Mates Of State are eight songs deep into writing a new record, due in early 2008 via Barsuk. The as-yet-untitled effort will be the husband-wife duo's fifth set, and follow-up to 2006's "Bring It Back
Mates Of State are eight songs deep into writing a new record, due in early 2008 via Barsuk. The as-yet-untitled effort will be the husband-wife duo's fifth set, and follow-up to 2006's "Bring It Back."
Keyboardist Kori Gardner and drummer Jason Hammel tapped a trio of indie producers -- Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla, Spoon's Jim Eno and Peter Katis (Interpol, the National) -- to helm the set.
"So far, the best advantage to splitting up the duties and working this way is the ability to work on a song or two at a time. The only way we've done it before was go in for two or three weeks at a time and bash it out, start to finish," Hammel tells Billboard.com. "This way, we can listen for a while and it's a lot more relaxed in the studio."
This also marks the first time Gardner won't be utilizing the same organ she's used writing the Mates' first four albums, in favor of acoustic piano, synths and Hammond.
Fans can catch a preview of new music at a handful of intimate shows in New York and Massachusetts next month. Gardner will perform on acoustic piano with Hammel on drums, and, for the first time ever, the group will have the additional help of a cellist and bassist on stage.
"It was just time for a change. This is very stripped down for us. It's much more about the songs this time around," Hammel says. The group will perform tonight (Sept. 26) in Boston for the Revenge of the Bookeaters  benefit.
Meanwhile, Mates Of State has earned a batch of new listeners recently due to being featured in a national AT&T TV commercial. "I'm just really glad the company did it so tastefully," Hammel says. "It was a fake show -- all we did was lip-sync to a minute of our own song ['For the Actor'] about 40 times in front of a 'crowd.' It was definitely the easiest money we ever made."
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