Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, 24-year-old Chaz Bundick (aka Toro Y Moi) has been toying with various musical projects since early adolescence. Having spent his formative years playing in punk and indie rock acts, the protean Toro Y Moi project has been his vessel for further musical exploration since 2001. In his latter years studying graphic design at the University of South Carolina, Chaz became increasingly focused on his solo work, incorporating electronics and allowing a wider range of influences—French house, Brian Wilson’s pop, 80s R&B, and Stones Throw hip-hop—to show up in his music. By the time he graduated in spring 2009, Chaz had refined his sound to something all his own, and music journals across the board touted his hazy recordings as the sound of the summer.
Chaz started off 2010, which would prove to be Toro’s flagship year, by releasing his debut, Causers of This, in February. He toured extensively in support of the album, adding two more members—a bassist and drummer—to his live show, and steadily accrued more supporters and acclaim. Summer saw the release of the “Leave Everywhere” 7”, and in fall he issued a 12” single under his house music moniker, Les Sins. Always a prolific creator, Chaz used the sparse downtime between tours to prepare and record his sophomore album.
Having spent the year listening to film composers like Françoise de Roubaix and Ennio Morricone, Chaz returned to his parents’ home in Columbia, the birthplace of many Toro tracks of yore, to bring his new ideas to fruition. The result of these sessions is Underneath the Pine, a deeply personal album that sees him putting down the samples and electronics and relying completely on live instrumentation.
Out on February 22, Underneath the Pine is a record evocative of R. Stevie Moore’s homespun ruminations, David Axelrod’s sonic scope, the spacey disco of Mandre, and the pervasive funk of his first record. It’s a new phase for an artist whose diverse curiosities make his music difficult to classify. In addition, 2011 has seen the release of his acclaimed sophomore album, Underneath the Pine, remix work for Tyler, the Creator, and Cut Copy, a split 7" with Cloud Nothings, and a steady stream of international tour dates which continues this Fall with another full run of North American tour dates, most of which will feature the excellent Unknown Mortal Orchestra as openers.
Just over halfway through what's already been a busy year, the prolific producer has a brand new batch of lavishly funky material to offer. Bundick's forthcoming EP, is no sloppily assembled bunch of Pine session throwaways. The Freaking Out EP was put to tape in June during a period of touring quiescence. The release finds Bundick reveling in twenty minutes of boogie, roping in the heavy sounds of groups like the Gap Band and Mtume. While the first two tracks are modern takes on the 80s post-disco vibe, "Sweet" sounds like the product of a Todd Edwards and Teddy Riley collaboration, with smooth synths weaving in and out of meticulously chopped and arranged vocal samples. The New Jack influence spills over into the cover of Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neill's "Saturday Love," in which a swing beat carries along fluttering piano lines steeped in delay. The EP's crown jewel, "I Can Get Love," sees Bundick assimilating styles of each of his to-date releases, with the synthesized funk of Causers of This, the irresistible hooks of Pine, and dance alias Les Sins' penchant for filter effects and house beats. Full of energy and crafted with a conciseness that begs repeated listens, Freaking Out is Toro Y Moi's most concentrated venture into pure dance floor hedonism. Toro recently had a song on the HBO show entourage also.
Toro y Moi mixtape for the Quietus
Toro Y Moi live video and interview on Noisey
Toro Y Moi interview on Life and Times
Toro Y Moi makes Song of the Day on KEXP
Toro Y Moi receives 8.4 and best new music honors from Pitchfork
Toro Y Moi album featured on BBC
Toro Y Moi's "Still Sound" featured on Pitchfork's Forkcast
Toro Y Moi "Undeneath the Pine" review by Drowned in Sound
Toro Y Moi's "New Beat" receives Best New Music from Pitchfork
Toro Y Moi Daytrotter Session