Ducktails’ Matt Mondanile Reveals His Top Five Flora

Photo: Shawn Brackbill

Things were different this time around for Matt Mondanile, the Real Estate guitarist whose fourth solo album as Ducktails is coming out Jan. 29. Recording The Flower Lane, his Domino Records debut, Mondanile took a break from his usual, homespun recording process and decided instead to log time in a studio. “It was interesting because you go slower in a studio,” he says of the experience. “When I’m at home recording, I’ll do drums, bass and guitar and be finished in half an hour. In the studio it’s more like you spend a day setting up the mics on the drums. It’s a different way of working.” The result is a rich, warm and layered album of electronics and guitars that makes a fine case for Mondanile’s more regimented recording process. Still, we couldn’t help wonder about the album title. “It’s abstract idea of the lane in the middle of a highway that’s sometimes just filled with flowers,” he says. Still, Mondanile has his own favorite flora that are indeed, very real. Here ,he reviews them for us:

1. Magnolia Trees

“It’s so pretty when it first blooms in the spring, it turns this beautiful purple color; it’s definitely my number-one favorite,” Mondanile says of Mississippi’s state flower. “During the spring time, you’ll see them in New Jersey, where I’m from. But I used to live in Berlin, and that’s a very green city, and there when the warm weather would hit, I would take a trip to a rural party of the country and rent a bicycle and ride around seeing the trees. I actually have a song called ‘Oh, Magnolia Tree’ on my album Landscapes.”

2. Rhubarb

“This might be more of a fruit, but it’s tasty and delicious,” Mondanile says of the perennial plant and classic pie ingredient. “I used to work on a farm in Massachusetts where we grew rhubarb and would make it into pies and things like that. I haven’t made a pie lately, though.”

3. Roses

“Roses represent so many things, like love,” Mondanile says. “And I like how Morrissey would throw around roses.” The former Smiths front man isn’t the only one who’s made admirers swoon with the blooms, however. “I’ve given roses since I was a kid,” he says. “I gave a rose to the first girl I ever went on a date with, so it’s an important flower to me.”

4. Palm Trees

Seasoned Ducktails fans will remember palm trees gracing the cover of Mondanile’s 2009 album Landscapes, a choice he says was purposeful. “A lot of my early imagery as an artist was influenced by the exotic look of the palm tree, and for me, the palm tree embodies a feeling of escapism,” he says. “And since I live for New England in the cold, palm trees helped me live out a fantasy of living in a place with a warmer climate.” Still, Mondanile’s favorite palms aren’t in California. “Portugal, outside of Lisbon, is where my favorite palm trees are,” he says. “They have beautiful, beautiful trees.”

5. Daffodils

“This is a bulb plant that mostly grows in greenhouses; when I was growing up, my mom had a greenhouse and she grew daffodils, so they’re a nostalgic thing for me,” amateur botanist Mondanile explains. “My mom was always talking about having to tend them, so they stick out for me. But I wasn’t jealous of them.”

The Flower Lane is out January 29 on Domino. Stream “Letter of Intent” below:

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