Evolving duo: Mates of State hit Gravity

The couple that plays together...

For the ever-transforming indie-pop duo Mates of State, otherwise known as Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, the status quo is not an option. When they tired of playing clubs, they turned to larger concerts, including Lollapalooza earlier this year. When they tired of their signature electrical organ sound, they cut it out of their latest record, Re-arrange Us. And with the growth of their fledgling family, they now bring their two daughters, Magnolia and June, along for the ride rather than leaving them home.

The adventurous San Francisco-based husband-and-wife duo (who had never heard of Charlottesville– "Where's that?" Hammel says he asked unabashedly) claim they jumped at the prospect of entering Central Virginia's evolving music scene and are looking forward to trying out some new musical tricks when they take the stage at Gravity Lounge this week.

The Hook: How have you grown over the past 11 years, both musically and as a couple?

Jason Hammel: It took awhile, to be honest with you. The first record was a piece of cake because we had just started dating and writing songs together so we didn't care– a honeymoon period, I guess you could say. But after that we started to realize that we're in this committed relationship and we're individual artists, so we had to find a common ground. On the second and third record, we fought a lot on song decisions and aesthetics. That's not fun, so we worked through the process and discovered where the other person needed to live to make music.The last few albums were delightful to make.

The Hook: You've drawn on your relationship extensively throughout your music– what do you turn to now?

JH: The thing that's sort of weird but cool about our relationship is that we spend a stupid amount of time together, and we still like each other.

The Hook: Re-arrange Us has been noted for being an evolution in your musical identity– what does this say about the band's progress?

JH: We play music, that's what we do, so if we want to continue doing it, you have to evolve, otherwise somebody younger will come in and say, "Step aside old man."

The Hook: What will we see from you at Gravity?

JH: With the way we view music, you can either copy your idols, or you can take the things you like about your idols and make them you're own. Unless you take a risk, you'll never touch upon anything new and exciting. We've been talking about this tour, doing some new things onstage. Sometimes you have ideas and they're great, and sometimes they're ridiculous. Hopefully it won't be, "Oh my gosh, this band is terrible, they've never been to Charlottesville, and this is what they're bringing."

Mates of State performs at Gravity Lounge on 11/12. Show starts at 8pm.


Mates of State played the Satellite Ballroom in 2006 with the Starlight Mints, FYI.

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