On Wednesday, July 12th, California Focus Magazine had the opportunity to sit with Teammate before their show with Plasmic and Dales at Resident DTLA. Teammate band members Dani and Scott have history together as they were previously in a romantic relationship which spanned the course of ten years. Here's a vignette on where Scott Simons and Dani Buncher started, where they are now, and what they see for the future of Teammate.
How did you two come up with the name "Teammate"?
Dani : “Scott and I used to be together as a romantic couple, so when we broke up and we were trying to figure out how to be in each others lives, we thought since we can’t be a couple we can still be teammates."
When did you two meet?
Scott: "We went to Western University of Pennsylvania together, which is where we met. We dated for ten years.
When did you start composing music together?
Scott: "Other than like a few joke songs here and there..."
Rebecca: "What's a 'Joke Song'?"
Scott: "Just like goofing around or whatever while we were dating, but we never took it seriously. She (Dani) was in a band and I was in a band and we supported each other's music but we never played together. So we actually only seriously started playing together a few years ago when the band was formed."
When did you form the band?
Scott: "We didn't form the band for a few years after the break up. "
Dani: "We started the band while I was in Pittsburgh still, and Scott was in Los Angeles. The band was bi-coastal which became to difficult for us. So, I decided it was time for me to move to LA."
Scott: "We released our album (Damage) earlier this year. We did some stuff regionally and around LA, and NY. We aren't touring right now, but we are focusing on writing some new stuff. After this show we will be sitting down to focus on a lot of new stuff, that's where we are right now."
Where would you say you got your sound from?
Dani: "I play drums and Scott's a keyboard player, so we've very limited in how we can perform essentially. We both grew up on 80's and 90's music so we really liked that synth-y genre."
Rebecca: "Who are some of the bands that inspire you?"
Dani: "Tears For Fears, Madonna..."
Scott: "The Cars, New Order, Yaz, The Cure, just kinda 80's rock or 80's dance-pop."
Dani: "We grew up on pop music, I grew up on Top 40 radio and musicals, and Scott grew up on musicals and The Beatles."
Scott: "...and pop radio, but pop radio was different where I was from. I grew up in a small town of 7,000 people, she grew up in a city (Pittsburgh), so our pop radio experience was a little bit different. Some of the stuff she listened to didn't make it to where I lived. We had MTV, but I was actually mostly around country music. My dad managed a country music radio station for a while. I wouldn't call myself a country fan, but I was definitely around it a lot growing up.
To Dani: Have you always just played the drums?
Dani: "Yeah I started when I was 8 years old. I was always a very physical and athletic child but I was never very good at sports. Drums was a very good compromise.
Rebecca: "It's kind of a very physical thing wouldn't you say?"
Dani: It's super physical. I just needed something I could feel, and that my muscles and my body could respond to. I move around a lot, and I was always drawn to the drums, the rythm that comes with it, and dancing. There weren't a lot of girls doing drums when I was growing up and so I always felt very unique in my little bubble. As I got older I met a lot of other female drummers, and that was always very inspiring. I had some mentors that were wonderful as well. Drums was always this way to express myself that was very unique and special to me."
Scott to Dani: "It's funny that you say that you needed to play drums because it was a physical outlet you needed, and I feel like I was this emotional only child that would lock myself in a room and needed to like sing about my girlfriends in high school with Phantom of the Opera playing full blast."
Dani: "We would have been friends, but I probably would have bullied Scott."
Scott to Dani: "Until of course, my senior year when I became student class president and everyone came around to see how cool I am."
Scott, jokingly: "Nice piano dork!"
To Scott: You play keyboards for Teammate, do you play any other instruments?"
Scott: "Well, I play piano."
Dani to Scott: "Just say you play them all. And I'm just drums."
Scott: "I do all the programming (for Teammate), all the synth stuff, we both sing, and I write on guitar sometimes, play a little bit of bass, I played Sax and Clarinet too growing up. Anything that made music, I would try and figure out how to play.
Would you say one of you is more the 'driver' of the band?
Dani: "The band is very equal."
Scott: "When we first started though, when Dani wasn't here (in LA) I had to be more proactive. I think also because Dani didn't sing as much in her old band, and when we started, we also wanted Dani to sing, we had to spend more time together to write. Luckily we figured out how to grow creatively and have equal voice."
Scott: "...and there are songs that are more Dani, or more Me."
Rebecca: "What would you say is more of a Dani song?"
Scott to Dani: "Into Motion, Souvenir was your idea. Dani had a concept for this song...well do you want to explain it?"
Dani: "No I like when you speak for me."
Scott: "Let me explain, let me 'mansplain' it to you."
Dani: "I want to hear the mansplain version!"
Scott, jokingly: "Okay, so 'Souvenir' right, when you go out of town right.......
Dani: "It's just the idea that whenever you leave a relationship, good or bad, there's always something you take with you. Sometimes it's tangible, sometimes it's just this thought, this feeling. Souvenir is based on this idea that just because the relationship ends it doesn't mean it has to be a failure or all negative. There's something good to take from everything."
Scott: "So she basically explained this concept for a song to me. The next day I said 'Hey, how about this as a chorus, and then we wrote the rest of it together, and we actually didn't end up liking it. It had this kind of march-y snare sound and different chords in the chorus, and redid it one day."
Rebecca: "What would you say is more of a Scott song"
Scott: "Don't Count Me Out, Damage, those were like older songs that I wrote kind of starting on my own."
Rebecca: "They kind of have an anthem feel to them, wouldn't you agree?"
Scott: "Our first E.P. was a little more singer song writer and based on my perspective, a little more intimate. Then we started to tour more, and we got five shows with One Republic. We were playing these big basketball stadiums and like we started to realize that maybe we need to write more songs that feel like that. That's how big we want to be, so maybe we should sound that big."
Teammate's album "Damage" is available for download on Amazon, iTunes, and Spotify. (PLEASE ADD LINKS IN WEBPOST)