Scott Simons and Dani Buncher of TeamMate know their relationship doesn’t fit an easy description. After a decade-long relationship and a public split, Dani and Scott made the decision to continue making music together. So we just had to ask them a few questions about heartbreak, and they generously opened up about how their breakup affected their lives and inspired their new music.
TeamMates's debut album is out now and the first single "Damage" is about the turning point in their relationship where they realized that despite no longer being romantically involved they would be able to move forward as TeamMates. Here's how they mended.
If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?
Dani: "You’ll get through it. If I could go back and give my younger self advice, I would tell her to allow herself to feel whatever her heart is telling her to feel. To not fight the sadness, to embrace the fear, and to find comfort in the passing of time. I’d tell her there’s a lesson to be learned and you will be a stronger person when you get through it."
Scott: "Focus on the good. I find myself telling friends going through break ups a lot that just because a relationship ends badly doesn’t make it a failure. Most relationships end so the measure of a successful relationship can’t simply be that it lasts. Between the start and the finish, there must’ve been something or things good to take from it. Focus on that and take it with you into your next relationship. We wrote a little about this in the song “Souvenir” on the album."
What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?
Scott: "I’ve learned that you can write some amazing songs. Ha. Heartbreak usually gives you a chance to look inward and assess what went wrong and right. That can lead to some powerful truths if you’re honest with yourself. And when you’re able to tap into that lyrically or musically, it’s really liberating and therapeutic."
Dani: "I’ve learned that amazing things and beautiful relationships can come out of heartbreak. If it wasn’t for heartbreak, Scott and I wouldn’t be standing here today as best friends, collaborators, and bandmates."
What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?
Dani: "Retreating to my creative outlet of making music has always been the most therapeutic of breakup rituals. When Scott and I started writing music together, we found ourselves saying things to each other that maybe we weren’t able to say in person or while we were in a relationship."
Scott: "Yeah, totally. I haven’t been in a serious relationship in a long time so I haven’t been through any recent breakups to know what my rituals are. But even though both of us have fully moved on, Dani’s and my breakup is still a big presence in our lives and has made us who we are. We write a lot from this personal experience trying to find new angles to tackle it. We have a song called “Nothing’s Ever Over” that’s about our current status which is second chance to be the closest of friends and bandmates. But we’ve also written songs that drew from the more painful parts of the breakup. It helps to get it out in the world and it helps that we’re singing these things together."
Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?
Dani: "Social media has truly brought the breakup process to the next level. No matter how the relationship ends, good or bad, you’re going to find yourself checking in on the other person’s socials. That feeling you get when you first peek into their profile, post breakup, is a good gauge in telling you what your next step should be. If your heart starts racing and you feel that punch in your gut, you should probably click the “Block” button sooner than later. I’m a big advocate in breaking social media ties with exes until the wounds, on both sides, heal."
Scott: "Yes, what she said. Social media is brutal. It takes a lot of willpower not to check back in on exes. And then you see this curated version of their life that makes you think maybe you missed something the first time. I’ve gone back to situations before that I KNEW weren’t good only because I had forgotten and social media filled in the gaps. Cold turkey is the best thing to do after a breakup but I’m not the best at practicing that. I have a sometimes good and sometimes bad habit of staying friends with girls I’ve dated."
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?
Dani: "The biggest lesson about love that I’ve learned is that it can take different shapes and surprise you along the way. The scariest part of our breakup, for me, was the fear that I was going to lose the most important person in my life. Discovering that our love for each other was able to grow into a whole new kind of partnership and friendship has been incredible. Being able to channel that connection into our songs has been an exciting process."
Scott: "I agree a lot with Dani. Love taking different shapes is such an important concept to me. My dad passed away unexpectedly when I was 20. I didn’t have any say on whether I got to keep him in my life. He was just gone. When Dani came out to me and we ultimately broke up, I thought to myself “This isn’t what I want. But does it have to be all or nothing?”. I wanted Dani to still be in my life in some way and luckily she felt the same. I never thought it would take the shape that it has but it’s the thing I’m proudest of in my life."
Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?
Scott: "I am so the wrong person to weigh in on this. Like I said, I tend to stay friends with people I’ve dated. Maybe because my experience with Dani was so positive I have good expectations for other relationships? I don’t know. I really don’t like to hold grudges. It’s not healthy. So, I try to make peace with people. It’s not easy and I’m not even sure it’s right. But it’s where I am now."
Dani: "I think exes can only be friends if their relationship is rooted in friendship."
What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?
Dani: "Knowing that life goes on and that there is a lesson in self discovery to learn with every person that comes into your life."
Scott: "I just heard an amazing quote that said something like “God breaks your heart again and again until it stays open.” It just slayed me. I feel that heartbreak has made me more open in a lot of ways but also closed off. Creatively, my heart is wide open. I can sing and write about anything. When we write songs together, everything is on the table. But relationship-wise, I’ve had to find ways to not be afraid to take a big swing and miss again. I’m still learning."
What is your favorite song about heartbreak?
Dani: “Careless Whisper” by George Michael
Scott: "'God Only Knows,' by the Beach Boys. I could go on and on about the genius of the musical composition and production of that song but lyrically it’s also so brilliant. It’s somehow simultaneously love and heartbreak at the same time. “God only knows what I’d be without you” is so simple but contains so much meaning. It has this beautiful quality that I love in songs of being both uplifting and melancholy at the same time. It puts a lump in my throat every time I hear it."
What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?
Dani: "I remember watching “500 Days of Summer” fresh out of a breakup and I think it may have helped heal me. Haha. When you go through a painful breakup you automatically become the world’s biggest narcissist. You think no one understands you, you’re the only person to experience this ever, etc. That movie felt so on the nose for me and it was a reminder that I’m not alone in the experience of heartbreak."
Scott: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Ugh. That movie is so heartbreaking and I relate on so many levels."
What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?
Scott: "Well, we’ve been a band for awhile and have released an EP and some singles but our debut full length is finally coming out on Feb 16 and it’s so exciting. We wrote these songs over the past few years and like I said, looked at so many angles of our relationship. Some our looking back, some are looking forward and some are about relationships we’ve each been in since. We’ve grown as people, friends and musicians during the time we’ve made the record and we just wanted to put something out that we believe in 100%. We’re very proud of the album as a body of work and we can’t to have it out in the world. Other than that, we’re always working on our live show and we’ve been starting to write again for whatever is next. We are having a lot of fun being each other’s bandmate so that’s what keeps us going through the ups and downs that are inherent in the music industry."