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Mates Of State - Interview

  by David McNamee

published: 16 / 7 / 2003

Mates Of State - Interview


Mates of State have had the surprise indie hit of the summer with the re-release of their 2000 debut album , 'My Solo Project'. David McNamee chats to husband-and-wife team , Kori Gardner and Jason Hammell, about dream analysis and computer games

Mates of State are dancing drunkenly on pebbled beaches in the daytime. PB : Detail the last significant dream or nightmare that you had and what you interpret it as meaning. Jason: I can't remember any dreams. But I have another psychosis: I hold conversations with make-believe characters every night. Your best ideas come from the sub-conscious. I'm just trying to get someone to listen and decipher. Kori: I had a dream that I woke up and went into the bathroom. The toilet was gone. Jason had decided to do some handy work in the bathroom and replace the toilet. It didn't surprise me though. I just decided to find something else to do instead of use the bathroom. I would like to think it means that if you take material things that I need away from me, I can cope and adapt without them. Or, it could mean that we've been remodeling our house for a while and the toilets have been a major source of frustration. So, in my dream we got rid of the annoying plumbing problems. Singer/organist Kori Gardner and singer/drummer Jason Hammell are now happily married but when their 2000 debut, 'My Solo Project' (Tsk! Tsk!) which has now been rereleased first came around it was nothing more than a bliss-spitting pop spell - songs heady with hayfever for a summer scorched with doubt and smeared in honey. They have also since recorded another album, 'Our Constant Concern' PB : Describe your designs for a computer game based on your band and 'My Solo Project' or translate the narrative/aesthetic of 'My Solo Project' into a design for a computer game? Jason: Real typical stuff. All good games possess these: right/wrong, who defines those, and who will edit you as you go through the process of figuring that out. I'm not a big animation fan, so you can just hire union programmers...as long as those core ingredients are present. Kori: You play this game outside. The system it works on uses solar power. The game reads your current surroundings and then uses them to be your starting point in the game. It's of course, more realistic than games from the past. There are people and places you know in the game. In fact, the game is individualized to your life before you play it. You have to enter in pictures of places and friends before you play. The game must be played by two people at the same time. You make virtual decisions together. Sometimes you can't discuss them and other times you can but you are always working together. You have to make compromises. At the beginning of the game, you play a child. It's a little frightening because you are running the whole time but you always have your best friend with you who isn't as scared. The object of the first level is to find every slide in the world and go down each slide together. To find them you must perform tasks in different afterworlds. One afterworld looks like the typical heaven that we see in lots of movies (clouds, blue sky, gates) In another afterlife, you are reincarnated as one of your friends. And, you get to see yourself through their eyes. Throughout the game you have to get off of your lazy ass and stand in front of the system's camera to perform actual tasks. The tasks often involve dancing. Sometimes the tasks are simple, like lying on your back at staring at the sky for a few minutes. You grow older. You have to sacrifice powers you had when you were a child for new powers, usually physical power is traded for mental power. The more places you visit, the more power you have and the more tools you have to help you in the next level. By the end of the game, you just want to start over again knowing what you know now. Throwing arms around your best friend’s neck and proclaiming a love so recklessly profound that it can only be spoken of in shouts and gasps and giggles of random and oblique and heartbreaking prose… PB : Be a crypto-architect: describe what your hometown will look like as a City of The Future. Jason: Tall buildings and vast cornfields. Hicks and Hipsters. Water and Cement. Flowers and Smog. An underground and dirt trails throughout the forest. Trees and crooks. Preachers and paupers. Ladies and gentlemen. Paris and Stewartville. Kori: It's San Francisco. As far as the buildings and houses go, they all look the way they do now except cleaner. People there believe in historic preservation. We want to keep the bay windows and the pink and blue houses with twisty iron gates. We are all driving environment friendly cars and they don't make a lot of noise so you can actually hear the sounds of people and animals even in the city. But you are much closer to the rest of the country in the future. Because in the future, if you want to travel outside of SF, it only takes five minutes. You can step into your speedy glass transporting elevator (everyone has one) and go to New York for the afternoon. “I am partial to life without/WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?/Where in ten can you see yourself?/I remark ‘to the tenth without’/I WON’T PASS YOU BY/You group it and you group it… but it’s autumn, love…” PB : You are on a train, looking out the window, listening to your current album on minidisc. Where are you going? Kori: It's summer and I'm riding home from the beaches in Cape Cod to a wonderfully dirty, busy city. Jason: Forward.

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Mates Of State - Interview

Mates Of State - Interview

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