For Chaz Bundick, known by his stage name Toro Y Moi, “being creative is the best solution for an unfulfilled life.”
Like most musicians nowadays, Bundick had an early start on the music scene; he began playing piano at the tender age of eight and composing his own music when he was 15. Bundwick also played in an indie rock band in his high school years.
“I was writing stuff that sounded like Weezer and the Pixies,” said Bundick.
Obviously, his older material is a sound that differs very largely from the chillwave movement that Toro Y Moi is now associated with.
Chillwave, which is a musical genre characterized by an ambient, electro-pop and post-punk-revival feel, has been gaining much appeal and attention lately with acts like Toro Y Moi and Neon Indian firing up music blogs. However, Bundick refuses to confine his music to one specific label.
“I don’t like defining my sound,” he said, “but the easiest way to characterize my music is pop.”
Bundick’s debut album Causers of This, released in 2010 on Carpark Records, received overall positive and promising feedback from major music reviewers. It was described by NME as “a woozy kaleidoscopic voyage, sending you in and out of consciousness with each splendidly shoddy lo-fi recording.”
His sophomore album, Underneath the Pine, which was released in 2011, saw similar praise. According to Pitchfork, the album “[imbues] pastoral, acoustic plucks and synth drones with rhythmic purpose, and making retro chic somehow still sound futuristic.”
Currently on tour in Europe, Bundick’s third and latest album, Anything in Return, was released in January. Bundick admits there isn’t much difference between his latest record and his two others, except for the fact that Anything in Return was the first album to be recorded in a studio.
Though his songs are original and fairly intricate, Bundick says he doesn’t have a set writing process.
“My writing process is completely random,” he explained. “I like working from home the most. The easiest and best thing to write about is your life at that very moment.”
When asked what the fan reaction has been on tour so far, Bundick was hesitant to find the right words.
“Playing new stuff live is bittersweet,” he said. “It’s nice to play something new on stage but then again it’s stuff people don’t know and they aren’t familiar with […] so that can end in several ways.”
Despite his success in the musical world, Bundick said that his music career “just happened,” as if out of thin air. Bundick graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, but fell into music.
“This is a dream job,” he said. “I was aware that this path may very well not happen.” But, thankfully, it did.
Trial Track: “So Many Details”
Toro Y Moi plays Club Soda Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. with Dog Bite and Wild Belle.