Scott Simons likes girls, and so does Dani Buncher, but that’s not the only reason they make such a great team.
TeamMate, a synth-pop duo comprised of keyboardist and vocalist Scott Simons and drummer Dani Buncher, is slated to open for OneRepublic Friday as part of the truthLIVE tour, sponsored by the Ohio Union Activities Board and the truth campaign, which focuses on unveiling the truth about the tobacco industry.
Simons and Buncher will also have a few truths to reveal about their relationship through their music.
The Los Angeles and Pittsburgh-based duo commenced following the conclusion of their romantic relationship. The couple had dated for 10 years before Buncher came out to Simons, ending the courtship.
“It was really heart-wrenching,” Simons said. “It was a tough process for Dani and a little less hard for me, I think … but we went through it together, and we had our ups and downs for those years, but we got to a point where we were just comfortable talking about it, talking about moving on personally, and once we figured out, ‘Well, this person is still going to be in my life,’ the band just started in a natural reaction to that.”
This revelation inspired part two of Simons and Buncher’s relationship, embodied in TeamMate and its first single, “Sequel.”
Beginning with Simons singing, “She said I like girls / I said I do too,” which he explained to be a joke between the duo, the song was a way for them to express what they had been through, Buncher explained.
“It was also a way for my mother to out me to other people in my family,” Buncher joked. “(She would say), ‘If you listen to this song, you can tell she’s gay.’”
The single spiraled into an EP of the same name, released in April. Buncher said Simons wrote “99.999 percent” of TeamMate’s songs on the EP, which were produced solely with keyboard and drums, Buncher explained.
The resulting four songs of the EP, Simons said, provided as a form of therapy for the duo post-relationship, allowing them to express through music what they could never say in person.
“You get to play almost a character version of yourself (when writing music),” Simons said. “So once you step outside of it and start looking at the story and you’re objective, then it’s easier to say, ‘Oh, this person would say this,’ even if that person was supposed to be you.”
Looking upon the stage at Friday’s performance, TeamMate’s set will appear as only a two-man show. However, Buncher insists no musical elements will be missing, as guitar and bass will be mixed into the percussion and synthesizers.
“(Friday’s show) is going to kind of be just a more elevated extension of the record, I hope, like high-energy performance and maybe audience participation (in singing and clapping). Hopefully glow sticks,” Buncher said.
Although this is not the first time TeamMate has performed in Columbus, the truthLIVE tour, which is its second tour in two years, will be making its first appearance at Ohio State.
“We want to go to places where … there’s a large student population,” said Patricia McLaughlin, assistant vice president for communications at truth. “We try to look at places where there may be higher smoking rates than other states. More than 20 percent of youths smoke in Ohio, (and) that’s above the national average.”
The truth campaign relays its message through many different mediums, including advertisements on networks like MTV and FUEL, to endorse smoking prevention in youth.
At the show Friday, the truth campaign plans to unveil the truth of tobacco companies and their addictive products during the show through free gear and video.
Both Simons and Buncher said they believe the truth campaign to be powerful and are happy to be a part of it.
“It’s such a great program, and it’s such a great concert series for us to be a part of,” Simons said. “It was kind of a no-brainer that once they approached us, we were just 100 percent on board with everything they were doing.”
OneRepublic with special guests TeamMate is scheduled to play Friday at the Schottenstein Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are sold out for the event.