"I like living by the water. It's new and crazy for me," says Mac DeMarco, smoking and peering out at the bay in Far Rockaway, Queens. All around, nature blends with reminders of civilization: Behind him, sun-dappled waves are chopped up by freighter boats and the occasional jet ski passing by. Across the water sits JFK airport, with its distant engine hum of planes taking off and landing at a steady, rhythmic clip. The crisp, salty sea breeze mingles with wafts of stagnant water, decaying debris and dead horseshoe crabs that wash ashore. For the charismatic 26-year-old songwriter who grew up in the landlocked plains of Canada, the water still holds an exotic appeal. Plus, the area's laid-back feel is a perfect match for his laconic delivery and perpetually chill personality.
Living out in the Rockaways is a welcome escape from the action and distractions that come with living in a city. "I don't ever see anybody unless I want to," he explains. "And even if I want to, usually people don't come out here 'cuz it's so far away. And my phone doesn't really work. It's all just peace and quiet."
DeMarco moved to this house last fall, after touring behind last year's excellent Salad Days — just in time for the long, bleak East Coast winter — with the intention of playing his instruments loud and writing new music in isolation. The wistful, melodic mini-album Another One, released last week, was written and recorded in his room. A shaggy and surfy collection of love songs, it's suited for a lazy summer backyard barbecue or taking your second-hand rowboat out for a dusk cruise.
That's especially true of his song "No Other Heart," which has him wooing a crush from afar. "I'll put the sparkle right back in your eyes / What could you lose?" he sings in his very best "Jealous Guy"-era John Lennon croon over warbling keyboard voicings. In this wonderful, bare bones performance on his boat — which he bought as a gift for himself to cope with the "birthday blues" — DeMarco's peculiar charm shines through.
Director/Producer: Mito Habe-Evans; Editor: Adam Wolffbrandt; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Mike Katzif, Adam Wolffbrandt; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Special Thanks: Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund; Executive Producer: Anya Grundman