It’s difficult to characterize HOMESHAKE, the solo project of Peter Sagar, former guitarist for Mac DeMarco. In the Shower, Sagar’s genre-defying debut album, is a pleasing blend of funk-inspired bass lines, indie melodies and jazzy rhythms — a sound DeMarco jokingly refers to ‘jizz-jazz.’
It was a little tricky to figure out when to leave, but I needed more time to work on my own stuff and do other things…
Now living in Montreal, Edmonton-born Sagar admits it was risky to go out on his own at the height of DeMarco’s meteoric rise to success. “It was a little tricky to figure out when to leave, but I needed more time to work on my own stuff and do other things I missed so much on the road, like cooking dinner with my sweetie and watching shitty action movies.”
But with risk comes reward, and Sagar’s decision to go it alone seems to have paid off. His self-titled EP, The HOMESHAKE Tape, and full-length album In the Shower were both favourably received by critics and fans alike, with Exclaim! giving the latter 8 out of 10.
Given the leapfrogging of cities and countries that occurred with DeMarco, it’s impressive that Sagar found the time to write and record both HOMESHAKE releases while touring. “Playing on the road every night leaves me with very little energy or time to come up with new ideas, so it took quite a while to get the album on tape. But I’m a patient guy,” he says.
He’s quick to explain that despite the challenges of touring, he cherished his time on the road with DeMarco and Co. “We’d be in a new place for weeks and months at a time and, being a bit of a homebody, I’d get pretty tired of it. But I was with some of the world’s finest men. We could have been working dishwashing jobs together and it still would have been great.”
He speaks warmly of his past experiences, but also acknowledges the perks of being able to set his own schedule now. Rather than assembling riffs and bits of songs at sound checks or during brief moments of downtime, he’s able to really focus on achieving his goals as a solo artist. “I’ve been getting a lot of work done, and it’s a lot more satisfying to work on something brand new instead of recording songs you wrote nine months ago.”
The HOMESHAKE Tape was definitely a bridge between the music I’d been writing while living in Edmonton and after moving to Montreal. It’s got a bit more of a cohesive sound.
Perhaps it’s this immediacy that contributes to the fluidity of In the Shower. “The Homeshake Tape was definitely a bridge between the music I’d been writing while living in Edmonton and after moving to Montreal. It’s got a bit more of a cohesive sound.”
Sagar is one of many creative Edmontonians — like DeMarco — whose work has been positively influenced by moving to cities like Montreal, where the music scene is arguably more progressive. He explains, “Being somewhere larger that a lot of artists move to, [Montreal] has a wider variety of ideas being explored. Living [there] has helped me to think outside my own box.”
The hectic touring cycle might have stopped for now, but Sagar does plan to take HOMESHAKE on the road. “We’ve got some real hot players in the group,” he says. For the moment, he’s enjoying the simplicities of home life that have eluded him over the past few years. “Every morning I wake up in my own bed and make myself some breakfast. This is the life baby, oh yeah.”
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