Toro y Moi's new album, What For?, comes out April 7.

Interview: Toro Y Moi, “When Life Throws Shit At You, Make Music Out Of It”

Chillwave Godfather Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi had a killer 2016. His inventive concept album Live In Trona, a live album performed in the desert with no crowd, offered another unique insight into the artsy world that Chaz lives in. The mix of his perpetual work ethic and a seemingly laid back attitude has always been a point of intrigue, particularly when observing how his work can be so consistent, and so consistently everchanging. At the end of last year Bundick wrapped up a tour with The Mattson 2, identical twins Jared (guitar) and Jonathan (drums), who were on Bundick’s Live From Trona. The trio works so well they have decided to put out an album, which is due out at the end of March.

We were lucky to speak to Bundick over the phone at the very end of 2016 about his new album and how he keeps motivated.


How’s 2016 treated you, it’s been a busy year?

Good, I guess. It’s been crazy. I’m getting through it, you know, it’s hard. But for the most part I’ve been working on music. That’s kind of what I do, when life throws shit at you, you just make music out of it.

You’ve put out a lot this year, and are always announcing new projects.

Yeah, dude. Just putting out music. The Trona thing was fun and the whole album that came with that. I’ve also recorded a bunch of stuff for Company Records. I’ve been working on their artists records. And just doing some art stuff on the side.

You do so much! How do you stay on top of it all?

I don’t know *laughs* It’s seriously like I have to find myself something to do. I get bored so fast, so I like tinkering and making stuff. When you can find a way to survive off of it, it just becomes even more habitual. Why not just make everything I want?

You’ve recently wrapped up a tour with The Mattson 2, how was that? Did you road test any of the new material?

That tour was really fun, but we didn’t play any of the new material. Just being on the road was a good test drive to what the tours going to be like. We have played really well before. The record was super fun to make, it will kind of liberating to perform it, in shows based on the project.


You’ll be out in Australia in March. What keeps you coming back every year?

Well, people keeping asking for me to come back out there. And we love going to Australia, so yeah, let’s do it. It’s paradise, it’s so exotic.

You’re playing Pitch Music Festival, for which the tagline is, “it’s as much about the setting as the sound.” Given the Live From Trona album was set out in the wilderness, are you excited to play a festival with a similar vibe?

Dang! That’s awesome! I’m stoked on that then. That’s going to be amazing, I didn’t know that.

Did you have to adjust the kind of music you played when you were out in the open? Do the acoustics change?

No, I thought recording outside would be pretty dead. That’s kind of the sound we were going for. The only issue was making sure we didn’t get too much wind in the microphones. We had plenty of wind screens around the mic. Pretty much we went dry, so it was pretty easy to get the sound we wanted.

I read that you were paying a lot of attention to the colours when you put that project together. Is that something you often pay a lot of attention to?

Yeah, the desert definitely has amazing colour. The whole mystic of the title was pink. So we kind of wanted to emphasis the colour pallet of the desert. The desert colours have always been my favourite. It’s the best colour pallet.

Does that show in your paintings?

Not too much. My colours in painting aren’t desert colours, but for that style of music that was the pallet that we wanted. My paintings aren’t really that style though.


Can you tell me a bit about your work as Plum?

The Plum stuff is really good. It’s my outlet from ambient music.

Are we going to see more from Plum?

Possibly. It’s kind of like each day I might mess with my art a little or make some ambient music. That’s how it happens.

Your music has often been classed as chillwave, what do you think of the need to describe music by genre? When someone like your self blurs to many genre lines and has tons of influences and styles?

I feel like, especially with chillwave, it’s a plus. To be considered part of that movement is almost like an honour. The fact that you’re listening to something on the radio and someone will say, ‘oh it’s like chillwave.’ and you’re like ‘what?’ I know how it happens too, you know it’s so easy. You’ve got Travis Scott, he sampled Toro on Washed Out. So chillwave people know what it is now, so crazy how it came about, but it’s cool. I mean I got really lucky.

Toro Y Moi Tour Dates

March, 5th – Perth, Australia – Perth Festival
March 10th – Melbourne, Australia – Pitch Music Festival
March 11th – Melbourne, Australia – Pitch Music Festival
March 12th – Melbourne, Australia – Pitch Music Festival
March 13th – Melbourne, Australia – Pitch Music Festival

Image: NPR