In the last five years we’ve witnessed the Canadian music scene bloom with new artists that show how diverse the country is with budding acts. From Daniel Romano to Mac DeMarco, Canada is rife with musical talent that shows there’s more from North America that’s not located within fifty states. A couple of years ago we were introduced to the relaxed sounds of Montreal’s Homeshake and we were immediately drawn to his chill sounds and carefully crafted songs. Now behind his new album Helium and now the Helium Remixes due in a little over a week, we chatted with Peter Sagar about how he got his start, how he writes his songs and what we can expect for his current run of tour dates.
Homeshake began seven years ago while Sagar was playing in Mac DeMarco’s touring band. While most musicians with a steady gig aren’t looking to change things, Sagar says the plan was always to do music on his own. “Homeshake comes from me wanting another name than my actual one for the music I was making. The goal was always for it to become a fully fledged project, I moved to Montreal less than a year before I started playing with Mac. And that really just happened because we lived on the same block and he needed a guitarist” says the songwriter.
With his music and the throng of other artists that call Canada home, we were curious how Sagar sees himself. Does he consider himself a Canadian artist and what’s the biggest difference between the US and Canada as he sees it. “Canada’s very small relative to the states, so we all know each other. I don’t really tour up here much. It’s quite isolating so that heads towards the sounds you get when you’re making music,” remarks Sagar.
On his debut release In The Shower, and the subsequent albums that followed, Homeshake had a lo-fi indie pop kind of feel. In many ways, his records and others like DeMarco’s are the beginning of modern chillwave, making one wonder how he got those sounds in the first place, or at least what he was listening to that inspired them. “I dunno, I don’t really remember. I like that type of music. Writing music is meditative for me, but in the past ten years I haven’t made anything out of that vibe either,” the singer replies.
With Helium, Homeshake goes more experimental with more electronica and more use of technology. The album sounds far and away in terms of style, different from his past records while still maintaining his core sound. It’s something that few artists achieve, even those with tons of budgetary money and teams of producers. “The previous three records had been done at a studio/shared rehearsal space. I recorded them to tape, where with this one I used a laptop and I recorded at home. This time I had more options as far as sounds to pull from,” replies the songwriter.
With plenty of music under his belt, Homeshake has a lot of catalog to choose from for his live shows. With fans interacting to the energy he brings, as well as singing along to every word, we were wondering what he has planned for his current run of dates, and if it would be primarily new music or a mixture of his catalog. Says Sagar on his live shows, “I like to mix it up. Generally we lose the old ones for the newer ones. This current run is a spread out set from the last four records. We used to do a forty minute set, but now that we do an hour I can squeeze more material in.”
Helium is available to purchase physically directly from Sinderlyn Records, and Helium Remixes can be pre-ordered from Sinderlyn as well ahead of its August 16 release date. The entire Homeshake catalog can be streamed on all platforms and ordered through Bandcamp as well. Homeshake is on tour tonight in El Paso, TX at The Lowbrow Palace, tomorrow in San Antonio, TX at Paper Tiger, Friday in Austin, TX at Mohawk, Saturday in Houston at Satellite Bar and Sunday in Dallas at Granada Theater. His tour runs until August 23 in San Diego, CA at The Observatory North Park. His complete tour schedule can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Caleb Crump.