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Toro Y Moi

Toro Y Moi

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Wednesday 4th January, 2012 11:45AM

Toro Y Moi released his sophomore full length album at the start of last year and spent the rest of 2011 touring the world gaining inspiration for follow-up output. UTR caught up with Chazwick Bundick to chat about touring, the latest album and what we can expect from him going forward.

It must have felt surreal to get to the end of 2011 - it was a massive year for you.

Yeah it’s pretty crazy considering how many places we’ve been and how often we’ve been playing. It’s crazy how much our fan base has grown, too.

You spent a large part of the year touring; are you exhausted? Tell me a little bit about your tour experience.

It can be tiring at times but you just need to take like one weeks break and you feel better again. I don’t completely dislike it, you know music is a job now that I have to start taking seriously, you know.

Obviously the success of the last year has changed your approach to the industry and your craft. Tell me a little bit about how you've changed as an artist.

Because I’m on an indie label things are a bit more lax than on a major label when it comes to the album making my only dilemma is probably time. So like creatively there’s no pressure - other than the time constraints I can do whatever I want.

You released an album - Underneath the Pine - at the start of 2011. Tell me a little bit about the writing and recording process for that one.

The last record was written in between tours. So yeah it was kind of hard to get in that writing vibe but now I’m trying to go back into writing I’m trying to pick that vibe up again – it’s tough!

Was there anything you were exploring in particular on the album?

Yeah I was trying to make a record that was as timeless as possible. It was a challenge because a lot of the songs didn’t sound the same but I think they still work together because of the recording process. I was trying to keep everything from getting too compressed; I wanted it to be a dynamic album.

Was there anything musically or otherwise that you were inspired by at the time?

Not really I was just writing about pretty random stuff at the time.

Is there any kind of message on the album? Do you write your albums like that at all?

Sometimes I do, it really changes. Once in a while I’ll freak out and be like ‘OK there’s got to be a theme for this album’ and I get in that groove, but at the moment I’m just writing things every day that will hopefully come together at the end. I’m not trying to force the idea of making the album I’m just making songs and see what I get.

So you’re working on new stuff at the moment? How does it differ from the last album?

I'm totally branching out and trying to see where I can take it.

The sound of the first couple of albums is pretty specific. What drew you to those sorts of sounds in the first place?

I was just influenced by what I was listening to at the time. I was listening to of My Bloody Valentine, J Dilla and Yo La Tengo and for the second record I was listening to more seventies pop soundtracks - Serge Gainsbourg and the like.

Going back, tell us a little bit about how Toro Y Moi began?

I was 15 and I was making recordings on my own as a side project to my band. It started as an acoustic thing but then it turned into an electronic / multi-genre sort of thing. I think that I got more interested in exploring different genres and I didn’t want to lock myself into a sound hole with a band. I’m really happy with how things are going and it’s like if I was to record an acoustic song it wouldn’t be that unexpected; it wouldn’t catch people off guard too much because people expect me to jump around and explore things.

And do you like working solo as opposed to being in a band?

Overall it’s nicer because you sort of just do your own thing and whether it’s your need of meditating or working on things and having your alone time. Other than the songwriting process there’s lots of people involved in everything. We tour as a band now so getting the chance to work on things by myself is pretty awesome.

You studied graphic design at university right?

Yep, totally.

Is the visual part of your creative output important to you? How do you work to combine the sonic and visual elements of your output?

I just try to base the image off the album - it’s more natural to work on it that way. When it comes to choosing the picture for the cover I guess I try to make sure there’s some sort of connection - I don’t like it to be too random - whether it be a colour theme or the subject. For the first record it had that underwater look because the album had a weird underwater vibe and I chose a nineties font because I felt it was totally influenced by that, and then for the second record I choose something up close and intimate and soft and pastel colours because I felt that worked for the emotional element of the album. It’s also a nod to seventies record covers because they were always photographs or something like ‘this is what it is’, it was right there without too much photoshopping or anything.

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