For our first Put Your Headphones On Friday post, we introduce you to Toro y Moi, whose music makes a good soundtrack to road trips, lazy summer parties or while doing your humdrum chores!
The first song that I’ve ever heard of Toro y Moi was 109 – a catchy, lo-fi track that reminded me of sun and surf, for some odd reason. I instantly liked it, but who is this Toro y Moi guy, exactly? A couple of Google searches later I find out that he is Chaz Bundick – A South Carolina resident with a degree in Graphic Design. More Googling, and I landed on his personal blog, an archive of random doodles and pictures taken with film (and some digital). Hmm, interesting.
I’m not really familiar with the music genres that people come up with these days, but a couple of years ago he was part of the short-lived “chillwave” movement, which was associated with laptop-based, hiphop/shoegaze/ambient-inspired music. While most of his chillwave peers disappeared into oblivion, Toro y Moi continued creating music with his computer and synths, and released his debut album ‘Causers of This’:
With lyrics such as “When can we get together again? / Never mind, I’ve lost you / How can I tell if I love you any more? / Never mind, I know I do” (from Talamak), Toro y Moi easily became one of the most re-blogged and re-tweeted in Tumblr and Twitter universe, but critics were in a hurry to dismiss him as a hipster trend. When he came up with a stripped-down version to one of his songs You Hid (devoting hours to play all the instruments himself) he set out to prove that he’s more than just a laptop-lugging electronic musician, but a talented multi-instrumentalist. Take away the digital beats and samples, replace it with real instruments, and there you have it – a lovely pop song radiating a warm, analogue feeling.
With his latest offering ‘Underneath the Pine’, Chaz did a 360 and gathered his friends to create a full band setup. Tinkering with live instruments and performing with his band – Jordan Blackmon (guitar) Patrick Jeffords (bass) and Andy Woodward (drums), Toro y Moi offered an interesting mix of laid-back and disco-fueled tracks evoking a soulful, vintage vibe. Think ’70s – ’80s analogue synths, funky bass lines and catchy beats.
Watch the music video for “Still Sound” directed by Steve Daniels, who did an amazing job with a Super 8 camera and Kodak Ektachrome 100D film:
Currently, Chaz and his friends are preoccupied with touring, and they make sure to document their life on the road with their cameras and blogs. Check them out – they post analogue photos, too (Jordan uses random 35mm point-and-shoot cameras including a Yashica T4 and Rollei Prego 90)!