One of my (and many others') favourite albums of 2011 came courtesy of the little band that could, New Jersey's Real Estate
was a study in maturity and a leap of confidence for a group who’d attained far too little attention for their self-titled debut that blessed our ears only last year on the ultra-important Woodsist imprint. The band – Martin Courtney (guitar and vocals), Matt Mondanile (guitar) and Alex Bleeker (bass) – specialize in a deceptively simple yet hypnotic brand of pop music, instantly sugary for your decaying sweet teeth, filled with memorable melodies and propelled by interloping patterns of rhythm and harmonies.
Mondanile answered a few of our questions.
Hour: Why do you think this album has reached so many more people than the debut?
Matt Mondanile: I don’t know. We’ve toured a lot the last couple of years and slowly I feel we’ve made a name for ourselves. I like our music a lot on both of our albums and I feel we’ve progressed from a more subdued, lower-fi band, and now our new record is a lot nicer and pleasant sounding. It’s cool that people are liking it.
Hour: Do you think the band’s association with Domino Records has something to do with the greater acclaim? How did that relationship come about?
Mondanile: It definitely has something to do with that. I think Domino is a really great record label. Where the first release came out only in the States, you’d have to get it imported… This allows more people internationally to buy it for a fairer price. Basically what happened was this kid Jack, who ran this label Transparent in the U.K., started working as A&R for Domino, and they asked him who would be the first band he would want signed to the label, and he said Real Estate. And that’s kind of what happened.
Hour: How far back does the relationship between the band members go? Does your long history account for the apparently seamless playing relationship one senses from the band?
Mondanile: We grew up together in the same town. We went to high school together. Martin and I grew up three or four houses from each other in suburban New Jersey. I’ve always liked Martin’s songs and it’s comfortable working together. A lot of the times the way we record, we play the songs live a bunch before recording them. The fact that we play them live so much, I feel like the songs grow with us.
w/ The Babies
At La Sala Rossa