Musical Duo: An Interview with Mates Of State + A Playlist

Music has always been something that I seek out. 

I remember countless late nights growing up, spent searching the pages of MySpace for users who had the drop down playlist feature. If I was drawn to their profile, I’d go through and listen to their songs, looking for tracks that were new and different. With all of the music out there, our musical libraries get larger and our tastes evolve as we grow, sometimes leaving songs that we once played on repeat to get brushed aside in time.

There’s one song in particular that came fleeting back to me the other day. I remember the day I first heard it so well. No doubt it was via MySpace, and I can still here the AIM sounds in the background adding in a bit of teen angst over top of it. “Goods” by husband-and-wife duo, Mates Of State, is a song that will forever remind me of some of my sweetest teenage years. When I hear it, no specific memory comes into play, but rather a feeling of nostalgia that’s like holding hands with my 16-year old self.

Flash forward to now, 9 years after I first heard that song, and I’ve had the opportunity to interview the band that still remains at the forefront for myself and many others. When you can make a career out of doing what you love, with the one you love right by your side, it’s pretty damn sweet. In honor of the launch of FP Ever After, we traveled back in time with Kori and Jason as they share with us special (musical) moments from their wedding day, lesson’s they’ve learned since tying the knot, and a playlist of some of their favorite songs. Enjoy!


How you would describe your sound to someone who’s never listened to you before?

Instead of answering with a certain genre or comparing ourselves to other bands we usually just say there are two of us, lots of harmony, keys and drums.  We say its pop in a sense but depending on the person who is asking, we reserve classifying music as pop or indie or whatever. It just is so much easier to give the most tangible description-the instrumentation, the kind of singing, etc.

So, you guys met in Lawrence, Kansas. Please tell me you met in class or at the Replay!

We officially met at the Replay.

How much do you miss Love Garden?

Definitely wish we could find something even close to the Love Garden where we live.  We visit every time we are in Lawrence.

Did you totally make out in the stacks at Watson Library?

Maybe.  I think we tried to “visit” all sorts of places on campus — even the sterile, math-ridden hallways of Strong.

Describe your first few months after meeting each other.

We met and then we wrote email love letters to each other for a few months.  Those got more and more intense and we finally just started professing it all in person. Love letters and writing to people in general is kind of a lost art. In a sense we were participating in this joint, real-time art project. The deeper the words and ideas got, the more revealing, the better, until it was pretty obvious we shared a similar outlook and were both passionate in life and we just jumped right into the relationship without looking back.

Was yours more a musical partnership or romance at first? How/when did the other part evolve? 

Romance was first. It was a long build up. Once we were officially in love we started playing music together with the practical mindset that it might not work out musically and we’d be ok with that.  But as we know, the opposite happened.  The first moment we pulled out our guitars (thats what we both played then) they were corresponding yin and yang design — his was tan with maroon stripes and mine was maroon with tan stripes in the same shape and place.  It was silly but we thought that meant it was meant to be.

What song would play in the trailer for a movie about your relationship?  

“Crazy Love,” Van Morrison

Can you give us a play-by-play of your proposal?

We had dinner on Kori’s birthday at the Top of the Mark in SF. Her grandparents used to go dancing there together back in the day, her grandmother always reminisced about it.

Jason wrote a love letter and put some rose petals in a big canister so I could dig through them for the letter.  I knew the whole day he was acting weird and it was probably because he had bought a ring.  It was very sweet and love storyish.

Did you have a DJ or a band at your wedding, and why?

We had a DJ named Dougie Jam.  But we also played some of our own songs and some covers. I think we had a way better chance of having the exact music we’d want with a DJ.  I can’t imagine giving a typical wedding band the list of songs we wanted from Team Dresch to Mirah to Cat Stevens.  He couldn’t stand our song list and tried to swap a Pinback song for the Austin Powers theme song when we made our big wedding entrance.  Not cool!  We really had strong feelings about no techno and no dancing props, although I do remember some blow up guitars were given out at one point.

Describe a moment that sticks out in your mind from your wedding. Smells, sights, people, everything…

We got married in our backyard on the most beautiful, sunny, July day.  We walked down an aisle, on a thick carpet of flowers listening to Nick Cave and then Cat Power.  My cousin sang “The Wind” by Cat Stevens. A friend of ours sang “Sea of Love.”  We wrote the whole ceremony.  It was completely original and heartfelt.  Jason’s lip quivered when I first saw him.  My dad moved his bird’s cage out to the porch so we could hear her whistling throughout the day.  I loved looking out all of our different lives in the sea of faces sitting together for just one day.  It really was a great day. Oh, and our justice of the peace looked and sounded like the woman from that show The Weakest Link.

What song did you use as your “first dance”? Why did you choose it?

“Words Cannot Describe”  by Mirah.  It was easy to dance to and we loved Mirah’s music at the time.  We took swing dance lessons and had a little routine so the song fit with our newly learned steps.  And the words were perfect.

What ended up surprising you about being married?

That marriage has many different phases.  You can have an incredible year of growth as a couple or as individuals and then you can have years where you both don’t feel everything is easy.  You work through things and it’s true that you are stronger and better than ever if you can work through it.  It’s cliche but it’s true.

You got married in 2001. What have you learned about each other since then?

Jason needs to try a new hobby every few years and then get really good at it.

Jason should not eat donuts but it’s his very favorite food.

Kori hates getting woken up and may not remember screaming at you when she is still half asleep.

Jason memorizes maps and also talks in his sleep.

Kori never knows where she is and sleeps with earplugs.

Kori panics on airplanes.

Jason can sweat through coats.

Jason is a great dad.

Kori is an amazing mother.

Jason is a better dish loader because even if Kori does it, Jason reloads the whole thing.

Kori can find anything that is lost.

Kori is a better dancer and apologizer… Jason is pretty much better at everything else.

Kori is very empathetic and she is psychic.

You can’t tell Jason not to do something. He does what he wants no matter what.

Jason is very funny but people usually think he’s quiet.

Kori is very funny and she thinks she talks too much.

Jason knows how to wait the right amount of time to let emotions settle.

Jason is a better person when he meditates.

Kori is a better person when she works out and gets a lot of sleep.

Kori waits until morning to see if an issue is really an issue, sometimes.

Jason is stubborn.

Kori is sensitive.

Don’t ever call Jason a pig.

Silently we take on individual roles-without even talking about it.

As parents:  Jason makes breakfast, Kori packs lunches and writes notes to the teachers. Jason wrestles with the kids, Kori does art projects with them, etc

As bandmates and business owners: Kori writes all the key music, Jason writes the percussion and usually produces/engineers the recording while Kori helps with production edits after.  Kori writes a lot of the harmony, Jason does more song structuring, etc

We’ve learned so much about each other we are practically in each others brains now.

What does being ‘Free’ mean to you?

Being happy.  Being who you want to be without anyone stopping you.


(Above image source.)

Follow Mates of State on Instagram and listen to their music here.

Check out more FP Ever After content on the BLDG 25 Blog!

Follow Jana on Instagram and Twitter.


  1. This is so lovely! I loooooved Mates of State when I was younger. Can’t believe they have two kids now.

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