Mac DeMarco has a reputation for basically being a walking meme, even though he's actually not too familiar with them himself. A close listen to his music, however—looking past the Viceroys and slacker sensibility—reveals a sensitivity that's often masked by his onstage antics and general fun guy demeanor. In particular DeMarco's last record, This Old Dog, reveals preoccupations beyond getting drunk; there are songs about his relationship with his father, and his ideas about ageing. He recently appeared on NPR's All Things Considered to talk about those themes, and their relationship with his persona.
One thing that's clear from the interview is that DeMarco is aware of how he's perceived. He tells host Michel Martin, "If a time comes or, like, you know, something where I need to be frank or be honest or be, you know, earnest or whatever, I'm capable of doing it. I'm a human being, you know. But I think that goofy gets a lot more clickbait than earnest." He's certainly not wrong, but it appears he's keen to show more than one side of himself. Martin raises the topic of DeMarco's relationship with his estranged father, and specifically his father's illness. DeMarco elaborates, saying, "He got really sick, and we went up to Edmonton, me and my siblings, to see him. And that's where the strangeness came - you know, face to face with something like that, where it's kind of like, well, damn. You know, like, this could be the last chance."
The newly-acquired weight of that relationship is addressed on This Old Dog and DeMarco also dives into that a little further:
The last song on the record is called "Watching Him Fade Away." It's halfway in between being angry at this person and being, like, come on to this person and also being, like, I love you to this person. And the other part is just complete confusion. But it is what it is. I'm not trying to, like, vilify the man or crucify him. I'm just trying to understand what that connection between two people is supposed to mean.
Overall it's a short but necessary-feeling look at a lesser-heard side of DeMarco, and one that informs his songwriting as much as—or even more than—his "goofy" side. Hear the full interview below:
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This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.