Real Estate may have worried some of its fan base over the past few years. The New Jersey indie rock group took a break as members made solo records, started families and moved around the country.
Those worries grew even more when guitarist and founding member Matthew Mondanile announced last year that he was leaving the band.
Bassist and co-founder Alex Bleeker understands why some thought Real Estate was over. But that was never the plan.
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"It was always like, 'We’re gonna make the next record and what’s the best way to accomplish making the next record,'" he says. "The things that happened in the interim happened in order to make the next record."
That next record is “In Mind." It marks a new direction for a band that’s been around for nearly a decade. Bleeker says a lot of that comes from new guitarist Julian Lynch.
He and his bandmates were big fans of Lynch’s experimental solo records before they invited him to join Real Estate.
"Julian’s melodic sensibility is really different," he says. "We never encouraged him to emulate what Matt had done. It was always like, 'Julian, you’re in the band to be Julian.' And that’s reflected in the record."
Lynch’s presence led the band to experiment in the studio. “In Mind” features new textures like drum machines. The guitars are more distorted. And they tacked on a long jam session to the song “Two Arrows.”
Bleeker says they also encouraged the band’s second-newest member -- keyboardist Matt Kallman -- to step up. He joined Real Estate just before the band recorded its previous album, “Atlas.”
Bleeker says Kallman’s keyboard parts didn’t get a chance to shine on that record.
"We really threw him in the band a couple weeks before like, 'Go! These songs are written. Play some keyboard,’" Bleeker says. "So he didn’t have time to gestate and sit with those keyboard parts. He was a part of the writing process this time around."
Bleeker says the band couldn’t have made “In Mind” without all the changes that happened over the past three years.
"Things like doing side projects, changing up members, all those things are for the function of the band itself," he says.
And the band itself is as strong as ever. Bleeker says breaking up the band has never been on the table. “In Mind” is proof of that commitment.
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