Toro y Moi: "Soon, No One Will Ask Me About Chillwave Anymore"
Photo by Andrew Paynter
Don't call Chaz Bundick's sound chillwave.
The California-based producer might have found his Toro y Moi project pigeonholed as such during its early Internet-based breakout phase, but anyone following his sonic evolution should know he has decidedly shed that dubious classification.
"I feel that my sound has changed so much that, soon, no one will ask me about chillwave anymore," he tells Crossfade.
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There's certainly nothing chill about Bundick's most recent album, 2013's critically acclaimed Anything in Return.
Sure, it has a few slow jams, but it's a groovy uptempo affair for the most part, imbued with '90s garage house flavors and bouncy beats you can practically dance to.
Sampling old records, of course, had a significant influence on the album's production aesthetic.
"It's fun to dig around and see what you find," says Bundick, a notorious crate digger. "I recently bought a portable turntable and it's really helped with wanting to listen to whatever looks interesting.
"Samples aren't essential though," he explains. "I like to start songs with a drum sample and let that set the mood for the rest of the song. It's nice to have a little kick-start. But I usually try not to have the song rely entirely on the sample."
"I was listening to a lot of things ranging from house to psych-rock," Bundick says of the influences on the album. "Whenever I listen to tracks, I'm always looking for drum sounds. Not samples, but the actual production of it -- reverbs, panning, anything really to get inspired."
His growing interest in more song-oriented genres like rock actually saw him surprise fans last year with the first single from his folksy psych-rock side project, Sides of Chaz.
"It's nice to just record something, not care if it's perfect, and keep it for what it is," he says. "That's what Sides of Chaz is mainly for and about. Like Toro, it too spans different genres, but it has more happy mistakes and a raw approach."
Bundick isn't neglecting the fans of his dancier electronic sensibilities, however. Another side project, Les Sins, picks up where Anything in Return left off on house music, offering punchier, euphoric grooves ready-made for the dance floor.
"Les Sins is something I'm going to focus on more," he promises. "I like to think of it as a project to make house and dance music under."
But it'll be all about Toro y Moi when Bundick takes the Grand Central stage next week. And with a full band to help him present the material from the new album live, it's your chance to see just how far he's come from chillwave.
"I'm superexcited about playing in Miami," he says. "It's been so long since we've been there and I'm excited for fans to see how much we've changed as a live band.
"We're now a five-piece and we're pretty much going for a psychedelic funk vibe," he hints. "The last few times we were in Miami, I wasn't fully satisfied with the show, but now I feel like it's something to be showcased."
Toro Y Moi. With Caveman. Tuesday, February 18. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are sold out via ticketfly.com. All ages. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.
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