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August 2020

Real Estate: "We really threw a lot of ideas in there"

Real Estate are back with a detailed and highly considered new album.
Published: 9:02 am, April 12, 2017
Real Estate: "We really threw a lot of ideas in there"
A lot has changed in camp Real Estate over the past few years - there's been a line up change, kids, a fair bit of moving about... Now they're back with new album 'In Mind', and as frontman Martin Courtney explains, despite the seperation ("we're tri-coastal") it's an album packed with ideas and detail.

Hey Martin, what are we interrupting?
I just moved into a new (110 year old) house this weekend, so I'm in the middle of a long process of painting rooms, unpacking boxes, arranging furniture, etc. Exciting for me, but most likely boring for you.

How are you guys at the moment? Is life treating you well?
I'm good, exhausted from the move, a bit overwhelmed, soaking up the last few weeks of pure family time before we start touring.  I'm super excited about the new album.  I've been listening to it a bit recently and I'm really happy with it.  Feeling confident and optimistic.

You’ve had another line up change since 2014’s ‘Atlas’ - is everything settled again after that initial upheaval? Was it a shock when Matt left?
Things in the band are feeling very settled and super tight.  The remaining four of us found working together without Matt to be different, but very productive.  We were lucky to have an old friend who happens to be extremely talented fill the void.

Your new album ‘In Mind’ has just come out - how would you describe its vibe?
That's something that is very hard to put into words.  This album feels loose to me.  We really threw a lot of ideas in there.  A little less concerned with song structure, more so with melody and texture.

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Do you approach creating a record differently now to when you first started out? How has that process evolved?
When this band first started, we all lived close to each other, so we were able to function as you'd imagine a normal band would.  We'd get together once a week or more, work on new songs, practice old ones, hang out, etc, until eventually we had enough songs to make a record.  Now, we all live far from each other.  Three of us are in the NYC area (though I live an hour and a half north of the city), one of us lives in Wisconsin, and one in Northern California. We are tri-coastal.
I spent a few months writing these song and recording demos at my house, then the rest of the dudes came to my town and rented a house down the street from me.  We worked on the songs together for three weeks, then a few months later, we flew to LA and recorded.
It was nice getting that concentrated amount of time to work together and just focus on the album every day.

Can you tell us about some of the themes the record touches on?
I was just thinking today about how crazy it is that when our last album came out (three years ago), I wasn't a dad, and now I have two kids.  The responsibility of fatherhood/family life, and how seemingly incompatible that sometimes seems with being a professional musician seems to me like a big theme on this one.  The unending march of time is another.  The linear nature of time, how everything in your life so far has led you to this point, and the only thing to do is to keep looking ahead and try to navigate.

Did you learn anything new about yourself during the writing or recording process?
All the time.  That's why I find writing songs and making music to be so fulfilling.

What would you most like listeners to ‘get’ or understand about ‘In Mind’?
I just hope people live with it and give it time to open up.  Listen to it multiple times in multiple settings.  I think hopefully there's a lot to immediately enjoy about the music, but we put a lot of thought and energy into little details on these songs.

Album aside, do you have a busy year ahead of you? How’s summer looking?
Our tour schedule is shaping up to be pretty rigorous, so I'm really just hoping to have as much time with my family as I can.  Between touring, there's a never ending checklist of things to take care of with the new house.  That's enough for the next few years.

Real Estate’s album ‘In Mind’ is out now.

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