After years of relentlessly touring as part of Mac DeMarco's live band, Peter Sagar decided during 2014 that it was time to swap nightly Limp Bizkit covers for nights back home with his girlfriend in Montreal. Although his life has undoubtedly become less hectic, Sagar has still kept himself very busy, using his newfound free time to craft two brilliant albums under the Homeshake moniker.
Despite having a famous springboard, last year's debut album In The Shower only put Sagar's own name up in lights amongst a cult base of fans, winning him plenty of "underrated" tags in the process – a bittersweet accolade indeed. Following the Captured Tracks blueprint of good guitar music recorded on a budget, the album sounded like elevator music made for a lift you'd never want to leave – packing copious amounts of joyously woozy funk throughout its half-hour run time. But what about Homeshake's next half-hour?
Well, upcoming follow-up Midnight Snack is good enough to skyrocket his stock way beyond "Mac's underrated guitarist", and sees the six-string pretty much ditched completely in favour of keyboard and drum patterns. Lyrically, things have moved much closer to home; sometimes literally, in fact – with the likes of 'Under The Sheets' and 'Goodnight' featured amongst the song titles. The result of all this is almost an R&B slow jams album, with everything sounding so laid back, that you'd think Sagar had actually composed it whilst horizontal.
After a few weeks of lounging around in a happy daze to an advance copy of the new album, we caught up with Peter over GChat to talk R&B, recording processes and alternate career paths.
It's recorded and ready for release, but it's still a couple of months before Midnight Snack is actually released to the world. Are you feeling more pressure than with the previous record or are you pretty calm about the whole thing?
I don't feel any pressure I don't think; generally the only pressure I feel is from myself during the recording process, and since this record has been recorded for quite a while, I'm just really happy that it's finally coming out.
That’s great to hear – it's come pretty quickly though. Have a lot of the ideas existed since even before the last record, or was it just a really quick writing process since In The Shower’s release?
I think I had written a few of the tracks before In The Shower came out. I just spent a lot of time writing and recording. Homeshake hasn't been touring very much, so I guess I try and balance it out by writing and recording as much as I can so that I don't feel like a lazy waste.
Ha, that's fair enough. Are you planning to tour this album then, or do you want to just stay back home and keep on making music?
We're doing a few weeks in North America in August, but there's not a whole lot planned other than that actually.
That's a shame for anyone further afield but I suppose you've done your fair share of touring elsewhere (as a guitarist with Mac DeMarco's seemingly endless live tour). Do you have any regrets about giving that up?
It was a busy couple of years, featuring some really great times with some of my dearest friends, but I don't regret leaving – it ate up so much time that everything else in my life just sort of went on hold. I feel much more balanced now, but I do miss spending time with those guys.
Yeah, it seemed like you all had a lot of fun, but it was obviously incredibly demanding. You've landed on your feet anyway, getting Homeshake released through Captured Tracks' imprint "Sinderlyn" – what's the story behind that? I don't know too much about the offshoot's history, but it seems like one big, happy family.
I honestly don't know too much of the story, but Mike [Sniper, Captured Tracks founder] decided to create OMG (Omnian Music Group) which has a nice family of labels within it. They're fantastic, and it's a nice place to be.
Yeah, Mike seems like a great guy – you can’t fault that enthusiasm for releasing music. You spoke a lot in the interview for the last record about how you realised you loved R&B music in particular, and how it has influenced you. I think that's even more apparent on this release, with fewer guitars and more 'beat-driven' tracks – was this a conscious step you made with the sound?
I wanted to make something different from the last record and it seemed like a good enough reason to buy a synth and a drum machine. It feels refreshing to be able to work with different instruments now, as I'd been writing solely on guitar for so long.
I think it sounds like a great natural progression from the last record too, as despite its differences, it's still very much a Homeshake record. What kind of stuff were you listening to whilst making the album this time around, besides R&B of course?
I was actually getting into house music for the first time, as well as listening to a lot of 80's J-Pop.
Wow, that's a weird mix of influences working their way in there. What's next for Homeshake besides the US tour?
After we finish playing that run of shows, I think I'll start recording another album – I've actually got a pretty decent pile of new songs already.
I look forward to hearing it, and it certainly makes up for you not doing a UK run on this album’s tour. What do you think you'd be doing if you never got into playing music?
Haha, I don't think I've ever thought about that... I guess I'd probably be working some awful 9-to-5 job, trying to pay off student loans from my liberal arts degree... or something.
I'm pretty sure you did the right thing then. Thanks, man.
Words by Jordan Ball
Photography by Salina Ladha for ZERO Magazine