Thereís not that big of an indie music scene in New Jersey. How did that affect Real Estate?
Weíre from a suburb of New York City. We all grew up together in the same town. If anything, our proximity to New York was helpful in our development. We went to shows all the time in high school. Compared to New York or LA, thereís not really a big scene of indie bands. New Jersey is just like any other state. For us it feels like there were so many though because we grew up in a town where a lot of our friends were making music. A lot of them are doing alright for themselves now. When we first started, we were inspired by our good friends who were in Titus Andronicus. They were doing pretty well when we first started. They were doing really well and we thought maybe we could do it too. Same thing with Vivian Girls. We went to high school with them. They were also doing pretty well when we first started so we were inspired by them also. In a way, we may have inspired some of our friends in bands. Weíve all fed off each other and helped each other out. While there might not be a big indie scene in New Jersey, we made our own.
How did it feel to be a part of that?
It felt really cool. When we first started, all we wanted was to get some attention. Underwater Peoples put out our first record. One of the guys who runs the label is a friend from high school. He was also part of the whole scene. They put out our first 7Ē. We both got some attention from that. Itís been really cool seeing them put out more and more music by a lot of our friends. Weíre all helping each other get attention. Itís really interesting and itís really exciting watching all of our friends do well.
How do you feel about the positive reception towards your debut?
I was surprised by it. We made that album at home with our friends helping us record it. We recorded in six months. We didnít think anyone was going to hear it. We talked to the people at Woodsist Records and they said they would put it out and that was really exciting for us. We really wanted to be on that label. We were just excited to have it be released. Once it started getting attention it was a bonus. Just the fact that it came out was really exciting for us. Itís really cool. Everything that came out of that was really exciting.
Did that put a lot of pressure on you?
I feel a lot of pressure to be honest. Weíre on a bigger label now. When we made the first record, we didnít think anyone was going to hear it and now I know everyone who heard the first record will probably hear this record. Thatís a good amount of people. There will hopefully be more people listening to this one. Hopefully we can reach a wider audience now that weíre getting more exposure.
You want it to be good and you want it to meet peopleís expectations. For the most part, I think I did a pretty good job of pushing that into the back of my head and not thinking about it too much. It wouldíve ruined everything. If all I was doing was thinking about what other people were going to think of it, the record would suck. I wouldnít be going with my gut. I definitely went through a phase of allowing myself to get a little bit freaked out. For a few days when I was doing the vocals and recording the lyrics I had all of these new words I had written. Some of them I had never sung live. A lot of the songs were really new. It was kind of scary. Alex had to give me a pep talk. Itís really helpful to hear people say that to you.
Have you played any of the new songs yet?
We did a tour last July and we played a lot of the new stuff. Itís cool. We can play all of the new stuff. I feel more comfortable with it now. Honestly, I wish he had played some of it before we had recorded it. Not that Iím not happy with the record, but some of the vocal melodies might have been different. Iím singing things differently now than I did on the record. The more time you have to work things out live the better. You donít always get that opportunity though. Sometimes you just want to get it recorded instead of spending a month touring and getting the songs worked out. You donít always get that luxury.
How has reaction been to the songs?
Itís been good. The album isnít out yet so I donít know what everyone thinks of it. Weíll play a show and then talk to some people afterwards and they like the songs so that feels good. You canít always trust what people tell you after a show, theyíll always be nice. No oneís going to come up to you and tell you the songs you played sucked. I feel good about them though. I think the record sounds good. I feel really confident about it.
You just recently signed with Domino Records. How did that come about?
We were really lucky with the first record. People really liked it. It got us a lot of attention. This time last year, I never would have thought that Domino Records would have been a possibility for us. We started talking to them last fall. We have a friend who works for them and he mentioned us to them. Thatís the easy answer. Weíre still shocked that they listened. It was a process of negotiating and all that stuff. Iím just really surprised and happy that weíre on the label.
What development did you see in the songs on Days?
The first thing that I think people will notice is the recording quality. Itís much better. Weíve never recorded in a studio before. I was really excited about having the opportunity to make everything sound good. Personally, I think the songs are better. Theyíre a little more complex in terms of the arrangements and the lyrics. Every song I write is hopefully growing from the last. I think theyíre just more complex. I feel good about it.
Itís not a huge departure in style. Itís still a Real Estate album. Itís a guitar-based indie rock album. I just think it sounds better.
The album is being released on cassette. Where did that idea come from?
We wanted to do our first album on cassette but it just never happened. I think itís a cool medium. Itís sort of dying, or maybe itís been dead for a while. I think a lot of people still listen to cassettes in their car. Theyíre not releasing a ton of them, I think itís a limited thing. Itís mostly just for the people who are interested. There are a lot of people who collect cassettes just like there are a lot of people who collect vinyl. If thereís someone interested in owning the record on cassette itís there for them. For me, itís really cool that we get to have a professional cassette made of our album. Itís there for whoever wants it. We thought it was a cool idea.