Dani Buncher and Scott Simons are the dynamic duo that comprise the up-and-coming pop-infused indie band TeamMate. The story is: they used to be a couple. Then one day Dani came out to Scott. They stopped seeing each other romantically, but began writing music together platonically. They formed their band TeamMate (alluding to their personal relationship) and have remained BFFs throughout.
But although the story of their formation is interesting, to focus solely on it would be a disservice to the optimistic, danceable synth-heavy sounds that have been catching the attention of pop-culture informants like VH1 and MTV. Their recent single, the youthful ballad “Don’t Count Me Out,” released through Rostrum Records, is delightfully fun and is sure to stay on loop in your head for days after listening.
Their past is what brought TeamMate together but their music is what’s keeping them going, and from the looks of it, they’re going to go a long way.
You’ve both played music separately in other bands; what made you decide to start collaborating?
Dani: One of our earliest collaborations stemmed from a breakup I went through (post "Dani and Scott"). I was going through a rough time, I had just really come out and was now dealing with a breakup. Scott wrote a song about it (cause that's what ex-boyfriends do when their ex-girlfriends break up with girls, right?) and asked me to track drums on it. It felt right... and a few tracks later and a couple shows under our belt, we decided to make it an official band thing.
TeamMate has been scoring features in publications like Indie Music Filter and LA Weekly, being played on KIIS-FM and shout outs from VH1. What’s it like to have such a great positive response to this project?
Scott: Man... It's so nice. The scariest part of the process is actually putting the music out because then you're exposed to people's reactions. Up until then, it's all sort of just us and our team listening and reacting. So, yeah, to put something out and have positive feedback come back is great especially from music fans and listeners.
You have a really solid live sound, especially for only having two members on drums and keys. Can you talk about the decision to not expand to a full band?
Scott: We've just always liked the dynamic of the two of us on stage... Not saying we won't ever expand but for right now, it feels nice just having us on stage together creating something and supporting each other. We've known each other for half of our lives at this point. Anyone new may feel like a 3rd wheel and not get our endless inside jokes.
You recently opened for Bleachers, a LYKA favorite. What was that experience like?
Scott: It was such a great experience and they are so so good. He's such a great writer. We learned a lot watching their set and their fans were super kind to us.
What are some other projects you are working on at the moment?
Scott: We're always writing. Just trying to finish up production on two new songs then move on to finishing up the writing on a bunch of ideas we have started. We've also been working on our tans.
What do you read, or where do you go to, for daily creative inspiration?
Scott: I think just talking to people and really listening to what they say and how they say it gives me ideas and inspiration. Just really paying attention to my surroundings and experiences each day usually yields the best ideas for writing. And admittedly, I hear an awesome artist and get a little jealous and try to outdo them. Ha.
What else do you like to do outside of music?
Dani: Outside of music, things I really like are: Soup, Zombies, fall weather, Radiolab, walks, and Roku.
Scott: I agree with all of those things except soup and zombies.
What did you grow up listening to and what are you listening to at the moment?
Dani: I grew up listening to a lot of pop radio and 90s hip hop. A lot of my current favorites seem to draw influence from the same music, others not so much. Big fan of Tegan and Sara, Phantogram, Death Cab, Pinback, Now, Now...
Scott: I was listening to a lot of 80's rap like Young MC when my dad handed me Sgt Pepper's and Revolver on cassette. From that day on, I became a Beatles freak. Then I got into a band called Jellyfish and Ben Folds 5 and Weezer. I listen to a lot of different stuff now. I like to put on every kind of Spotify playlist when I run and listen to everything from country to indie stuff. I also like to check out the most popular songs in other parts of the world on Spotify.
Favorite brunch spots in LA?
Dani: Oh, man... Brunch is so good pretty much everywhere.
S: I love brunch so much. I could eat brunch any time of day. LA does brunch REALLY well. I like Kings Road Cafe, Blue Jam Cafe, Swingers... I could go on and on.
Mimosas or Bloody Mary’s?
Dani: Bloody Mary. Savory over sweet any day. Oh, here's a tip for flights when you're hungry and don't always have a meal option. Order a Bloody Mary mix with no alcohol. IT'S LIKE SOUP and will fill you up. Trust me on this. You can also order it WITH vodka, I guess...
S: Blood Mary's. Mimosas give me headaches and make me freestyle rap in public.