New Jersey's Real Estate _ the band, not the land _ are hot property, and about to become hotter as they head this way for this summer's St Jerome's Laneway Festival in Auckland. Kim Gillespie talks to guitarist Matt Mondanile about the upcoming gig.
It's 7pm on a Monday night in Brooklyn, New York, and Matt Mondanile's on the line to New Zealand, a country he's visited with his band Real Estate before.
He tells me he has a particular fondness for Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland's "pretty'' black sand beaches and that the band are really looking forward to returning to our shores for next month's Laneway Festival.
Real Estate hail from Ridgewood, New Jersey, a small town home to author Harlan Coben and also known for producing actors Robert Sean Leonard and Frankie Muniz.
Mondanile's bandmates include singer/guitarist Martin Courtney, bassist Alex Bleek, drummer Jackson Pollis and Jonah Maurer on keyboards and guitar.
Courtney and Mondanile's parents were in real estate _ hence the band name.
"We like it because it's real simple,'' Mondanile tells me. Fair enough.
I ask him to describe the band's sound for newcomers. He says Real Estate sound like a traditional indie rock
band _ with a real connection with the "angular indie bands'' of the past 20 to 30 years.
And at the far end of that spectrum lie a couple of familiar names. Turns out Mondanile's a big fan of Flying Nun legends like the Clean and the Chills. "And we're big fans of the Bats _ we got their new album last time we were out. We're big New Zealand-heads''.
Their main inspiration, however, is as simple as the music itself. "It's melodies ... we've always loved music.
Martin would say lyrics are important but they come after melodies.''
I suggest the band sounds like summer _ in a chill-out relaxed kind of way. "Yeah it's not hard to listen to,'' he says. "We keep an ear out for writing a pleasing song''.
And they've been doing a bit of writing. He says fans can also expect a few new songs at the concert. But a new album might be a little way off. Mondanile says he's not sure exactly when the follow-up to 2011's Days is due and he doesn't want to make any promises.
The new material is set to go off on stage though. His favourite tracks to play live, be side All The Same, the closing track from Days, are generally the new songs.
And we can expect a slightly heavier approach when we see them live at Laneway. "It's different from the record,'' says Mondanile. "We're fuller sounding live _ more of a rock band experience''.
- St Jerome's Laneway Festival featuring 24 acts, including Tame Impala (who Mondanile's hanging out to see) is on Monday, January 28 at Silo Park in Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.