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.”
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and