You might recognize Alex Bleeker from his work as the bassist in classic indie outfit Real Estate. Bleeker’s latest solo effort, Heaven On The Faultline, will sound familiar to longtime Real Estate fans, soaked in reverb with a dreamy feel that makes it perfect for moments of relaxation. The album’s lyrics stay true to its sonic palette, taking pleasure in the simple joys in a world where existential anxieties loom large.
To celebrate the forthcoming effort, Bleeker sat down to talk about his time in Real Estate, love for Dionne Warwick, and Independence Day, in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Honest, Heady, Pretty Good!
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
Well, In 2050, assuming that I don’t die an untimely death, I will be 64 years old. That’s still below retirement age so hopefully I won’t need to be remembered at all! No matter where I find myself in my life, or what predicament humanity may or may not find itself in, I hope that I’ll be continuing to write, record, and release my music into the world by way of some unimaginable futuristic platform. Maybe we’ll still be pressing records on vinyl in 30 years too.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
From where I sit at this moment, deep into the COVID-19 pandemic, EVERY CITY is my favorite in the world to perform in. I miss live music so much and I hope that it will be a part of all of our lives again very soon. That said, I hold special places in my heart for Lisbon, Portugal and for Vancouver, Canada.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
It is impossible to name just one person. In general, my friends who make music inspire me the most. I can say that when I was making Heaven on The Faultline, I was thinking a lot about a band called Lives Of Angels and a band called Wet Tuna. I was also listening to Dr. Alimantado’s dub records a lot. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has the most disciplined and dedicated music making practice of anyone I’ve known personally, and her output is continuously inspiring to me.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Many years ago Real Estate played a small and intimate festival on the Southern tip of Italy. It was high summer, and we took a long, hot, difficult drive in a van without air conditioning to get to the small town that we were playing in. It was one of those really hard days on tour that just felt like a nightmare. When we finally got to our destination, we were treated to a wonderful home cooked meal. I don’t even remember what we ate exactly, but I remember that I could taste the love and care in every dish!
What album do you know every word to?
The Grateful Dead – American Beauty, Green Day – Dookie, among many others.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Again, it would be impossible for me to choose just one. Seeing the Congos perform in a basement in Manhattan was definitely a surreal live music highlight. I also remember Black Dice show at Market Hotel circa 2010 that positively blew my mind. 2 concerts that made an extraordinarily lasting impression on me both happened at Madison Square Garden. One was Phish’s first show back from their 1.0 hiatus, 12/31/2002, and another was my first concert ever, Billy Joel, not sure the year…
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
Whatever makes me feel like I’m comfortable and looking good, baby!
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
I hate social media and regret that I ever became addicted to Instagram, but here we are. I’m still on Instagram every day and I’m trying to break the habit … so lately I’ve been enjoying following Japanese illustrator Hiroshi Nagai.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
Dionne Warwick’s “You’re Gonna Need Me” has gotten a considerable amount of play time in our van over the years.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
I was looking up a bunch of hiking trails near my house.
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Why, my forthcoming record, Heaven on the Faultline, of course! Pre-order today!!
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
In 2008 I was playing a solo gig at a warehouse venue in Detroit called Scrummage University. We crashed there that night. After the show a big party continued to rage on. When I could party no longer, I told one of the people that lived there that I was ready to go to sleep. Without skipping a beat, he proceeded to inflate a full sized bouncy castle in the middle of the room (it was a giant warehouse), and told me I could sleep on it. Eventually I fell asleep there while others stayed up and partied around me, unphased.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
I don’t have any yet! DM me if you have an idea for a cool one.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
Aretha Franklin, every time. Also, I’m never going to turn off “One Of These Nights” by the Eagles. I’d be pretty surprised if I ever heard Throbbing Gristle on the radio so probably wouldn’t change the channel if that ever happened.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
Tough Question! Sappy Answer: In general, my wife, being such an incredible partner and companion. Also, my parents acted selflessly to give me a really strong upbringing.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Do your best to stay relaxed in as many situations as possible. It always helps.
What’s the last show you went to?
It must have been a little promo show that Martin (Real Estate) and I played in mid March 2020, right before the whole world changed.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
Independence Day, every time. The best.
What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?
Which Obama? The whole family? I’d probably make my most reliably impressive dish… miso black cod.
Heaven On The Faultline is out March 5. Pre-order here.