Homeshake: Moody Blues

With Fresh Air, Homeshake does it once more, with feeling

The introspective mood of Homeshake’s Fresh Air brings to mind the mellow ballads of the Stylistics and Blue Magic. Peter Sagar’s slow, late-night grooves create an atmosphere that invites you to open your heart and slip into the quiet joys and anxieties of true love.

“This album is actually faster than the stuff on Midnight Snack, my last album,” says Sagar, the Toronto artist behind Homeshake. “The songs are based more on feelings than events and experiences, and slower tempos work better to convey the emotions I’m writing about. It’s more positive than the last record, but it’s still pretty sad.”

Sagar slowly built up the tracks during six months of writing and recording, adding layers of soothing, oceanic synthesizers and subtle, jazzy electric guitars to complement his mournful vocals.

“I came into the studio with the demos I made at home on a four-track cassette player, then fleshed them out at the Drones Club, a studio run by a group of artists I know,” he says. “I use drum machines, drum kit, guitar, bass and synthesizers and record to one-inch, 16-track, analog tape. I like the warmth you get and the ability you have to speed up and slow down the tape. I want to have full control of everything so the result is as close as I can get to what I hear in my head, but I embrace things that happen on the spot. Improvisations or mistakes can make the music more interesting.”

Although he once made a living playing in rock bands, Sagar says it’s the sound of R&B, vintage and modern, that resonates most: “My father loved that stuff, and I grew up listening to it. You can dance to it, but I was always drawn to the soothing, thoughtful rhythms and the urgent emotions.”

— j. poet