Engineering the Sound: Mac DeMarco’s ‘Salad Days’

After the release of his 2012 breakout album 2Mac DeMarco’s fanbase began spreading around the globe in the lead up to Salad Days. In a 2014 interview with Evan Minsker of Pitchfork, Mac described feeling “weathered and beat down and grown up all of a sudden” after almost two years of touring and press.

As a result, his second full-length album Salad Days not only progressed technically but also developed in its maturity and themes. “It’s weird because I did it all in about a month. Maybe it was the mood I was in, I didn’t really feel like writing a ‘rock’ song,” Mac explained in a 2014 interview with Under the Radar.

In saying this, it wasn’t like DeMarco suddenly had some epiphany about modern social issues after watching a late night Oxfam commercial. Salad Days is still smeared with his signature cheek and charm, but when listening to his previous albums comparatively, you can hear his lo-fi indie-rock speaking on a deeper level.

It’s time to grow up and eat our greens, so here are 5 steps that went into making Salad Days, the perfect side dish to everyone’s favourite cheesy Mac.

Mac DeMarco Salad Days

From broken tape machines to analog synths to shitty guitars, we take a look at the what went into making Salad Days, the perfectly imperfect third album from Mac DeMarco.

Step 1: 30ml of 100% Undiluted Mac

Mac’s demeanor isn’t some façade conveniently reflective of his music used to sell records to young rebellious teens. His music is directly a result of his character, not the other way around. This aspect of his creative process really shines on Salad Daysanalbum that was performed, recorded and mixed entirely by DeMarco himself at Jizz Jazz Studios – his small Brooklyn apartment.

In 2014, when American Songwriter asked Mac why he didn’t involve his band in the recording of Salad Days, he responded by saying “I feel like I’m most satisfied when I can do it myself… Guitar and bass: I’m okay at. Drums: I can scratch my way by. Keyboard: I’m not super good at, but that’s fun for me because I don’t really know what I’m doing, and maybe something weird will happen, y’know?”

Whether it was his prowess on the fret board, his no-frills style of drumming or his uncertainty with keys, Mac’s unassisted writing, performing and engineering on the album spawned a truly unfiltered product of who he is. And without added opinions from musicians, cowriters, producers or engineers, Salad Days emerged from the womb as a very authentic creature, a reflection of DeMarco himself.

Visit Happy Mag to read the full article.

Radi Safi

by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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