Real Estate Officially No Longer Writing Songs About the Beach 

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Referring to the sound of local band Real Estate as "summery" is beating a dead horse, but in anticipation of what we predict will be one of the most serene, stylish releases of 2011—call it a coping mechanism for the frigid winter months—we talked with frontman Martin Courtney about their forthcoming album and recording in a barn during the coldest time of the year. You heard it here first: no songs about the beach this time.

The L: So there have been a few tidbits on Twitter that you guys are starting to record a new album. How's it going so far?

Martin Courtney: Well, basically, we've recorded a song. We went into the studio and recorded a song there to see if we would want to use that studio. I think we're going to end up doing it there. It's called Marcata, in New Paltz.

The L: Oh, with [engineer] Kevin McMahon. He did Titus' records, yeah? And The Walkmen's early stuff. Why the change of scenery?

MC: Right, he did the Titus record. Our last record was done at home. We did most of it at our friend's house. He had a 16-track tape machine, so we recorded the whole thing with him, then we ended up using some other versions of the songs, like we used some 4-track stuff and 8-track stuff, and the first song was recorded by our friend Jarvis [Taveniere, of Woods] at Rear House. But we just kind of wanted to see what it was like in a studio. Last Wednesday when we went up, that was our first time ever recording in a studio.

The L: Was it a comfortable experience or sort of nerve-wracking for you guys?

MC: It was totally comfortable. We know Kevin—back in high school, I was in a band with Patrick from Titus Andronicus and Andrew Cedermark, who used to be in Titus, and our friend Dave—we didn't actually all go to the same high school, but we all kind of grew up together. So we were in a band and were like, "Let's make an album!" and were looking up studios in the city. I heard about this place called Marcata because we were all big fans of The Walkmen and were like, "Oh, it'd be so cool to record at The Walkmen's studio up in Harlem." We figured if we pooled all our money together, we could probably pull it off. We did it, and that's when we met Kevin. When The Walkmen had to vacate because the building got re-bought or whatever, Kevin moved it all up to New Paltz, and we just stayed in touch. And then, you know, [Titus] recorded their album up there, and I always thought their stuff sounded really, really good. It's totally different from ours, but I like the vibe of the studio, and I think Kevin does a really good job.

The L: My roommates' band recorded their album up there too. They have sort of a love-hate relationship with Kevin—they call him a "father figure"—in that he can be sort of strict, like, "Get your act together, kids."

MC: Yeah, yeah, definitely. We all have ideas about things, and if you don't necessarily agree with him, he'll still be like, "Well, we're going to just try it this way..." And, you know, most of the time, he ends up being right.

The L: I know Titus lived there for a month while they recorded almost the whole album in one big chunk. Are you guys looking to do something that intensive?

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