Even when Martin Courtney was filming a music video on a busy highway, he managed to draw a crowd. Two police officers showed up and tried to shut it down, but after some convincing, they ended up looking on from the other side of the camera, he said.
The video was for his single “Northern Highway,” which is part of Courtney’s debut solo album “Many Moons,” released in October 2015. He’s now touring and will perform at the Bishop on Friday.
Courtney, also the frontman for indie rock band Real Estate, said the original idea for the music video was more comedic. He wanted it to feature his full touring band playing in front of what appears to be a thick forest but is actually a small patch of foliage beside a gas station.
This image of lush nature surrounded by urban sprawl is fairly common in his home state of New Jersey, where Real Estate got its start, he said.
Even though his touring band’s members come from a variety of states, Courtney said his recent shows have felt like touring with old friends.
“It’s nice because everybody already has toured a ton,” he said. “Everybody’s super pro.”
The band accompanying Courtney on this tour includes Real Estate’s Matt Kallman and Jarvis Taveniere, Aaron Neveu of Woods and Doug Keith of Sharon Van Etten’s band.
Courtney said one of the best parts about this tour has been the quality of the opening acts. Friday’s opening band, EZTV, shares more than just a stage with him.
EZTV’s drummer played on album tracks “Northern Highway” and “Airport Bar,” and Taveniere produced their album, he said.
“They’re excellent,” Courtney said. “I don’t know why they’re not bigger than they are. The should be.”
Taveniere also had a hand in the production of “Many Moons.”
Courtney wrote the songs, but Taveniere added instruments to the recordings and helped with engineering the sound.
“Many Moons” isn’t a solo project, but Courtney said the decision to place his name at the forefront made the most sense in the end.
“We talked about different band names and couldn’t really come up with anything,” he said.
The band released “Vestiges” in August 2015 as an online teaser for the album.
“That may even just be, in general, my favorite song on the record, but also I just liked the way the recording turned out the most,” Courtney said.
As far as the rest of the tour goes, he said he’s excited to revisit some venues from previous tours with Real Estate.
“I’m looking forward to playing some venues that I haven’t been to in a long time,” he said.
The first time Real Estate came to Bloomington, he said he was just excited to see where “Breaking Away” was filmed. He said he’s a big fan of the 1979 movie about the Little 500 race.
“Sick-ass movie,” he said.