Sitting in his Silver Lake home, smoking down the phone, Mac DeMarco sounds like the same old dog he’s always been: he’s sick of doing press, he can’t wait to get on the road, but most of all he’s just glad he’s got to this point. “A lot of people have got their vinyl copies already, and it leaked a couple of weeks ago, so a lot of people have heard it already. But it’s exciting I guess… I’m just glad people are listening to it.” We’re talking about his fourth studio album and how, days before its official release, half the world has already decided it’s the sound of a refined, more mature DeMarco. Mac, for his part, isn’t so sure.
“I just think it’s a cheap thing to say,” he sighs, anticipating the topic. “People have been saying it since Salad Days,” he goes on, adopting a campy ‘journalist’ voice mimicking what those who have declared “oh he’s growing up now, it’s incredible.” DeMarco would rather people spent less time trying to dissect his personal development and more time listening to the album itself. While most stars of DeMarco’s stature would relish the chance to divulge the inner growth that inspired their new work, for Mac, it’s clearly a waste of time. “It’s like who gives a shit y’know?” he says, almost certainly aware of the irony that actually hundreds of thousands of people give a shit. “I just did some things, and I wrote about them, it’s the same as any other album I’ve done.”
Many would disagree. Written over the course of a year or so and split between New York and L.A, This Old Dog deals in DeMarco’s usual brand of lackadaisical love songs and dreamy ballads but also delves deeper into his private life than anything before. Most notable are the two tracks that bookend the record, opener ‘My Old Man’ and its closer, ‘Watching Him Fade Away’ which tackle his relationship with his father, who, at the time, was in hospital, suffering a serious illness. It’s a subject more complex than any DeMarco has dealt with on record before. “I think that the main difference on this [album] is that some of the lyrical content is a bit more direct, whereas on previous albums it’s been a bit more vague,” he concedes. “It’s just more out in the open, but a lot of the themes are the same [themes] I’ve been dealing with for years now. I’m doing me; I’ve always been doing me.”