Ode to Mac-roy: The many sides of Mac DeMarco

In the run up to his Field Day slot, we dissect the man, the legend, the enigma that is Mac DeMarco.

With the joys of Field Day now just one sleep away, the prospect of glancing Mac DeMarco roaming around Victoria Park sharing his pack of Viceroys is becoming too much to handle. Besides his obvious talents as a musician, he’s something of an enigma, too, and there’s no-one else quite like him. In the run-up to his arrival in London, we’ve taken an in-depth look at the many sides and facets of Mac DeMarco.

First, though, here’s Mac DeMarco announcing himself for Field Day. Obviously he crouches for the announcement like a suspense-filled frog, and adopts the voice of Damon Albarn playing the Artful Doger in an Oliver Twist re-make. Why wouldn’t you?

Dave Fuck is the nicest guy around

If there’s anything the world needs more of, it is generous, loving and selfless souls. By day Mac DeMarco might be a musician, but at night he transforms into his alter-ego, Dave Fuck, the Backer. With an assured wag of his finger, and an authoritative yet kindly arm signal, Dave helps cars reverse carefully and safely into parking lot bays every single night of the year. It’s a taxing burden to bear - as he candidly admits in the short documentary below - and often his hard work as a backer is taken for granted by society. “Some people say it’s a waste of time and most people don’t need to be backed up,” Dave Fuck says in reply. “I tell them ‘fuck you’.”

His real name is ridiculous and brilliant

Mac DeMarco’s real name is stupendous - Vernor Winfield Macbriare Smith IV. Mac’s Great Grandfather was the original Vernor Smith, who was Alberta’s Minister of Railways and Telephones back in the early 20th Century. In other words, it’s probably not an elaborate ruse, and his very impressive full name is likely real. Mac DeMarco is easier to say though. Good choice, Mac.

Ode to Viceroy

While we’re neither condoning nor judging tobacco usage, Mac DeMarco’s loyalty to Canadian budget cigarette brand Viceroy is quite staggering, and a vital component of his persona. Rarely spotted without his Viceroy baseball cap - originally thrown onstage in Sydney by an adoring fan - Mac’s ability to sing with a ciggy hanging lopsidedly out of his mouth is a highly honed skill, too. The obsession goes so far that Mac DeMarco has even written a song as a smokey homage - ‘Ode To Viceroy’.

Mac DeMarco’s Mum is an absolute legend

Discovering that Mac DeMarco has the coolest mum around isn’t really a huge surprise. Among other things, she adds Mac’s fans as Facebook friends since he maxed out his own account, and she goes out of her way to wish them all a Happy Birthday. What a legend. Agnes often makes guest appearances onstage with Mac, too. It’s while gatecrashing a press interview at Laneway Festival, though, that Agnes reaches her pinnacle thus far. She gleefully reveals that Mac once stole 50 bucks from one of her home-stay tenants, and then took the money to the store to buy weapons for all his friends. “It was because you were being bullied at school,” she adds, “I had to go around to all the people’s houses and get the weapons back.”

In the same interview, Mac discloses his shameless love for Coldplay, which leads us nicely onto….

Look at the stars, look how they shine for….Pierce

Mac DeMarco sure knows how to pick his bandmates. He and his touring band share a special affection for Coldplay’s discography, which they embrace wholeheartedly. Last week at Primavera a snapped guitar string could’ve spelt out disaster, but luckily Mac’s heroic bass player Pierce McGarry stepped in to save the day. It isn’t the first time that Pierce has performed his deeply emotive take on Chris Martin and co.’s hit single ‘Yellow,’ but if there’s any justice in the world, it certainly won’t be the last time, either.

Mac’s a creative visionary

Musician? Check. Taken-for-granted car backer? You betcha. Mac DeMarco has another string to his proverbial bow of talents, too - he’s got all the makings of a visionary artist. Vast amounts of credit go to Mac’s bassist Pierce McGarry, who directs majority of his music videos, helping to shape incredibly affecting, stirring and potentially iconic slow-motion film treatments. Mac and co. find one of their finest moments in the brooding visual put together in 2012 for a cover of The Hollies’ ‘He’s My Brother’. The most prodigious work in Mac’s oeuvre, though, has to be ‘Terrified Woman’. It’s a subtle yet chilling piece of film, holding a mirror up to humanity’s fear of the unknown. Or something like that, anyway.

His previous bands are pretty decent

During school Mac DeMarco had a joke band called The Meat Cleavers - with a bunch of songs about his sleepy hometown of Edmonton - and he was also in a band called Outdoor Miners with Peter Sagar; who played guitar in his live band til very recently. After graduating and moving to Vancouver, Mac formed a far more serious band with his old friend Alex Calder - ‘serious’ by his standards, anyway - and recorded his first proper album. It’s strange to see a baby-faced Mac singing songs sans dungarees and Viceroys, but Makeout Videotape was the band that first took him out on tour, sleeping on sofas and scraping by. His ramshackle approach to recording has continued ever since.

Mac DeMarco will play Field Day (6th-7th June), where DIY is an official media partner. Tickets are on sale now. Visit diymag.com/presents for more information.

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