TeamMate are an electro-indie duo consisting of Scott Simons and Dani Buncher, boyfriend and girlfriend of many years. Yet, when Buncher came out and their relationship ended, a new friendship blossomed. The two stuck together and created “an album full of arena ready pop songs about the whole journey.” Gearing up for Record Store Day this weekend, the band will have a release available of their version of Jimmy Eat World‘s “Sweetness.” We caught up with the band to talk their past lives, love, their new album, their Record Store Day release and what record they’re looking to buy tomorrow.
What is the song “Damage” about?
Simons: We wrote “Damage” at a time when we were just starting to be band. We had this moment where we realized, “wait, if we can put our romantic breakup behind us and move forward as friends we could be onto something really special.” I don’t think we anticipated the band becoming what it has. It was always a therapeutic outlet for us to play music together after everything we’d been through.
You’re putting out a split for RSD featuring a cover of Jimmy Eat World’s “Sweetness,” why did you pick that song for the split?
Buncher: When this song first came out, I was completely blown away. The energy and vibe was and is still incredible. “Sweetness” has always been a favorite song of both of ours. To be able release our version on vinyl, in the same independent record stores where we bought our original copies, is wild.
Simons: Yeah, the original is incredible. I love that band and I love that song so much. We had talked about messing around with a cover of “Sweetness” for awhile but we could never figure out how to do it justice. One day in rehearsal Dani suggested we strip it down to piano. I put together a demo and we finished it pretty quickly. We didn’t know it was going to be released for Record Store Day which makes it extra awesome.
The story of you (Scott) and Dani, I guess the story behind TeamMate’s formation, is really sweet. It really does define what being a teammate is all about, friendship! Aww-ing aside, how has that dynamic and history contributed to the making of TeamMate’s music?
Simons: Thank you. We’re totally cool with aww-ing. Keep aww-ing.
Buncher: We approach our songwriting collaboratively like you would any good friendship. Since we’ve known each other for so long, we know each other’s musical tendencies and are able to communicate pretty directly. We go into the writing process already knowing what the other one may or may not like. Definitely an advantage.
Simons: Yeah. And we have some unique perspectives to sing about. Our history together has allowed us to look at love, heartbreak and friendship from so many different angles.
Thus far, what has been the highlight of TeamMate’s career?
Simons: We’ve played some amazing shows and achieved more than we could’ve ever dreamed. But I think having our full length album released is probably the highlight so far.
Buncher: It feels pretty amazing to have the record out. Such a full range of emotions when making an album. We’re proud of the songs and happy to have it out in the world.
Your self-titled record came out this year, tell me a little bit about what it’s about?
Simons: Well, like I mentioned above, it’s our perspective on love, heartbreak and moving forward. We sing the whole record in unison pretty much because we both believe so strongly in what we’re saying. To me, the album is mostly a celebration of our close friendship now and our ability to get through some really dark times.
What were some of the influences/inspirations behind the making of the record?
Simons: We’re both big 80’s fans. And there are some bands like Death Cab or Tegan and Sara that we both have loved for years. But generally, we don’t try to chase our influences. We’ve gotten to the point now that we make the music we like and our influences and inspirations sort of find their way into the music.
What other songs will be featured on the RSD release?
Buncher: We have a split 7” with our Rostrum Records labelmate, Mike Taylor. He is releasing a super cool cover over “Electric Feel” by MGMT. It’s a jam.
Simons: He played it for a us a few weeks ago. It is awesome. He takes it to church for sure.
What record are YOU most excited to get on RSD?
Buncher: I’m pretty excited about the Stevie Nicks Rarities release.
Simons: Oh man.. The Cars Live? The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever? The Cure Greatest Hits? Spoon? Elton John? I don’t know. There’s too much good stuff.