TeamMate Interview – Don’t Count Out Scott Simons & Dani Buncher

By on August 1, 2014
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TeamMate’s single, “Don’t Count Me Out”- a triumphant, optimistic song that brings out the fighting spirit of an underdog, garnered attention during Wimbledon this summer.The tune’s universal theme of coming back when life knocks you down has been very well received on SoundCloud, iTunes, and other music sites.

Now with the recent release of “Goldmine”, their second single released this year, the duo of Scott Simons and Dani Buncher (TeamMate) are poised to break out into the airwaves.

Following the release of TeamMate’s single, “Don’t Count Me Out”, in mid-June, AndiHHM interviewed the indie pop duo of Scott Simons and Dani Buncher.

AndiHHM: I listened to your whole catalogue on SoundCloud. I really like the new single, “Don’t Count Me Out”.  It’s punchy and upbeat.

Scott: Thanks.

AndiHHM: Scott did you write the lyrics to “Don’t Count Me Out” or was it a joint effort?

Scott: I primarily wrote the lyrics to that. We collaborated on some of the track and form of the song but the lyrics, I wrote.

AndiHHM: It’s pretty exciting because I looked on SoundCloud and saw that it had over 10,000 plays already.

Scott: We’re super excited about that.

AndiHHM: Do you attribute that to following Sequel or more aggressive marketing? What do you attribute the song’s increase in plays over your other tunes?

Dani: I think maybe people attach to the song in a different way. I think this song is a little more universal than Sequel was. I think that helped us reach a broader audience.

Scott: We’re definitely super proud of the Sequel EP but it was really looking inward and “Don’t Count Me Out” seems to be more outward. Maybe people grabbed onto it in a different way. I don’t know why certain songs work and certain songs don’t. I think we’d go crazy if we tried to figure that out.

So we just keep writing and posting and seeing what happens.

AndiHHM: You’re right; it’s very universal. I just read on your Facebook page that you were very excited about it being used on ESPN for Wimbledon. I can see “Don’t Count Me Out” being used that way a lot.

Scott: I hope you’re right. Yeah we got a phone call at 7 am today. Dani’s brother called me twice and I thought, “Oh, something’s happened to Dani last night and they’re just now getting around to calling me”. That’s what I thought. (All laugh)

Dani: Oh my god! You know what’s funny? I woke up and saw my brother called. I left something at my brother’s apartment when I was out in New York about a week ago. I left a night guard, like a retainer. I’m like, “Adam, I left it there. It costs a lot of money. I need this!” So this morning when I woke up I got really excited because I thought my brother had found my retainer.  (Giggles)

Scott: Then we found out it was because our song was played on ESPN.

Dani: He (Dani’s brother) said, “Hey, you were on ESPN!” I’m like, “That’s cool. Did you find my retainer?”

AndiHHM: That’s pretty good news. I think it’s better than finding your retainer, but I don’t know how expensive that retainer was.

If “Don’t Count Me Out” does get used on commercials or in other capacities, that will definitely be an added bonus, not just gratification.

Scott: Depends on the use but that’s the good thing about writing is that you get royalties that come up. It just depends on who uses it for what. I try to stay out of that aspect.

AndiHHM: It helps pay the bills.

Scott: Yeah, whatever it takes.

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AndiHHM: I see that you guys are with Feed the Beat sponsored by Taco Bell. I saw it on their website and also the pictures you posted using their gift cards. I had not heard of Feed the Beat previously. Are you going to be doing some sort of tour with them?

Dani: There’s nothing in the works as of right now. It’s more of a cross-promotional sort of stuff when we are on the road. Use their products, talk about the program. They as well talk about our bands; the other Feed the Beat bands. We work together on the road.

Scott: I think it really helps us that they’re promoting other bands and that promotes the program. Just being next to some of those other bands helps us. It’s just a neat thing that they’re doing to promote good music. We’re glad to be a part of it.

AndiHHM: Definitely! Who doesn’t love Taco Bell? Going to a concert, leaving a concert, 3 a.m., Taco Bell! I mean, it all goes together, right?

Scott:  When we’re out in the middle of nowhere, that’s our go-to. Where were we that one time we did Taco Bell? I feel like it was Toronto, which seems like we went for the wrong border. (Laughs)

Dani: Oh god, were you just trying to say that joke? I feel like you wrote that one down somewhere.

AndiHHM: I think he was trying to work it in.

AndiHHM: I also saw that you mentioned that TeamMate is on Xiami!, the Chinese Pandora/Spotify. I don’t even want to guess how to pronounce that.

Scott: I’m not sure how to say it. I was just in China for a few weeks and met a bunch of friends over there. China has their own YouTube, their own version of Facebook. I guess this is their own version of Spotify that the government allows.

Our EP had been up there, some friends had sent screenshots. They said, “Your EP is up here, but ‘Don’t Count Me Out’ hadn’t yet made it”. I guess there was a little bit of a delay, but they sent me a screenshot saying it was available there now. So that’s really awesome.

That’s really neat to have just made friends in China and now they can just find my music so easily. It’s pretty crazy.

AndiHHM: That’s great! Like Dani had said it’s a more universal theme than the Sequel EP. Is it available in Europe yet?

Scott: I’m not sure about the distribution but I imagine it is.

AndiHHM: Listening to “Don’t Count Me Out” and of course doing this kind of job, listening to pop music in general, it just seems like a rallying cry. Like Don’t! Count! Me! Out!

I really do like the drums that Dani does there in the middle. I know from your background story that she’d been at the University of West Virginia, and that sounds kind of marching band, militaristic.

Scott: A little marching snare kind of thing.

AndiHHM: Yes! Love that. Seeing that you’re on the Here Comes the Rain Again album, the tribute album to the second wave of British pop music (in the 80s), I wanted to know who are your favorite 80s bands?

Scott: Oh man…

Dani: Oh man! Madonna, Michael Jackson, Banarama, Wham with George Michael. All that stuff.

Scott: I love The Cars, Tears For Fears.

Dani: Tears For Fears, The Cure, Depeche Mode.

Scott: We’re massive 80s fans so that was a no-brainer for us. It makes it hard for us to cover songs from the 80s because we feel so influenced by them that we kind of just fail. But we definitely do it.

We’re super excited to be a part of it. There are some really cool artists on that and people should definitely follow that tribute album on Facebook to keep up with the updates.

AndiHHM: I did listen to your cover of Madonna’s “Causing a Commotion”. Like the Madonna vibe, the early Madonna sound.

Dani: Thank you. That was a fun one to express for sure. We wanted to do an older one. We toyed around with a couple of others.

Scott: That one just seemed to fit us really well.

AndiHHM: It does seem to fit your vibe. Do you do covers songs when you’re out on tour? I noticed you had been out with OneRepublic.

Scott: We did “Causing a Commotion” on that tour. We’ve also covered “Buffalo Stance” (by Neenah Cherry). We haven’t done a ton of covers yet, maybe just a few. We sing songs all the time.

Dani: We haven’t played a lot of covers live. We did a Cars cover, remember?

Scott: Oh yeah, we did “Drive”. I forgot about that.

AndiHHM: Are you going on tour anytime soon?

Scott: We’re working on it. Right now we’re just really focused on getting the new music out and working the new songs into the set.

We just did a bunch of local shows. We did some stuff in March on the East Coast. I think we’re just using our time right now to look for opportunities.

AndiHHM: I saw that you were at the LA Pride Festival. You were the Grand Marshals or part of the group of Grand Marshals?

Dani: We opened for the Grand Marshal that was basically what we did. We weren’t affiliated with the Grand Marshal beyond that.

Scott: Everyone was saying Grand Marshal. I’d never heard it so much. It sounds so old-fashioned.

AndiHHM: So you were like the Assistant to the Grand Marshal? (All laugh)

Dani: Yeah, we had to pick up her dry cleaning.

AndiHHM: Who was the Grand Marshal? Now I have to know!

Dani: Demi Lovato.

AndiHHM: That’s great. Are you getting a lot of support out of the LGBT community?

Scott: I think so. I mean, we’re trying to support them. If they reciprocate, that’s awesome. We’d love anyone to be our fans, to like our music. We’re just big supporters of that community. We try to be a voice for them.

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AndiHHM: I was just wondering if anyone had remarked after reading your story or made encouraging comments.

Scott: I think people definitely have embraced it. I don’t know if people can relate to the specifics of the story, but I think they can relate to the universality of it.

Whether you’re close with your ex or not, the sexuality-it’s a big part of the story, but it doesn’t make a difference whether you can relate to it or not. I think we’ve gotten a lot of support from the LGBT community for sure. We’re so happy to be a part of Pride. I don’t think that we’ve done it to the exclusion of others. A lot of people can grab onto it.

AndiHHM: You seem very balanced with it. Your support for them doesn’t seem like it’s an overpowering thing. I’ve researched your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. It’s just something you support.

Scott: We appreciate that.

AndiHHM: What’s the story on the flower cover art on “Don’t Count Me Out”? What’s the significance?

Scott: We commissioned an artist; the label had connected us with him. We just knew we wanted something unique and something that reflected the music. We kind of gave him free reign to do whatever he wanted to do.

He came back with the first draft and we loved it. We didn’t have much input on the actual design. We wanted someone else’s interpretation of what they felt like the music sounded like, looked like. We really like it.

AndiHHM: Me too. I have a question for Dani. I know this kind of silly, but what is your most inspirational band movie? Like Drumline? (tongue in cheek)

Dani: Definitely not Drumline! That movie offends me in so many ways. Band movie? I don’t know if it was influential, but I really love, my favorite band movie is That Thing You Do.

AndiHHM: That’s one of my favorites!

Dani: I think just the vibe of that movie and the personality of that movie; it felt relatable, the humor behind it all. There’s a lot of excitement, there’s a lot of reality. It was neat.

AndiHHM: Well, you are the drummer.

Dani: I don’t wear sunglasses though. I’m not as cool.

AndiHHM: I have to like you guys since you’re from Western Pennsylvania; my mom’s family is from there.

Scott: I’m from West Virginia, Dani’s from Pittsburgh.

AndiHHM: Right. Similar area, coal country.

Scott: Where are you located?

AndiHHM: Lafayette, Indiana, home of Axl Rose and Shannon Hoon. You guys should come out here and play Elliott Hall at Purdue University.

Dani: I’m down.

AndiHHM: We’d be glad to have you. I know that you’re not touring right now, but I’d like to know who your fantasy tour mate would be. All-time, fantasy touring mate?

Scott: We’ve always talked about Tegan and Sara. We love them so much. I don’t even think touring with them so much as hanging out with them.

I don’t know. Dani, what do you think?

Dani: Yeah! I think we should be putting that in the atmosphere so we can all be best friends.

AndiHHM: Tegan and Sara, that’s cool. When you’re not touring, do y’all have day jobs? I know Scott; you’re doing song-writing and producing. I ask because sometimes as independent artists you need to have a part-time job.

Dani: Sometimes we do random stuff here and there. But we do musical day jobs as well, lessons and that sort of stuff.

Scott: I’ve always been lucky that music is my day job. Teaching school or doing jingles. Anything we can but we try to keep it all music.

AndiHHM: That’s really good that you can do that. Not everybody can.

Scott: I think it helps with the location for us just because there is more opportunity in Los   Angeles to do more music-oriented work.

When I lived in West   Virginia, we had to have other jobs outside of music. Dani was in Pittsburgh; we did what we could, and tried to stay in music.

AndiHHM: Sweet. There’s a new single that’s coming out after “Don’t Count Me Out”? Can you talk about that? What’s the title?

(Editor’s Note: At the time of the interview the title and release date of their newest single, “Goldmine” had not yet been released publicly. However, it has since been released to the public as of July 22, 2014 through iTunes, Spotify, et al.)

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Scott: It’s a song called “Goldmine”. I’m not sure what the release date is for it, it is next though. I think it complements “Don’t Count Me Out”. We’re excited by it. It will be different than “Don’t Count Me Out”, but it kind of goes along with it.

AndiHHM: Do you have anything you’d like to put forth that I haven’t asked about?

Scott: Just look at our social media. We post some fun stuff. We have some different things we’re doing on YouTube and online. Please follow us and keep in touch with us.

AndiHHM: Definitely! Thanks for your time. Best to both of you.

Scott and Dani: You’re welcome. Thanks for the interview.

To read all about TeamMate’s backstory click HERE

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AndiHHM

Author: AndiHHM

Lover of music from almost any genre, working hard every day to help new artists get exposure and showcase music and news for bands and their fans. Smurf aficionado, dog person, bacon connoisseur. Tried and true, red, white, and blue.

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