The Parklife Interview: Toro y Moi

 

As Toro y Moi, Chaz Bundick has been combining art-pop, funk and indie since 2001. His latest third album ‘Anything In Return’ has seen him develop his sound toward a refined, pop-influenced direction, with a wider range of influences from Arthur Russell to The-Dream.

Returning to Europe this summer, Toro stop off at Parklife as part of a huge Now Wave line-up on Sunday 9th June. We caught up with Chaz for a quick chat about his current projects and his approach to songwriting and production.

How are things at your end? You just got back from South America right?

Yeah, it was awesome. Not crazy hot down there, but it was cool. We were out there for about a week. I’ve done South America before – it’s a bit like the States meets Europe, or something. It’s a bit strange.

You’re living in California now, having moved from South Carolina. How important do you think that’s been in your development towards a style of music that’s slightly different, with a bit more of a hook-based pop approach?

Yeah, I moved maybe a year and a half ago, before the album was done. It’s way different – everything from the weather to the food to the aesthetic and feel of it. Overall, it’s a good vibe here. I like it a lot.

That’s what I was trying to do, to make it a bit more of an R ‘n’ B, pop-based album. Really, I don’t think the move out here was the main factor. It’s kind of like me always wanting to make an album like this, combined with having the resources out here. Being able to work in the studio like how I did with this album was definitely a big factor. I still sort of do everything at home and bring it into the studio to work on it later. My methods are still sort of the same. I’m not a big fan of working in the studio until it’s ready to be finalized.

How’s it been being on the road, to places like South America, and consolidating the old and new material in the same set?

Overall, it’s mixed. Some of the new stuff is really easy to do live and some stuff is a bit harder. For this album, I really wanted the songwriting to be strong first and then you can see how the production can make it even stronger. So if we’re playing it live, it doesn’t have to have to have same arrangement. That’s really one of the things that I learned from previous records, is that some of the songs weren’t that flexible when it came to playing them live; it just sounded like we were covering the song.

Do you think that’s because of the music itself, or it’s you developing as a performer to become more comfortable to change arrangements and add an element of improvisation and flexibility?

I think maybe both. You sort of learn over time that’s a combination of me feeling more comfortable and more ambitious with the songwriting and producing. A combination of those things makes it easier to be flexible and try new things, or even not do certain things; even if a song is a single, you might not play it because it’s not working live. I’ve been performing and playing shows since I was 15 now and I’ve always had that approach to where, if you’re not 100 per cent about it, then why are you doing it? No-one’s making you play the songs, so you don’t have to play it. The guys I’m playing with aren’t just studio musicians, they’re guys I’ve grown up with since I was in elementary school, college, middle school, high school, you know. We’ve done things together before this band, so we all make decisions to make the show as strong as possible

You’ve done three albums worth of Toro y Moi material, and you’re now producing separately under the name of Les Sins. What is it that makes you desire a new project?

I’ve been wanting to write songs like these for a long time and it just sort of came down to making time for it. These are very different songs – they’re producer-based and they’re not pop songs. The main motivation for Les Sins was to have a project that allows you to experiment without worrying about alienating any of your fans, and just sort of explore the whole electronic music genre. I think that it’s always fun to experiment with stuff and when you keep it all under one name, it makes it hard sometimes because certain assumptions are made after you’ve made your first few albums. So it’s allowed me to do what I want.

What’s it been like releasing material through Dan Snaith’s (Caribou, Daphni) label? Is he a good person to work closely with?

Oh, definitely. He’s an awesome guy and he’s an idol of mine, for sure. I’ve always looked up to him. We went on tour back in 2010 and I just got to see how he worked, and how the band works. It’s pretty amazing, the work ethic they share. He’s such a smart dude as well. Working with Dan is great.

How are you feeling about playing at Parklife this year? Are you looking forward to returning to Manchester?

I remember playing at The Deaf Institute. That was awesome. We’ve never really had the chance to spend too much time in Manchester, but playing in England and Ireland, it’s got more of a stress-free feel, for sure. [In America], having to travel in a van and fly every day, it’s a little bit harder to get in the groove of things. I’m looking forward to it. The music scene and the way the crowd receives that genre of music, everyone’s a little bit more experienced and more into it.

Toro y Moi appear as part of Now Wave’s Sunday line-up, headlined by The Horrors and Everything Everything

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities