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Real Estate

Real Estate

Wednesday 7th March, 2012 11:39AM

Real Estate released their sophomore album, Days at the end of last year to critical acclaim and since then have announced a New Zealand tour to support the record. UTR caught up with Mathew Mondanile - also responsible for the output of Ducktails - to chat about how the band developed their sound, recording in a barn in the middle of nowhere and about the relative side-projects of every member.

Hey Matt, what are you up to?

I’m just hanging out my house doing interviews right now.

Are you looking forward to heading to New Zealand soon?

Yeah I’m super excited. I’ve been there once before and it’s an amazing place.

Has the touring been intense over the past year or so?

Yeah we’ve been touring a lot; on and off for the past four months but it’s been really fun.

The recording process sounds pretty intense: you locked yourselves away in a house in the middle of nowhere. Tell us a little bit about that.

Well, what happened was we had the songs written and we’d been playing them for a while live and we went to the studio and tracked them all last winter in pretty quick succession. It took three to four months to record on and off. We’d been going up to Newark and recording in this barn with this guy Kevin McMahon who recorded the early Walkmen albums. We always wanted to record a full record with him so it was awesome to get the opportunity.

Was there anything in particular you were trying to achieve on the album?

We were trying to make it sound as nice and pleasant and full as possible. But we’re also into guitar pop records so it was really important to us to get that specific guitar sound. We were really trying to re-create that on the album without it being too cheesy and I think we did it.

You mentioned you recorded in a barn, tell me a little bit about the location.

New Paltz is like a small hippy town outside of Newark where there’s a small college - it’s basically in the middle of nowhere. There was a field and nothing else around so it was cool. It was cool because it was just so isolated and easy to work and not pay attention to anything else.


Do you think the location affected the sound of the album at all?

We just would have been so distracted if we were doing it in New York; we wanted to get outside of it and do it somewhere else and make it this special experience and I think in that way it affected the outcome for sure.

How do you see the second album as a progression from the first one. Was there anything you were trying to do differently?

We were working with a producer when we recorded the songs but we didn’t want to change that much of the sound; we didn’t want to sound extremely hi-fi, but we wanted it to sound warm and nice and pleasant.

Is there any theme across the album - do you even write albums like that?

Not really, there’s no overall theme, but I think it’s a collection of songs that fit really well together because they were all written at the same time and they therefore sounds similar – the guitar parts particularly.

Going back to the beginning of Real Estate: how did you guys form and what drew you to the sound you explore?

Well Martin (Courtney) was recording a 7” and we kind of chimed in and recorded some guitar parts on it and did some stuff. I don’t know it just came together really naturally. It was like we wanted the guitars to have this quick delayed sound off them and we wanted to do it across all the songs, so we kind of just worked on getting this clean sound. We wanted this slapback sound; this reverby, pleasant world within our music.

Do you think that sound is reflective of anything from your history, or what you were into growing up? Where do you think the desire to create that type of music came from?

We were all into bands growing up and all of our friends were in bands and we always thought we could do well together and therefore we just did it. We were outsiders because our town was full of kids that were into marching bands or sports or whatever and we weren’t into that stuff at all, we were into playing music and hanging out with eachother listening to music. I think we always wanted to be musicians but we never thought it was a viable option for us.


And it must be pretty awesome to have come from that and now be touring internationally, and be signed to Domino Records for the second one. Tell us how that came about?

They were interested in us and we just started talking to them and meeting some of their people, and they just gave us a record deal and we liked it. Also they were interested in all of our various bands which was cool too, and so we signed our deal with them for a bunch of records for all the different projects that make up Real Estate. It was a really nice thing to have a label like that interested in you. I think that because they’re international they have a presence all over the world which is important for us.

You mention other projects that the members of Real Estate do and are in. Obviously you do Ducktails too. Tell me a little bit about that project and what you explore in that opposed to in the band?

Um, that’s more of a different thing. I started Ducktails before Real Estate and it came out of this more experimental music scence. I was living in Massachusetts and seeing a lot of noise shows and I was interested in kids releasing music on cassette and artists releasing music themselves and trading with each other. So it was a pop project to be presented in a noise kind of a context so I always think of it as this kind of ongoing, changing being that can be anything. It’s not really a band it’s more like a project that can take on different forms.

And after you guys come to New Zealand, what is the plan for the band for 2012?

We’re kind of just touring a lot and our singer is getting married in October so we’re going to take a big break then and then get back into it.

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