As an LA native, one of our favorite ways to enjoy music is cruising with the homies, and despite the cliché imagery, that shit never gets old. Ever since my trusted friend on the aux first played Homeshake’s “Give it to Me” (off their second album Midnight Snack), I’ve been hooked. The band’s soft, yet groovy guitar chords capture your intrigue, and when you let those melodies simmer and set in, you won’t want to shake the good feelings that are evoked.
Fast forward to Day 2 of FYF 2017. Homeshake released their third album Fresh Air, and is rounding off their west coast tour. I had the chance to sit down with Peter Sagar, frontman of Homeshake, before their afternoon set. A casual conversation follows, including: thoughts on the Canadian music scene, creative process, sadness as inspiration, changes about Fresh Air, and today’s exciting music climate—plus some fun fill-in-the blanks at the end. (**idk if this is necessary, you can take out: Unfortunately, my phone with pictures and videos from the performance was stolen).
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Magnetic Mag: So, you’re about to go on soon. How are you feeling right now?
Peter Sagar: I feel fine. I’m always pretty calm. Festivals are a little more stressful…I’m not a huge fan of festivals.
MM: Yea, I read that your dream festival would be no festivals. Is that because festivals are a little too corporate? Too chaotic/too much?
PS: Yea, those are both reasons. I don’t think festivals are super conducive to the way any music sounds. I don’t think music sounds the best in a giant setting.
MM: And no one’s fully appreciating each…you can’t book a 100 artists and…
PS: Yea, there’s not enough time for each artist. None of them do their whole set, unless you’re like a headliner. So, it’s a little tougher on smaller acts, but I got nothing to complain about. They’re very nice here. I’m in a trailer with AC.
MM: How do you see the music scene in Montreal differently from LA, or US versus Canada?
PS: I think a big factor in the Canadian music scene is once you create a bit of traction, you have access to grant funding. We finally got to a place where when we go on tour, we can get a grant to cover costs. So, we’re enabled to do our thing a little easier. Although, most of the money does go to giant Canadian acts like Arcade Fire, who don’t need it at all, but that’s just fucking capitalism I guess.
MM: Do you notice any music trends in Canada right now?
PS: There’s a lot of dance music in Montreal particularly, like minimalist house is very big, maybe it is all over Canada and everywhere. I don’t really pay attention too much…
MM: Can you talk a little bit about your third album, Fresh Air? What it’s about and the progression from your last two albums?
PS: It’s a little more precise and cleaned up. I got a better idea of what I was going after. I write and play all the instruments and then master it with a guy namedJosh Bonati.
MM: If you could collaborate with three artists dead or alive for one dream song, who would they be?
PS: Quincy Jones, Prince, Mariah Carey—let’s do that. Although, I doubt Prince and Mariah Carey would get along…that’s a lot of fucking ego in one room…I don’t think I’d get a word in haha.
MM: When I’ve read some of your past interviews, it seems like some are trying to get some formulaic, textbook-type answer to how you make music, when you explain it as pretty simple and free-flowing. I think that could be weird thing to try to pinpoint on an artist…you can’t always quantify something creative and free, you know?
PS: Everyone is significantly different in the way they record and write. For Fresh Air, a couple months, I just recorded a track every night, and in the morning, I’d listen to it, and it’d be good or bad. I kept as many as I could, and then just kept all the best ones. Really, it’s just working at it…friends of mine, young artists, they get stuck on their first idea and just keep trying to make that one good, but I think you really need to go through a lot of ideas. So, dwelling on something you’ve been trying to make for a while might be a bad idea…
MM: Ok so, it seems like you’re really in love with your long-time girlfriend Salina…
PS: I sure am.
MM: …but you also say sadness or depression is a main inspiration for your music. Do you kind of see love and sadness on a same plane? Or to you, love sounds sad?
PS: Yea, I mean it is sad, at least half the time. I kind of shed that idea about writing only about sad stuff. I got bored of it. The new album isn’t so sad, probably sounds like it to other people, but it’s supposed to just be more changed, whether it’s happy or sad.
MM: So, your music, which is a therapeautic outlet for you, is pretty calm and relaxed…I’m sure you’ve noticed that often times, youth and millennials are just like raging with angst… Would you ever make anything on that end of the spectrum? I guess what I’m getting at, or curious about, is do you ever need an outlet that feels more rebellious or aggressive?
PS: Noo, I did that when I was a teenager, or 10 years ago maybe…
MM: Were you in a noise or punk band?
PS: I was in a couple noise bands actually.
MM: But then you grew out of it?
PS: Eh, I just changed…I just don’t feel like it anymore. Who knows? Never say never. But I don’t feel like that’s where I’m going to go. If anything I’ll get softer and calmer…
MM: What is something you find exciting, and something you find aggravating, about today's music climate?
PS: I think its very exciting, very experimental. Generally, most of the stuff I like right now is electronic based. I’m a little frustrated by how fast everything moves, like it’s hot and then not hot in almost an instant…
MM: Yea, people are like, “You still haven’t listened to this? It’s so old”…and it came out one month ago...
PS: Yea, it’s moving a little fast…that can be difficult, but also good. I embrace the new. I embrace change.
MM: What are some new records or projects you’re digging?
PS: (Scrolling through his Recently Added on his phone) There are so many good rap albums coming out recently. Actually, the new Tyler, the Creator album is fantastic… DJ Orange Julius is this footwork producer I really like…the new Laurel Halo…the new Ryuichi Sakamoto…He’s my favorite composer, he did the score to The Revenant, but he was in this J-pop band in the 80s. He’s one of the most important figures in my musical education…and Partynextdoor, let’s end with that.
MM: What is one of the most memorable moments on the road?
PS: I don’t remember any of it...There’s so many, it all sort of bleeds into one giant cloud. The only things you really remember are bad performances.
MM: When you left Mac Demarco’s band, touring was just a lot, and you wanted to focus on other things…
PS: Yea, it was too much. I didn’t have time to just live a nice life at home with Salina, let alone do my own music.
MM: People tend to look at tour life as so glamorous, but they don’t realize the side that’s also very stressful and lonely….
PS: It’s just sitting in a van and using public restrooms…
MM: What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
PS: We got the east coast, a couple shows there, and planning a South America trip in November…and I’m just going to try to write and record.
Fill in the Blank
- One rule to live by: Think before you speak.
- If I were immortal for as day, I would: Jump off something really high into some really deep water.
- The highest I ever got was when: I ate a weed caramel at a festival in Toronto. I started freaking out so I called Salina to calm me down, and she did a really good job. Then, I met up with my friend who also ate one, and we walked through Toronto to a secret festival, some secret after party thing. Everything was neon, like a weird party zone, looked like that one scene…can’t remember if it was Batman Forever or Batman and Robin, where everybody’s got neon paint on them...
- Three records in a time capsule: Prince – Around the World in a Day, Ryuichi Sakamoto – Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia …and I don’t know, probably Michael Jackson or something.
- Something overrated: Capitalism
- Something underrated: Communism
- Say this was MTV Cribs or Room Raiders, some things you would find in my room are: Plants and Tums.
- Favorite meme: There’s some good memes about how Kyrie Irving has to be traded for the Cavaliers.
Written by Isabel Kim.