Toro Y Moi's Chaz Bundick Talks Working Alone vs. Playing With a Band

Categories: Q&A
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Toro Y Moi is 23-year-old Chazwick Bundick. Started as a side-project from his traditional band, The Heist and The Accomplice, his goal was to experiment, sample, and create something sincere for himself. The sound has since been lumped into the Chillwave category, a genre that has lots of reverb, sampling, and sunny melodies.

His music definitely fits that category, but it isn't the genre name that's appealing. It's Bundwick's personal lyrics, his warm voice, and the sentimental feeling that really brings people in to his music. Computers are no longer the future, and using 80's style synths is retro, but Toro Y Moi's style and approach is the here and now. It's music with a sense of immediacy and honesty.

New Times caught up with Bundick recently, and in his friendly and soothing voice, we talked about his first band, his dance side-project, Les Sins and the unplanned success of Toro Y Moi.

New Times: Is Saturday going to be your first time in Miami?

Toro Y Moi: Yeah, we're only going to be here for one day, really. Going to try and see as much as we can.

We're excited that you're coming. Before Toro Y Moi, you were in the Heist and The Accomplice. What was that band's goal?

We had started in high school. We were going for a new, innovative sound. I sort of fell out of it -- lost interest. It wasn't that different than many other bands that were touring at that time. It was kind of cheesy, a little bit ironic. The lyrics for Toro Y Moi come easier to me, opposed to writing songs with other people. I work better alone.

How did you start doing solo stuff?

I started doing it for fun. I didn't send demos out our tour with Toro Y Moi - the Heist, we made press kits, sold merch, all the typical stuff a band does when they're trying to "make it." With this, I just sent out some MP3s to a few blogs. I realized that the industry was changing. There's no A&R guy scouting bands at shows. If it's good music, most likely something will happen with it. It's really caught on. It's crazy. It caught me off guard to think what just sending a couple of little emails could do.

You started Toro Y Moi on the side, just for fun. How did the guys in the band react to the success and attention the side-project was receiving?

We're still cool. Initially, they were bummed, so was I. I didn't get it. We worked so hard as a band, all that effort and it wasn't paying off. Now, they're all happy with me. Happy that someone is gonna make it out of Columbia. The bassist Patrick Jeffords, is coming with me for the live Toro Y Moi shows.

Initially you'd go on tour by yourself, what makes up the full band?

It's be a three-piece band. Keyboards, drummer, and a bassist. I'll be playing some samples, too.

You studied Graphic Design, do you make all your own album art?

I design all my artwork. My stuff is on Carpark, it's run by one guy, Todd Hyman. He is really awesome. He likes to let bands experiment, he just rolls with what they present to him.

You're constantly creating. How did your other side project, Les Sins, come about?

I was doing both at the same time. I was interested in House Music and dance music. People were trying to book Toro Y Moi as a DJ ... I'm not a DJ, I don't know how to DJ. Toro Y Moi is a personal, sentimental project. If I tour as Les Sins, it'll be more of a dance show; as opposed to performing with a band.

The New York Times called chillwave, "recession-era music: low-budget and danceable," how do you take that description?

I can understand that more than chillwave. If you can do it yourself for cheaper, it's all always a better option.

Toro Y Moi, at 10 pm, Saturday, September 18. Electric Pickle, 2826 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-456-5613; electricpicklemiami.com. Tickets now cost $15 in advance from residentadvisor.net.

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