Homeshake is one of the most earnest and good-hearted artists we know. He’s to the point, humble, and really delves into the artistry and emotional intensity of his music, opting to often perform with his eyes closed and really delve into his performances. We sat down with the solo singer recently when he played The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and snapped some Polaroids.
ERIN CLIFFORD: Peter, how are you?
PETER SAGER: I am well thanks.
CLIFFORD: So how would you emotionally explain Homeshake to someone?
SAGER: I don’t know. Relaxing. Is the word I’ve been going with.I’ll stick with it. That’s what I told the border guard when we came into the states.
CLIFFORD: What’d the border guard ask you?
SAGER: Oh a lot of things. They were not nice to me. They asked what kind of music it was. And I said like relaxing pop music. And they’re like, “That’s very vague.” They were horrible.
CLIFFORD: Tough security at the US now. I think it’s really interesting because I know you came out with an activism song. I wanted to know if you were looking to do more work like that. Like the charity track with Alex Calder.
SAGER: The charity track, it’s not really an activism song. It’s just a song about drinking tea with my partner. Yeah, I would do that. I had that one lying around so it was really convenient for us to be able to do that.
CLIFFORD: Do you think that musicians have kind of a role to make their music, maybe not the music itself, but for example with Kanye right now. There is a lot of politics around music. Do you think that is something that has to happen?
SAGER: I mean if someone doesn’t want to, that’s fine. But, I think it’s good to be open and clear with how you feel about things. Yeah, I think it’s good to do that. Because you have a platform, it seems a little irresponsible not to say anything. Like I don’t do it all the time, I am a little shy about it. I’m not like a poli sci major or something you know. But, yeah the world is bad. Racists are the worst. So you should say that sometimes.
CLIFFORD: Yeah you should. I think there is some response that musicians have to do because they have this platform with so many different varieties of listeners. That’s the one thing that I think is so beneficial about concerts is that there are so many different people that go. And have that platform and be able to speak to so many people is important.
SAGER: Yeah, I don’t really do it at concerts.
CLIFFORD: I’ve been to a few of your concerts and I think that you do a really good job of making people feel very connected to each other.
SAGER: Oh really?
CLIFFORD: That’s something that I’ve always seen. I went to the show at the Observatory and just like the room was just like entranced by you. And felt very connected.
SAGER: That’s nice. That’s cool to hear because like I don’t really talk a lot or move. And my eyes are closed the whole time. So I don’t really know what anybody feels. I kind of have to pretend there’s no one there while I’m playing because otherwise, I get a little freaked out.
CLIFFORD: Did you do a lot of house shows before you did big concerts?
SAGER: Yeah, we played a lot of house shows in my time. With older bands when I was a kid. I did a lot of shitty bar shows. And now I generally play regular venues which is nice.
CLIFFORD: Do you like the communal feel like it’s in your own space like with a house show?
SAGER: I don’t like venues like that. I don’t really like live music, to be completely honest with you. Like I don’t go to concerts. Like other than the ones I play and maybe when we played FYF I went and watched a bunch of stuff there because they had a crazy line up.
CLIFFORD: Right they did.
SAGER: Yeah, like I’ve been to maybe one concert this year other than the ones I’ve been paid to perform at. Just one.
CLIFFORD: Which concert?
SAGER: I went and saw Yagi.
CLIFFORD: That’s cool.
SAGER: Yeah, it was excellent.
CLIFFORD: So I heard in an interview that you’re a big Kendrick Lamar fan.
SAGER: Yeah, I like him.
CLIFFORD: Similar to the U2 Kendrick Lamar collaboration, what’s a weird collaboration that you would do? That people would kind of find as unexpected.
SAGER: I don’t think I can think of something as unexpected as U2 playing with Kendrick Lamar.
CLIFFORD: Well I love that you said you liked Mariah Carey and I would be interested in seeing that collaboration.
SAGER: Right. I think someone asked me that once in an interview once. And I said I wanted her to do production and me to sing. And they switched it, they thought I misspoke. And I was really sad because I think it would be super funny if we switched roles.
CLIFFORD: I would have loved that.
SAGER: Plus she could teach me how to sing because I don’t know how to sing properly.
CLIFFORD: I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with that.
SAGER: Aw, well that’s cute. I love Mariah Carey, she is God.
CLIFFORD: She is God. I can just see her shining. Like when I am praying, I picture Mariah Carey. I mean who doesn’t?
SAGER: I don’t know. Just the lost souls wandering the Earth.
CLIFFORD: Right — the ones who haven’t found god.
SAGER: They haven’t found Mariah.
CLIFFORD: They haven’t found Mariah. The Messiah Mariah. Is there a song of yours that’s out right now that you think best explains where you are in life?
SAGER: No. They’re all old now. Like Fresh Air came out over a year ago so none of it is accurate now. Although, it doesn’t really change that much, but I grow out of songs really fast. That’s why I cut playing old songs really quickly. It bums people out, but I don’t really care.
CLIFFORD: No well I mean you have your own authority as an artist to do whatever you want.
SAGER: I was not the boss for a long time and now I am and I am pretty happy.
CLIFFORD: You talked about how touring can be really tiring and I can’t even image it. I am an introvert 100% so I can’t even imagine that role of having to continually be on.
SAGER: Yeah, it’s not like you’re doing anything all day. You’re just sitting around waiting for things to happen, but somehow it’s just exhausting. And then you get home and you still feel like crap for another week. It’s difficult for me to deal with.
CLIFFORD: That’s fair. What did you want the world to know about you when you came out with In The Shower.
SAGER: I don’t know. I really didn’t want people to keep calling me Mac’s guitar player or the current one, whichever it was. I got over it, I think healthfully quickly. But, that was probably the first thing that was bumming me out. I don’t know. I didn’t really know. I didn’t really have a super solid idea of what I was doing when I made that record.
CLIFFORD: What do you think is going to be the next step for you after Fresh Air?
SAGER: I don’t know. I am still working on the new things, whatever it turns out to be. I don’t artistically think too much ahead. I never really have a specific thing in mind. I will finish a thing and be like, “Woah it’s like this.” Or it’s all about this or something.
CLIFFORD: Are you surprised by like when you come out with an album which songs stick with people the most? Like when it comes to top songs on Spotify, are you surprised by that reception?
SAGER: I don’t know. No. Well sometimes. Sometimes you know you do a song for like 5 minutes or something and it’s really great. Or you spend like months laboring over one track — which is a really bad habit, don’t do it– and then no one really cares. But, I don’t know. I’m not too concerned. Some seem to have a pretty even spread of people who like it. It’s all good.
CLIFFORD: I think that’s true. I just remember at least at the few shows I’ve been at everyone gets into it for every single song. Which I think is so cool.
SAGER: Yeah, I think there are a few lulls. We’ve been trying to figure out a setlist with songs that were willing to play that like flows well. It’s been taking a really long time to nail it down
CLIFFORD: I was in the photo pit for the Observatory and everyone in the photo pit just had to dance.
SAGER: Aw. That’s really nice.
CLIFFORD: And almost couldn’t take pictures. That was my experience.
SAGER: Yeah, see I don’t see that because I have my eyes shut.
CLIFFORD: Are you going to open your eyes tonight?
SAGER: No. Never. Well, maybe when I’m speaking, but not like during. Sometimes I open them to look at my guitar to remember what I’m playing.
Photos and words by Erin Cliffton