Mac DeMarco releases his new instrumental album Five Easy Hot Dogs, out now via Mac’s Record Label. The record serves as an audio journal that follows a journey Mac took from Los Angeles to Canada and back. Each song on Five Easy Hot Dogs was recorded and mixed in the city that the song is named after, and the track list reflects the chronological order in which the songs were made.
FROM MAC: I played a show in the Bay Area in mid-January, a make up for this other show that got half rained out a couple of months before. The plan after that was to start driving north, and not go home to Los Angeles until I was done with a record. I didn’t really have anything too specific in mind as far as where I was gonna go, but had some people I wanted to see and some places too, if I could swing them.
I figured I’d just start driving, stay in motels or hotels or people’s houses or wherever I could sort out, record in these places too, and if something wasn’t working I’d just keep on driving. Kind of like being on tour, except there aren’t any shows and I’d just be burning money.
I’d spend a bit of time putting together a portable recording system that I had packed into my Toyota before the San Francisco show, eight channels max. I had my guitars with me, a bass, a weird little drum kit with a kick drum we sawed in half in Golden Gate Park, all the stands and cabling I’d need, a couple of mics, an old model D, and a TX7. I wound up picking up a bunch of stuff as I went as well, trying to keep it as travel friendly as possible though.
Maybe it’s the last couple of years, or maybe it’s my age now, but the idea of forgoing any sort of normalcy or comfort and making my entire life, for a segment of time, completely insane feels very inspiring to me. I stayed out on the road doing this for almost four months.
All the songs on this record were recorded and mixed at the variety of spaces I stayed, in the corresponding city from each song title. Every track is also in chronological order. I tried to record something every day while I was out there. I kept audio and written journals, and took photos and videos as well. A lot of this stuff will remain just for me for now, but I’m happy to be able to share some of the music with this record.
Some places I stayed longer in than others, some of them I knew from the past, others not so much. I tried to keep things busy all the time. If I didn’t know what was up in a city, I’d just walk around ‘til someone recognized me and go from there. I met a lot of interesting people this way, and had a bunch of cool experiences. That being said, many places I wound up weren’t really conducive to just figuring things out or running into people, and in those cases I spent time alone, sometimes for pretty long stretches.
Near the end of my trip, sometime in early April, I planned to drive from New York City to Salt Lake City, and planned on staying in Salt Lake for a month or so, until the band was supposed to play a festival there. I also decided to quit smoking right around the beginning of the drive. I had horrible withdrawals all the way to Salt Lake, and they kept on going once I arrived too. I had trouble finding somewhere long term to stay in town, so I wound up in a small lake community called Panguitch near Zion National Park. I rented a cabin out there; it probably could have slept about 20 people, but instead it was just me withdrawing from nicotine with a bunch of taxidermy animals all over the place. No other humans for probably 50 miles in any direction. Horrible idea. I lasted one night and went back to Los Angeles the next day.
When I first got back home I felt as though I had given up on my idea and failed to finish what I was trying to do. But that’s all dog shit.
The nature of ripping around and recording and traveling in this manner doesn’t lend well to sitting around and planning or thinking about what it was that I was setting out to do. I didn’t ever have a sound in mind, or a theme or anything, I would just start recording. Luckily the collection of recordings from this period all shake hands, they have a present musical identity as a whole. I was in it while I was in it, and this is what came out of it, just the way it was.
This record sounds like what rolling around like that feels like. I hope you enjoy.