FRENSHIP

FRENSHIP

TeamMate

Matt Woods

Tue, February 21, 2017

8:00 pm

Adv tix $15.00 / DOS tix $17.00

This event is all ages

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FRENSHIP
FRENSHIP
L.A. duo FRENSHIP's "Capsize" has become one of the most viral hits of Summer 2016. Highlighted by James Sunderland and Brett Hite's warm tones and blissed-out beats, the song is the most refreshing pop gem of this year. "People do tend to describe it as a tropical sound, but the truth is Brett was always trying to force a marimba into one of our songs and he finally got the opportunity," deadpans James. Quickly surpassing 20 million streams in just a month after independently releasing the track, Spotify recently included "Capsize" on their list of contenders for this year's Song Of The Summer; the infectious track is listed alongside hits from established superstars Drake, Justin Timberlake, and Calvin Harris, among others. To date, FRENSHIP's "Capsize" has been streamed more than 55 million times on Spotify.

FRENSHIP has recently signed a deal with Columbia Records, with a debut EP on the horizon.

The duo describes their hypnotic production as a combination of the twosome's affection for 80s-styled pop. FRENSHIP's natural progression in creating "Capsize" along with previously released songs, "Nowhere" and "Carpet" captures the band's signature sound. "We do have different styles when we work," says Brett.

There's a strong contrarian streak in FRENSHIP, and their oft-told story of how they met while working in retail in Los Angeles. "I came from a family of opera singers," begins James. "My grandmother and my mom sang opera. Uh, I don't." James grew up in Colorado, sang in choirs – played the drums - and moved to L.A. after 4 years of college in Pennsylvania studying a crash-course in production. "I eventually was part of a DJ duo team," James says, but found it "soul sucking." He describes a fateful DJ ship cruise as the final turning point for him. "So I got lost for a couple years, knowing I still wanted to do music, but with some emotion to it – some soul."

Brett grew up in Spokane, Washington with a talent for soccer and as a hobby played the drums and guitar. A music career was the furthest thing from his mind. It would eventually take an injury for Brett to discover his burgeoning interest in music and the gnawing realization that he was beginning to burn out on the sport.

"The first time I was ever away from the game longer than a month I fell in love with the whole process of music." Brett began to play coffee shops and small venues after college as a singer/songwriter. He moved to L.A. to pursue his own musical course, working in retail while he continued to hone his writing skills. When asked how he and James managed to cross paths in starting FRENSHIP, Brett simply explains, "Really, we were just tired of drinking." James acknowledges the creative process began slowly. "We both liked 80s stuff a lot, but it took a while to find other common ground. I would give him something I did and we would listen, he would give me something he did. We were coming from two different sounds, but began to realize we both brought something that the other could appreciate."

"It was always more productive for us to start separately, "says Brett. "I spent some time in the session world a little bit before I met James. I wrote with a lot of people. It can be very unproductive when you're trying to write a new song every hour with someone you just met. James was willing to sit with an idea for a long time and nurture it along. I liked that. I realized in the long run it could be a more efficient process when it comes to producing quality songs."

James points to the duo hitting it off with songwriter Emily Warren in New York City as a testament to trusting the vibe more than what's instantly laid down on paper. "I think the first time we tried to work was on "Carpet" and it didn't work out," he says. "But there was something we liked about her. She was never precious about anything. She was good at adapting to whatever was going on."

And they became fluent at adapting to her crazy schedule. "Capsize" was actually recorded the day she graduated from NYU. "We went out with her the night before until 4:00 AM to celebrate," says James. "The next day, after the ceremony, she came to the studio still in her cap and gown." Brett picks up the story from there. "We just knew we had something. The chemistry was something we couldn't put our finger on, but each of us felt good about the song in a different way. Her Grandmother called her at the studio to congratulate her on her diploma and left a sweet voicemail. It set the mood for the song. The voicemail is still in the song at the end, it was just the most heartfelt thing. We couldn't even nail why it was significant, but there was an emotion that we knew we wanted to capture."

James echoes the sentiment, noting that the most unusual combinations when it comes to FRENSHIP always seem to work out the best. "Our music in general is really a hybrid of the organic with the electronic," he says. "Over time, we've come to trust our mutual instincts more and more."
TeamMate
TeamMate
There are the cheesy, tender love stories and the boring, static ones; the heartbreakers and those head-shakers that never even make it past that cringeworthy pickup line. Scott Simons and Dani Buncher know theirs doesn’t fit easy description. Perhaps it’s because it’s still being written. Sure, several years ago, when Buncher came out to Simons, they stopped referring to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend. The music however? That unspeakable connection that bound them together all those years, carried them through rough patches, and made things work even when everything felt in wild disarray? That, Simons says, was the singular element of their partnership that not only survived, but blossomed. “It was our therapy,” Simons says of his and Buncher’s decision instead to forge ahead on their winding road of a relationship. Rather than lose the other, they chose to embrace their unparalleled connection, forming the synth-pop duo TeamMate. “Part of the healing process for our romantic relationship ending involved us playing music together,” Simons, who shares vocal duties with Buncher and plays synths and keyboards in the band, declares. “Still existing today as a partnership is our best achievement.”

Well, that and TeamMate’s effortless unleashing of ear-wormy nuggets of pure pop precision. The breakout band’s debut LP, TeamMate, is stuffed full of massive choruses, bright, shimmering melodies, arena-scale drums, and the sort of anthemic choruses not easily removable from one’s brain. “We’re shooting information off each other and the result is this collaborative piece,” Buncher, who plays drums in the group, says when assessing the duo’s seamless integration of musical talent. “We always just want to see where the sound goes.”

“Looking back, we never said, ‘Let’s start a band together,”’ Buncher adds with a laugh. Though when two people understand one another on such a human level -- additionally having shared their most personal songwriting with each other for years -- it’s far easier to fight past the nonsense and attack each song with pulsing vigor. “We got to a point where we had matured and we had grown and we had been through so much shit together and we still made it out,” Simons says. “We could then look at our story and say, ‘Yeah, we have something to say in our songs now!’”

And so, even on their most instantly catchy tracks, like “Don’t Count Me Out,” where chiming synths and pulsing drums give way to a shout-along chorus, there’s a definitive, sincere message bubbling beneath. “Lyrically, the song is an anthem to ourselves,” Simons says of TeamMate’s infectious first single off the new LP. “We've been through a lot of things together, but we're still a version of together.” The Eighties-inflected “Nothing’s Ever Over,” by comparison, Buncher adds, “really helped us find our direction for the album” and “set the tone for most of the new songs moving forward.” It also helped the duo manage the occasional hurdles involved in the songwriting process, like on the bombastic pop gem “Something Simple,” which proved anything but. “That was a song that took a lot of work to get it to where it is now,” Simons explains. “It started as a melody and music sketch I made and then sat on because we initially didn't think it was going to work for us. But, as we collaborated, it started to take shape over a few writing sessions. The story comes from a personal experience in a relationship of trying to force expectations onto something rather than just accepting it for what it is.”

Winding up in Los Angeles together as a band was hardly a foregone conclusion for TeamMate. Having first met at West Virginia University, Simons stayed in West Virginia after college; Buncher took up shop in New York and then her native Pittsburgh. Both were pushing hard with their respective former bands, and yet, much as they’d always done, the pair continued swapping musical advice with each other. “For years and years Scott would send me music, and I would give him my brutally honest criticism or support,” Buncher explains. It was only after Simons asked Buncher to back him on drums for some solo gigs that the two realized their talents were best utilized as a unit. “It felt like something new was happening,” Buncher recalls of an early joint songwriting session with Simons. “We just knew where our musical Venn diagram overlapped,” he adds, while Buncher says everything immediately “blended quite nicely.”

“Even when we started playing some shows, it was more of a laptop-bedroom project,” Simons admits. “It was just a very cerebral thing.” Gradually though, as both musicians began sharing lead-singing duties -- not to mention when Buncher’s drum was moved to the front of the stage and was now equal with Simons’ microphone -- the musicians started to feel like a legitimate band -- one in which both members literally and metaphorically stood on equal footing. “In a lot of our songs now the message is ‘we,’” Buncher explains. “It’s universal but also a very personal message from the two of us. We’re both singing together in unison. You can’t necessarily tell whose voice is whose.”

Having grown as musical collaborators, partners, and, most importantly, friends, TeamMate are finally at a point of being realistically optimistic and excited about their future. “We’ve finally figured out who we are,” Buncher says. “It’s time to put out a record that represents our growth as people and our growth as musicians.”

“If we had told each other back in college: ‘You are going to date for 10 years, break up and then start a band and tour,’ we would have never believed it,” Simons says. “The whole story that’s led to this moment is so convoluted and crazy, but I wouldn’t change it. It’s led to this incredible collaboration.”
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change