Noise

Indie rocker Mac DeMarco talks food, pinball and more food

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Don’t miss Mac wax poetic about his Viceroys on Friday.
Kiera McNally

It looks like you’ve got a few weeks of downtime right now. What have you been up to? I just moved to Los Angeles, into a new house—been fixing it up, getting it renovated and uh, I don’t know. Eating burritos mostly.

I read that you were working on a new album but kind of shelved it temporarily. Have you returned to that recently? I’m recording. The house has kept me kind of busy, [but] I have a little studio set up, so I’ve been recording a little bit. Earlier this year I wrote the better part of an album, I guess, and then [the] tour kind of kicked up again and some other stuff went on. So I was kind of like, well, I’ll just leave this for now. I’m just having a good time. Usually I kind of hammer it out and go right ahead, but this time I’m just having a nice little breath a fresh air and kicking back in the California sun a little bit.

I was watching this video on Chart Attack where you give life advice to fans and you strongly urged against going to Chipotle. What Mexican food, or what restaurants in general, would you recommend going to instead? I like the trucks in LA. I live really close to this place called Taco Zone, so I go there a lot. I think my favorite burrito in LA right now is at this [truck] called La Estrella. It’s in Highland Park on York. I really like that one. There’s also a place called Via-Mar, which is on Figueroa, and that one is good for the fish tacos. That’s if you’re in LA. If you’re in San Francisco, my soundman lives near Taqueria Cancun, and they’re open late. It’s a good way to feel like sh*t right after you eat.

I’m sure touring is a great way to explore a city. What kinds of places do you look forward to hitting up most? Around the world it’s the sandwiches that I never forget. I’m a bit of a sucker for the sandwiches. I don’t mean to talk about food all this much, but in São Paulo in Brazil there’s a pork sandwich, and you get cheese and a ring of pineapple, and there’s this really good hot sauce. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet. I crave the doner kebabs in Berlin. I try and get them in other parts of Europe; never quite turns out the way I want it. You gotta go to Berlin for them. I love them there. Also the other sandwich that I pine for is the salt beef bagel at Brick Lane in London—it’s a bagel filled with this salty, kinda corned beef, real juicy meat. The bagel’s real salty, and they’re open late. I love it. It took me years to figure out what I like in London. I had a lot of trouble eating in the U.K. English food is kind of strange sometimes. They have a lot of great food; it just took me a while to figure it out. But now I’ve got it.

You played Vegas once before a few years ago. What are you looking forward to now that you’re back? The show we played last time was a long time ago. We were touring, and some people knew who we were, but we played to next to nobody. I think there were four or five people there. It was a very small weird show. I think there was an article that came out about it too, like, yep, no one went to Mac’s show in Vegas. It was cool. It was in the old Strip [Downtown], so we hung out there. It was a fun time. We took my old bass player to the strip club for the first time; it was a bit of a scarring experience. I don’t think I really got a taste for it that much, but it should be fun. My little brother lives there now, so I’m excited mostly to see what his life is like out there.

You have a pretty unique relationship with your fans—you even gave out your address on your last album Another One. What is it about that fan-musician relationship that’s important to you? I don’t know. I never really thought of [it] like, “Okay, here’s my game plan. How am I going to reach these people?” It’s surprising to me in the first place that I’m in the position that I’m in and that I have been for as long as I have been and that there are even people that take the time or give a f*ck to pay attention and come out to the shows. People send emails, and they get really emotional, which is crazy to me, and I don’t think it’ll ever stop being crazy. It’s strange, but also, I have to appreciate it. People essentially are paying my rent, so they deserve some amount of respect. I think it’s important. For me going to shows and seeing somebody that’s trying to do a good vibe and have a good time with the people that came out and paid to have a good time, it’s always a little bit more rewarding, or at least it is for me. I just try to keep it real with these people.

Speaking of fans, Shamir is from Las Vegas and I know he’s a big fan of yours. He was over at my house the other day.

Oh, cool. Is there any chance you’ll work on collaboration in the future? Who knows? I’ve never really worked with anybody except for my old buddies or something like that. Maybe it’s in the cards, maybe it’s not. I’m not really the collaborative style of person, but if somebody needs help I can help.

I read that you’re into pinball. Have you heard about the Pinball Hall of Fame here in Vegas? I have, and I’ve heard about it for years, actually. I think the first time we went I was like “Ooh! Yeah! Okay!” But we were on a bit of a schedule, so we didn’t have time. But perhaps this time. I think it might be a little more lax this time, so maybe we could check it out.

Lastly, you’ve played some great live covers. How do you go about picking them and is there anything you’re really excited to play? We never really learn a cover the entire way through. We usually learn the hook or like one part of a song and kind of bastardize it. I never really know the lyrics. I think it’s just sort of a thing between, especially my generation of young men—and girls too, I’m not trying to be sexist or anything like that—I think kids that learned to play guitar around the time I played guitar, classic rock was having a bit of a resurgence. Everyone was always listening to Led Zeppelin or Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC. So there’s code between classic rock kids of my age where it’s kind of like, “Oh, that song? I know how to play it on guitar, too.” Its not even a matter of picking; it’s just a matter of how silly we’re feeling onstage and which stupid one comes out. Not to say that those songs are stupid, but we all know them for some reason.

Mac DeMarco with Ducktails, Dinner. September 2, 9 p.m., $25-$30. Hard Rock Hotel pool, 702-693-5222.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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