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I was supposed to interview the band Real Estate when they came in for the live mix at our WERS studio, but due to time conflicts the band couldn’t stay. For a couple reasons, I felt a little freaked out inside when I realized this; Real Estate is one of my favorite bands, and I had a commitment to the station that I didn’t want to skip out on. Luckily, before I even had time for this to register on my face, vocalist Martin Courtney asked if I was going to the show that night. After my stammered ‘Yes,’ he told me we could meet after it was over.
Their in-studio performance was incredible. The band, including Courtney, Alex Bleeker (Bass), Matt Mondanile (Guitar), Jackson Pollis (Drums), and Jonah Maurer (Keyboard) took up the entire studio, leaving the on-air host to ask, “Where am I supposed to go?” I sat in the boardroom next door, excitedly anticipating the first song. The group performed “Municipality”, “Wonder Years”, and “Out of Tune” to my delight, and it was everything that I could have hoped for.
I would best describe the sound of Real Estate as psychedelic pop. I’d call it haunting if it weren’t so happy feeling. It’s sweeping, with a good guitar beat throughout. The keyboard adds a layer of solid sound that makes their songs feel very multi-dimensional. It’s well-rounded music, good music, and when performed live it was even better.
I met Courtney and Mondanile in a small room on the upper floor of the Paradise Rock Club. Courtney, Mondanile, and Bleeker have known each other since high school, and over the years have been a part of a couple different bands together. In high school, they were The Hey There Sexy. After college, the three returned home and started messing around with music again. The result was Real Estate, a band that has been described as ‘sunshine-y’ and nostalgic, and whose music has been compared to music of nearly every generation since the 1960’s. I asked the group about this, and Courtney told me that that their sound’s influence seems to go as far back as The Beatles. Pop music, essentially, and the kind that always seems to leave you in a good mood.
Real Estate recently had the chance to perform at the Benefit Concert for the Nick Currey Fund for Ewing Sarcoma Research in their hometown in Ridgewood, New Jersey. They performed at the Kasschau Memorial Shell. When I asked them about it, their faces lit up.
“It’s the big performance center in the center of town, and we got to perform for a lot of family and people from high school.” Courtney told me.
Mondanile laughed, and told me that he learned how to ride his bike there.
I finished my interview by asking them if their move to Brooklyn changed their music at all. They shook their heads, and told me that they wouldn’t start singing about their move. They were excited, however, to get back and start working on making new music. Their tour ends this weekend.