Toro Y Moi answers our Questions of Doom
Toro Y Moi (aka Chaz Bundick) is a pop alchemist. The essential genius of Toro Y Moi is his ability to transverse both the avant guard and pop music to his own swirling, bizarro funk, mixed with the Beach Boys, and adding a slight new wave stomp, charm and effervescent choral harmonies to his productions. If you want evidence, why not check out his cover of Michael Jackson's Human Nature? Or better yet, catch him on his Beneath the Pine.
Hey Chaz, how are you doing?
Hey, I’m fine. I’m currently on tour, in the car.
What are the secret origins of Toro Y Moi?
It started as bedroom project and it pretty much still is at the moment…
I think your choice of name is interesting, how and what does it say to the music within?
I came up with the name whilst in the car on a family road trip. I remember seeing several things in a row that caught my eye and I combined them in my head. I like how it’s two ethnicity’s - like me, I’m half Black, half Filipino.
What is your main musical ambition with Toro Y Moi?
The main ambition with Toro Y Moi is a combination of a few things: to keep changing sounds and to be accessible. Another thing is I ask myself ‘Would I listen to this’? - you know, stuff like that. If I feel that a certain sound is played out or overdone, that’s when I’d throw it out or move on.
Is Toro Y Moi the sound of the suburbs? Do you think creative power is achieved by boredom?
I wouldn’t go that far to call it the sound of the suburbs but, I think that going and growing up in the suburbs has effected how I’ve found and made music. I was heavily influenced by my parents record collection and one thing that most suburban homes have—MTV (but of course, it was a different type of channel then). Creative power is born once you feed it—so not necessarily boredom, more like wondering thoughts.
Your music is similar to post punk like Family Fodder - what is the strength for you in deconstructing musical influence and representing it in a new way?
Sorry to say I’ve never heard of them but, when it comes to producing the songs, there are obvious nods to certain genres with the reverbs I use or the way something is compressed. So I’m definitely aware of what or who things sound like, but by combining sounds and other genres. Also, I usually don’t stray too far from pop structure.
You are out to promote Toro Y Moi, the live show - what is the difference between recorded Toro Y Moi and live Toro Y Moi?
The live show has a more organic feel. I’m using live loops and merging the songs together. I would like my albums to be more for interpretation and the shows to be more upbeat and fun.
What is the greatest misconception of Toro Y Moi?
Haha my name! Everyone get its wrong! I get Toro y Moy, Toro y Moro, Toro Y MIO! haha! (editor’s note (we were spelling it MIO throughout the interview!)
What is the greatest secret of Toro Y Moi?
Can’t tell you…
Do you find with DIY music culture that the time lag between having a musical idea, applying it, and releasing it is better or more freeing for you? And how would you summarise the sound of the two albums?
I think its a good feeling to know that once I have an idea for a song i can get it a real product out of it, if i want. To sum it up album 1: dreamy/pop/r & b and then album 2: 70s/funk/soul.
You’ve captured something kinda of cool and summery with your record covers - who designs them and do you try to match it to the music within?
I do all my design work. I went to school for graphic design, so i’d like to keep that skill still going also.
What is going down on your stereo? What records or bands should we be checking out?
Hmmmm right now i’ve been listening to the Lines, 10cc, Dog Bite, and Arthur Russell