Tex Crick and Mac Demarco Got Some Shit to Talk About

The singer-songwriter and his label boss catch up about Sweet Dreamin’ and more.

Mac Demarco is a musician and producer, and the head of Mac’s Record Label, currently based in LA; Tex Crick is an Australian-born musician currently based in Tokyo. Tex’s newest album, Sweet Dreamin’, just came out on Mac’s Record Label, so to celebrate, the two got on the phone to catch up about its creation, the birth of their friendship, and more. 
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music

Mac Demarco: 1, 2, 3, can you hear me?

Tex Crick: Yeah, sounds good.

Mac: OK, then let’s begin. So, they gave us some shit to talk about. 

Tex: Did they? 

Mac: Should we fire through these? “How did you first hear each other’s music and when did you meet? And how did Tex come to be signed with Mac’s record label?” Tex? Do you want me to spearhead that, or do you want to start?

Tex: Sure, we can both attack it. How do you remember it?

Mac: My first real solid memory of hanging with you would have been… I remember seeing you and Kirin [J Callinan] walking around with Connan [Mockasin] and Rory [McCarthy] and maybe maybe Tim Koh on the street in Brooklyn. It was at a point in time where you and Kirin were dressing incredibly cyber, really European — you know, bowl cut, black dress, black crocs. 

Tex: That’s right.

Mac: Really sharp looking glasses. But I saw you guys then, and I remember you were playing keyboard with Kirin, and you guys opened Connan’s show at Williamsburg Music Hall. That would have been probably 2014.

Tex: Oh, I remember that. 

Mac: But I think finally we became actual homies when we were all in LA. Kirin played a show with Sean Nicholas Savage at that small little venue in Chinatown.

Tex: Melody Lounge.

Mac: Melody Lounge. But the night before, we’d all been hanging out at some weird after hours spot, and I was so drunk that I was throwing up while having a conversation with you guys… It was a bit of a scene. That was almost 10 years ago now, Tex. 

Tex: That’s crazy.

Mac: It is completely insane. And then we would chill when I would come to Australia, or when you guys would come back to play here. But I think that was where it all began. That’s when my eyes were opened to you, Tex.

Tex: I seem to remember in New York, I was with Con and you rolled up in your car with Kiera [McNally], and I think you invited us to your birthday party or something. Oh — it was that you had filmed a documentary

Mac: You came to the screening of that?

Tex: Yeah, we went to that. I think you were really wasted.

Mac: Yeah. It was at the Wythe Hotel. They had a movie theater in the basement and they played Pepperoni PlayboyPitchfork made that documentary — and I was hammered. Then we went to Baby’s All Right afterwards for the… I don’t remember a lot of that night, but that all makes sense. 

I wasn’t aware of your solo music for a couple of years after that, but I remember you put out an EP, or an album.

Tex: It was a mini album thing with Flexible Records. I think maybe I sent that to you? Or I was at your house and I gave it to you on a USB.

Mac: I had it somehow; I learned one of the songs on the piano. That was around the time when we had moved to LA, and you guys were around — I think you didn’t have any eyebrows for a little while in that general timeframe. 

Tex: [Laughs.] That’s right. 

Mac: From then on, I was like, Oh, yeah, he’s putting out his own shit all the time. And then years later, you had Live In… New York City, you didn’t know what to do with it, shot it over to me, and the rest is fucking history, baby.

Tex: That’s right. I’m trying to think when I first heard your music… Maybe Salad Days had just come out. But I didn’t really listen to your music until after I met you. 

Mac: I feel like Con was kind of the glue. You guys had a bit of a crew down South. I had my Canadian crew and the New York crew, and then when Con finally came across the pond, everybody met each other all at once. It was exciting times.

Tex: Those were the days.

Mac: I feel like the first time we really bonded was that night that in Australia when we all got really, really hammered. You stayed at our Airbnb, I believe, and we watched some strange edit of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. And we all woke up in the mid-afternoon really hungover, but it was one of those hangovers that wasn’t painful. It was kind of like, Ah, I don’t feel bad, I just feel kind of weird. And then we went to that fancy gastropub, Italian restaurant — it was Italian, but there’d be a piece of pasta with some, like, squid foam on it or something. 

Tex: That’s right.

Mac: That was nice. 

Tex: I think we slept 16 hours that night.

Mac: See, that’s what I’m saying: there’s a point you can wake up where you feel guilty. You’re like, God, I’m such a degenerate. But I think we slept through that point. 

Let’s see, how did you get signed with with us… Were working on the record and I was like, “I have this thing…” I guess you were the prototype. I hadn’t really put anybody else’s music out.

Tex: It kind of just naturally happened.

Mac: Then I remember [with Sweet Dreamin’] you played me some demos of it when we were hanging in the garage like a year ago.

Tex: Oh, that’s right. I came over to LA and, in my head, I’d kind of finished it. But I thought maybe if we wanted to add any sprinkles to it, then we could. 

Mac: Yeah, I remember you being kind of like, “Well, I think it’s pretty much there, but maybe we could give it a final kiss or something.” But then we listened to it in the room I’m sitting in now, and it was a finished record. Here’s the thing: don’t fuck with something that’s done already. The first record too, though, you were done. You sent it over and I did a little bit of cleanup, but it’s not like I really did anything that insane. It was just kind of a little edits, and then we ran it through some stuff. This time it was no edits needed, just ready to rock. And then the emails begin, with all of the label people, the back and forth. 

But you’re very on top of [everything]. For example, the single came out yesterday, and you’ve got this social media — you’ve made the little clips, you have the photos. It’s very self-sufficient. Makes my life a lot easier. 

Tex: I don’t know how anyone else does it. 

Mac: I mean, back in my day, that really didn’t exist yet. When I signed with the old label I used to work with, there was no Instagram Reels. I don’t even think Stories were a thing yet. 

Tex: I know, there’s all this new stuff that we have to do…

Mac: Yeah, there’s insane shit. And Kiera is pretty good at it, but we do it in kind of a scrappy way. But when you send the stuff in, it’s pretty professional.

Tex: I was worried that it seems like I’m taking it too seriously. [Laughs.]

Mac: When the logo fades in, that’s nice. That’s a classy touch. Well done.

Tex: Oh, thanks. I don’t know what I’m doing. 

Mac: That’s the whole idea of the entire label, Tex. But it’s on the stilts of bigger distribution companies that do know what they’re doing, so we’re going to get there, alright? We’re getting to the top of the mountain one step at a time. Let’s see here…

Tex: What else we got?

Mac: “Where do you think your musical kinship stems from? Specific influences, or a more general shared sensibility-slash-perspective?”

Tex: That’s a deep one.

Mac: It is a bit deep, but it’s interesting — I feel like nowadays, because everything is so blurred…

Tex: It’s hard to be one thing, isn’t it?

Mac: I feel like when we met each other, it’s kind of like you meet someone that’s in the same general universe as you are, and you’re like, “Yeah, what’s up?” The kinship between someone like you or Kirin or Connan or my old homies from Canada, or even the Finns — we’re all just kind of like, “Yeah, uh huh. OK. See you over there. How are you doing?” Now I feel like it’s a little more disjointed or… I guess what I’m trying to think is, if somebody listened to my music and then listened to your music, would they put those two eggs in the same basket?

Tex: I see what you mean.

Mac: They probably would. I don’t know.

Tex: I’d think about that. The music is not completely similar, but it’s not that far apart either. 

Mac: No. I think on a broader scale now where, people are like, “Wow, real instruments” — that’s a basket they’d put us in. Which that did not even compute back in the day.

Tex: I guess I’m definitely drawn to… You know, there’s specific people that you get along with. Like when we met, I hadn’t really listened to your music, but I got to know you and liked you and then bought your CD. I feel like the friendship helps a lot. I mean, I don’t listen to too much current music, but if I was friends with someone who was releasing music, I think I would like their music, probably.

Mac: Yeah, that’s the thing: I don’t think I listen to anything currently that’s made by anyone that’s not my homie. 

Tex: But I’m open. I want people to prove me wrong. Send me good music where I don’t know the people. 

Mac: Doesn’t exist. That’s the problem. All the other music that’s out there, you don’t want to be friends with these people. 

Tex: [Laughs.] 

Mac: OK, let’s see… “Location plays into, at least the marketing of (for lack of a better term), each of your most recent records. Five Easy Hot Dogs, was recorded on a road trip, and most of the press for Sweet Dreamin’ mentions that you’re an Australian artist based in Tokyo. How important actually is the idea of place to these records, or to you in general in terms of your work? Is where you currently are more important than where you’re from?” Wow, that’s a pretty heavy cherry on top.

Tex: I wouldn’t say it’s more important. It’s all important.

Mac: Yeah, I think it’s all equally important in different ways. Although, I’ll say — you were there, when we watched those Oilers games in my backyard. For me, there was a long time, especially musically and publicly, where I tried to dash where I was from. I was not this prairie kid, I didn’t want to be this Canadian. But the older I get, the more I’m like, “I’m from Western Canada. I’m sorry for pretending to be Italian for years. I’m Western Canadian, and that’s the way it is, and this is what I am.” So I think it depends on where you are in your life. The more of the world that I see, the more Canadian I feel.

Tex: It seems like a very common thing, though. People always want to get out of their hometowns. And you don’t realize how how much it is a part of you until you’ve left and done other things.

Mac: Exactly. And any shame you have — or not even shame, I think it’s just embarrassment. I’m from an embarrassing place, or I used to [think that]. But it’s not embarrassing. It’s just where you’re from. It doesn’t matter. But that aside, I don’t know. What do you think? When I moved to LA and people would be like, “This Old Dog — so is this your LA record?” I just wanted to fucking murder… But I think it’s because that’s already a thing, like cocaine-yacht-rock, fucking Steely-Dan-goes-West. But for you, it’s like, what does an Australian living in Tokyo’s record sound like? Maybe you’re writing the book on it now, so maybe it’s not as annoying.

Tex: I don’t know. I think I’m just shut off to a lot of the world living here. I kind of am anyway — I’m not good at keeping in touch with anything that’s going on. But anyway, what I’m saying is, it affects the creativity in a way, but in another sense, it doesn’t at all. I mean, spaces seem to really affect the kind of output you’re doing. But there’s no references in the album to living in Tokyo. But maybe the music I hear in Japan has affected the way I’m writing… I’m not sure.

Mac: I think about it sometimes, because it’s like I spend all this time and money buying gear and building this studio and, Oh, I can put up all this paneling and make it sound— you know? And then I’m just like, I could take a tiny little recorder and go record in a hotel room and kind of get a similar result. I just like the idea of being able to do it anywhere. And I think, especially the way you make the records with the tiny little Tascam recorder, you can also just make them anywhere. You put it in your back pocket. We’re making music with real instruments and blah, blah, blah, but we’re living in the future, baby. 

Tex: Yeah, that’s right. SD cards.

Mac: Exactly.

Tex: But mine’s CD quality. You can’t handle that.

Mac: Nothing wrong with CD quality. That’s nice.

Tex: Gotta love CDs.

Mac: Well, I think that’s all they wanted from us, Tex. You got anything else you want to splash out to the world?

Tex: There’s a tour coming up in Australia, with Sylvie.

Mac: That’s great. Any hopes, any dreams with this new release? What are you expecting once you unleash Sweet Dreamin’ onto the public?

Tex: I don’t know, just for people to listen to it. That’d be nice.

Mac: You want statues made?

Tex: Yeah, in my hometown.

Mac: In Japanese public squares.

Tex: Yeah, in the Koenji town center. That would be nice.

Mac: Oh, that would be cool. I’ll look into it. Record labels don’t do anything anymore — this is the kind of thing that labels are going to have to start doing. My next contracts are going to have to be like, “Yeah, we promise the erection of a stone statue of you in your township of choosing.”

Tex: I mean, billboards are expensive. Just pay a sculptor.

(Photo Credit: left, Jill Francis; right, Kiera McNally)

From the small coastal town of Coledale on the south coast of Australia comes Tex Crick. Since appearing on the scene in 2013, Crick’s versatility as a keyboardist led him far and wide, making a name for himself as a cult figure amongst alt-music fanatics. With a modest reputation for performing alongside a diverse array of international artists, Crick has played with Kirin J. Callinan, Weyes Blood, Connan Mockasin, and Iggy Pop.

Tex’s latest solo release, Sweet Dreamin’, is out now via Mac Demarco‘s Mac’s Record Label.