Listeners of chillwave and electronic music sure have heard of Toro Y Moi. Formed in 2007, its main man Chaz Bundick has released three studio albums that gained enough attention not only from the media but from various audiences as well.
Currently touring in the USA and Europe, Toro Y Moi’s live act is composed of Chaz on vocals and synths, Patrick Jeffords on bass, Andy Woodward on drums, and Jordan Blackmon on guitars. With a new record out called Anything in Return plus a busy schedule to boot, who would have thought that these guys have time to shoot in analogue?
Lucky are we for being able to score an interview with guitarist Jordan during their roundabouts in the USA. Read on this entertaining interview plus see behind the scenes Toro Y Moi photos all shot by Jordan during their tour!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jordan Blackmon, I studied photo and video stuff at the University of South Carolina. I play guitar in Toro Y Moi.
When did you start taking film photos?
When I was a kid, I shot a lot of Polaroids and would use a lot of disposable cameras. In high school a friend of mine built a dark room and taught me how to process and print. This sparked my interest/obsession and I went on to focus on photography in college. I continued shooting film up until the end of college (when I was given a digital SLR.) I shot with a digital camera for a couple of years, but got tired of lugging it around. My friend Brett came to visit me in San Francisco. I have always liked his photos and was impressed that they were the results of a little point and shoot Yashica. I found one on Craigslist and have had one in my pocket about 99% of the time since then.
What’s your favourite camera and film (and why do you like it?)
I don’t really have much of a camera collection. I shoot with a Yashica T4. I also have a Rollei Prego 90. The flash really blows everything out on that one, but when you shoot sans flash the colors are very nice. It also has a cool panoramic setting. Hopefully I will be able to buy some more cameras after a couple more tours. I really like the ones that shoot a half a frame (so a 36 exposure roll would end up being 72 exposures.) I also used to have a rad 80’s Panasonic Prosumer VHS camcorder. I was filming a lot with that, but it took a beer bath in Seattle last November and broke. I don’t really have a film brand preference. I tend to just shoot whatever 400 speed film I can find.
You’ve been documenting your tour using film – why choose analogue?
I have been looking into getting a nice digital camera so I can shoot/update a lot more, but I would probably just do what Chaz and Patrick do. They always carry a 35mm camera and digital camera. I feel like each has it’s place. I will continue to shoot film for a lot of reasons, though. I have always been happy with the results, and love the excitement and anticipation of waiting to see how everything turned out. That gets lost with a digital camera.
If you could take a picture of anything or anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
I don’t know that I have an answer for that. I have trouble taking pictures of people that I don’t really know (unless I have been drinking.) I need to start working on that…
Toro y Moi has been touring heavily the past few months! Any funny/strange/interesting moments while on tour? Where do you want to go next?
Tour see-saws between amazing moments and staring at the lines on the road. I love this life I live. I’m excited about seeing the world – we have Europe next month, Asia, and South America later… And I’m really excited about going back to Australia eventually. I really enjoyed our time there.
Who/what inspires you visualy and musically?
My friends. I love Chaz and Patrick’s art. Jen Ray and Lauren Gregory are insanely talented and have always been very encouraging. Homies like Adam Drawdy and Travis Gire do some amazing art work, and this girl from San Francisco (via North Carolina) named Helena Price takes awesome photos and runs a nice Tumblr. I really like the Lovebryan website, and I grew up skateboading and admiring artists like Ed Templeton and Mark Gonzalez. I think that covers a lot of what gets me visually stoked. Musically, I have also been finding a lot of inspiration in friends — Coma Cinema, Chemical Peel, Those Lavender Whales, BRAIDS… I think I could go on forever about this!
What’s next for Toro y Moi?
More work and fun than I can begin to comprehend.
For Toro Y Moi’s tour dates, visit www.toroymoi.com. Also check out their latest video for single “Say That.”