-fuck attitude. It’s not a contrived ‘I’m a punk I’m so crazy’ or ‘look how abstract and cool I am’ but rather a guy pissing around with his friends, and what’s not to like about that? DeMarco is only 24 and so this would not seem unusual but it is refreshing to see someone not taking the industry or themselves too seriously. Of course it does help that DeMarco’s music itself is really good, his videos reflect the unpolished nature of the songs.
Both on screen and on track DeMarco is analog in a digital age. In the pitchfork doc ‘Pepperoni Playboy’ Mac says ‘Kids are always asking me, “Mac how do you do it, what’s the trick?” ‘It’s all pitch control you dumb asses. Get yourself a tape machine and get your fucking head out of that abeltone shit you moron’. This reflects the star’s own ambivalence towards the polished recording of digital. DeMarco’s music reflects the noise and tangible in-room quality of records. In essence you feel like Mac and his mates (who make up his band) could be jamming in your front room.
He is a loveable rouge, like a friend of a friend, that crazy guy who just doesn’t give a fuck. He’s real and someone you’d like hang out with, it is this distinct personableness is what makes him the perfect spearhead for an anti–tech revolution. He represents something tangible, not something that cannot be grasped without the navigation of endless interfaces. After all, who enjoys being disconnected from music? Who wants to see infinite nameless DJs and over-glossed stars in ever-growing stadium venues? Or who would rather Mac DeMarco take his clothes off in a small sweaty bar whilst singing great tunes? I know which I would choose.