In 2010, it seems like everybody and their mom is releasing an album. Chaz Bundick, however, is doing one better with his project Toro y Moi. His debut, the glo-fi hit Causers of This, was released last month and his next album—which will be non-electronic songs—will be snuggling your ears come summer.
But you can’t blame him for inundating 2010 with his material; if you had caught the attention of Kanye West and Gorilla VS Bear before even signing to a label, you’d want to keep that momentum going as well. Plus the 23-year-old Bundick is fresh out of college, having just graduated from the University of South Carolina’s graphic design program last year; so he has the time to give Toro y Moi all the attention it deserves.
“Music was always on my mind, but I never thought the chance would come,” said Bundick, who has been working as Toro y Moi since 2001. And his design expertise does not go to waste, as it is put to work via his album layouts and other merchandise.
Although he is now signed to Carpark Records, when he initially sent out demo kits to record labels, responses were nowhere to be found. That’s when he turned to music blogs. “I saw on the side of most blogs they had e-mails where you could submit stuff. I thought, ‘why not?’ said Bundick. “This just comes to show where the music industry’s direction may head… [Before the blogs], it was hard for a label to determine if an artist had enough ‘buzz’, potential, and/or following.”
Bundick was born and raised in South Carolina and is a self-described “full-blooded Southern boy.” He intends on staying that way after deciding a couple of weeks ago that he would not move to New York post-blog success like his electro contemporary Neon Indian. Bundick likes small cities/communities, like his beloved Columbia, South Carolina, although he might make the move to Virginia, North Carolina, or Georgia very soon.
“Even though New York and Brooklyn has its areas that are like smaller cities, it’s still so fast-paced, cutthroat and competitive,” he said. “Also, it used to be you move to New York City to get ahead, and with technology and specifically the inter-web, you can do that from anywhere.”
Despite that the tracks on Causers of This sound extremely intricate in their production, Bundick says that each song takes only two to three days to complete. And the lyrics are no intricate web of lies either; he says that the people he sings about in his songs often get annoyed because the lyrics are way too honest.
In fact, Bundick divulged that the single “Talamak” is about a relationship he had that ended after four years because of time and distance. “We ended on really good terms but it sucked knowing the best thing was to end it,” said Bundick. Another song of his, the lovelorn “Fax Shadow,” is about the same girl after she told him that she found someone new.
Heartbreak might be one of the contributing influences his lyrics, but he attributes Broken Social Scene in having a huge influence on his sound in general. Bundick is playing at this year’s SXSW, but his goal at the festival is to see Broken Social Scene’s set, having only seen them in concert once before.
So how do you go from fresh-faced college grad to being responsible for the anthem of 2k10 with “Blessa,” according to Hipster Runoff? Is it attention from blogs? A record deal? An unwavering love for the South?
His advice: “Make sure you’re doing something you like even it’s not what you spend most of your time doing”.
Toro y Moi will be playing at The Drake in Toronto with Ruby Suns on Tuesday, March 30th.
Posted by : Melissa Kim