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HOMESHAKE’s Peter Sagar Lets Us Into His Childhood CD Wallet

The indie songwriter serves up a nostalgic soundtrack, revisiting forgotten feelings conjured by his hometown of Edmonton. 

by Sarah Morrison

Photo by Matthew Yoscary

When Peter Sagar was growing up in Edmonton, AB in the late ’90s, it was still called the City of Champions. Sure, the Oilers hadn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1990, but the industrial blue-collared city was hanging on to the title. Needless to say, there wasn’t much to celebrate. Yet, amid the backdrop of economic struggles and athletic shortcomings, Edmontonians found solace in their collective resilience. 

From the heart of downtown where skyscrapers pierce the skyline to across the valley along the bustling Whyte Avenue, this resilience is palpable as you navigate the city’s streets. And wandering — both literally and figuratively — is exactly what Sagar recently found himself doing while capturing feelings of bittersweet nostalgia on HOMESHAKE’s latest album, CD WALLET (out March 8 via Dine Alone Records). Here, echoes of the past linger at every corner, weaving a tapestry of shared experiences and dreams from his youth. 

Reflecting on the musical influences of his teenage years, Sagar, the creative force behind HOMESHAKE, drifts back to the contents of his own CD wallet; a treasure trove of sounds that shaped his musical journey.

Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt was the first CD I bought. The Godzilla soundtrack from 2000 and two Incubus CDs; Science and Make Yourself — those were my favourite ones,” he says proudly while on the phone with RANGE. 

As Sagar revisited leftover riffs and melodies from his last record, Pareidolia Catalog, a new musical vision began to emerge. “I had just been making up little indie rock riffs,” he recalls, reflecting on the accumulation of ideas. “They were starting to pile up, and I had finished another project; it seemed like it was just an inevitability.” 

These musings became the foundation upon which CD WALLET was built, a nostalgic journey back to his Edmontonian roots. In crafting the album, Sagar embraced a heavy, straightforward indie rock style, a departure from his previous work. As he navigated the intricate process of composing melodies, Sagar found himself immersed in a realm where inspiration flowed freely.

“As I’m making the instrumental, the melody becomes obvious, I guess, in my head,” he explains. “And then it’s just a matter of whether it’s a melody I can actually sing, which it usually isn’t. And then I have to fix it.”

Among these reflections, Sagar explains how the album was “made in a heavy, straightforward indie rock style to impress my childhood self” and addresses feelings of nostalgia and the trappings one finds themselves in when reflecting on years past. Despite the bittersweet memories that linger, Sagar found inspiration in the mundanity of daily life while crafting the new record. “There’s only a couple of things that are an actual specific event. Most of it is just remembering when I was a kid and would get drunk behind a dumpster. It’s not too deep,” he admits.


“Most of the album was written about difficult things from when I was a kid or even just more present day things that are still tied to there.”

— Peter Sagar (HOMESHAKE)

Returning to Edmonton for the filming of the music video that would accompany the “CD WALLET” single after nearly a decade away, Sagar found himself confronted with the evolution of his hometown. It’s a city that holds a multitude of memories for him—some joyful, others melancholic. “It is a strange place,” he reflects. “There’s not a lot of things to do. Most of the album was written about difficult things from when I was a kid or even just more present day things that are still tied to there.”

During his formative teenage years, Sagar found refuge and purpose in Edmonton’s local music scene. “When I was a teenager, there was actually a really small but thriving local scene there,” he fondly recalls. “I think it was pretty important for growing up, thinking that I could pull this whole thing off.” Yet, as time passed and friends moved away, the scene — as he once knew it — faded. “No one ever looked back.”

Observing the changes that have reshaped his hometown, Sagar found himself reflecting.  “Everything seems different, yet oddly familiar,” he says. As he reminisced on the shifting cityscape, grappling with the melancholy of gentrification that swept away the old, he reflected on the absence of familiarity: “None of the stores that I used to have jobs at exist anymore.”

Visiting his childhood neighborhood, Sagar confronted the ghosts of his past. The streets he once roamed as a carefree youth now bear the weight of his memories. “We shot a little bit outside of the old Coliseum. We lived on that side of town, which is a pretty dark and sad place,” he says. “There’s one shot that you can see me driving past my childhood house, and I hadn’t been there since we moved away. I still remember the address.” 

Having left Edmonton in his early twenties with his partner, and his parents relocating back to Vancouver, visiting Edmonton became less of a desire and more of a faded memory. And while there currently aren’t any stops at his old stomping grounds on his current tour itinerary, much like the trajectory of the infamous Edmonton Oilers, things change.