For a guy that’s been tagged as being the face of the so-called “slacker-rock” genre, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s spent more time working on their craft than Mac DeMarco. Despite an endless tour schedule that’s taken him across the globe, he used a brief road hiatus last year to write and record the recently released mini-LP, Another One. We caught up with Mac in Vancouver to talk about the new album and finding the time to write.
G— You wrote and recorded Another One following an Australian tour last year. Did you have a clear idea coming off the road as to what you wanted to do in the studio?
Mac DeMarco— I had a couple scratch demoes, but nothing really. For me, when I decide that I want to do that kind of thing, I’ll just sit down; and if it works, it does, and if it doesn’t, I’ll give up.
G— I’d read that part of the motivation for writing the album was that you felt like you didn’t want to go too long without releasing new material.
MD— The release part doesn’t really matter to me. The amount that we toured and played Salad Days felt like beating a dog to death. So, by the time I went to go and record Another One, it was nice to know the band would have some new stuff to play. I feel like putting out one album or EP a year isn’t super crazy nowadays.
G— Being on tour so much, do you find yourself having to make time to write?
MD—I never really have time to do it when we’re out. I don’t write in hotel rooms or the van or anything. So, when I get home it’s the time to just do that stuff. It’s kind of nice. I’ll wake up, have a cup of coffee, and then I’ll go down and sit at the keyboard. It’s like a meditation period for me.
G— You’ve recorded all the instruments on your albums yourself. Is that an important part of the process for you?
MD— It’s just the way I know how to do it. I’m not opposed to collaborating with people, I’ve always done it on my own. I don’t have to bounce ideas off people or be like could you do it this way, y’know? Things progress in a slow way because I can only do so much on each instrument. But, I get better at recording. It’s like an arts-and-crafts-fun-time for me.
G— You also recently did a vinyl reissue of Makeout Videotape’s Jizz Jazz.
MD— Yeah, my friend from Toronto pressed 1,200 copies. Those went pretty fast, so they’re out there now. It’s really nice to see people give a shit about something released that far back.
G— Does it feel good that you can now give that album a bigger platform?
MD— In a way, yeah. I always kept the album up on Bandcamp where you could download it, along with all the other old recordings. I think that the kids who were interested in it, probably already had it. It’s funny though, I only wanted to do a really small run. People ask me why we didn’t press more, but I thought nah, let’s wait a couple years for that.
G— Your bandmates – past and present – have all been active in their own music projects.
MD— I think it’s cool that everyone’s got their own shit going on, it keeps everybody sane. If I was just like you belong to me, that might be fucked up. (laughs)
G— Has surrounding yourself with creative people played a role in your approach to writing music?
MD—I like to be around them when I’m out and about doing stuff, because it can give you that little spark where you go oh, I’ve got get home and do this. Seeing bands gives me that same feeling. But, when I get home, I won’t want to see anybody for a month.
In the ten years since Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg started First Aid Kit, they have been going non-stop. The indie-folk duo got their start when their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” went viral, and have since released four albums, won five Swedish Grammis awards, and brought two of their idols to tears on live television. Following a brief hiatus, and four years after their last record, Stay Gold, First Aid Kit is back with Ruins, a raw account of losing love and finding yourself. In the middle of a North American tour, Georgie talked to Klara and Johanna about the new album and what brought them to Ruins. G—You’ve said in past interviews that Stay Gold was a more put-together, polished kind of album, and Ruins is a lot rawer. What caused that shift? JS—The production of Stay Gold is very lush and elegant, and I think that’s what we wanted at the time. But we started longing for this rawness, this almost lo-fi aspect that we had on our first records. [For Ruins]…our attitude was that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If we sing a bum note or there’s a little crack
Charlotte Cardin is on track to having her biggest year yet. The electro jazz-pop singer has been nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at next month’s Juno Awards. Along the way, she has performed at Osheaga—an experience she calls “surreal”, having attended for years growing up in Montréal—and Festival d’été de Québec where she opened for Sting and Peter Gabriel. More recently, she has been touring behind her EPs Big Boy (Cult Nation Records, 2016) and Main Girl (Sony Music, 2017). Through this past September and October, she supported Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker), and she’s been on tour with BØRNS since January. This spring, Cardin will headline her own dates. Prior to her full-time career in music, Cardin modelled in fashion which afforded her pocket money and freedom to work on her art. She also competed on the first season of La Voix, a francophone Canadian version of The Voice. But being on television, like modelling, was never her passion. “I never really felt that much pressure when I was on TV. For me, there’s something a lot more real about what I’m doing right now.” She feels more pressure performing her own
Garland Jeffreys’ album, 14 Steps to Harlem, grew out of a soulful period of retrospection late in the artist’s life and career. As a veteran songwriter, Jeffreys started writing provocative, ahead-of-its- time, genre-bending songs in the early 1970s, with lyrics focused on everything from relationships to racial diversity to political turmoil. Now in his seventies, the New York musician is looking back on his life with an album that takes on bold topics and includes a title track inspired by his turbulent relationship with his father. Jefferys spoke with Georgie about his latest release, his relationship with Lou Reed and his somewhat unconventional approach to songwriting. Georgie—14 Steps to Harlem is a great album. Garland Jeffreys—Thank you. I’m very proud of the record. I took some chances in recording it but had confidence that it could be something special. You don’t know a record is good or bad until it’s done – then you know. I worked on the album with my co-producer, James Maddock, who’s a great artist in his own right. G—The title track, “14 Steps to Harlem”, stood out to me. I read that it was written with your father in mind. Did the experience of writing about your dad