Pinnacles & Peaks: Toro Y Moi guest programs Dusty Fingers
March 22nd 2017
- Toro Y Moi :: Guest Program on Dusty Fingers (08.03.17)
“I feel like trying to find the right balance of accessibility and progressiveness in music is hard. But I like to play with that; I feel like it’s a forgotten art in itself.”
Chaz Bundick, aka Toro Y Moi, has never been afraid to stretch the boundaries of his musical creativity. Whether he’s recording in a bedroom or in the depths of barren lands, he’s an artist that will do anything to get that perfect sound. Before his recent show at Oxford Art Factory, Chaz joined Marty Doyle for an hour of music and insight on Dusty Fingers.
Toro Y Moi’s latest endeavour has been unique, to say the least. Late last year, Chaz released his seventh album under the moniker. Accompanied by a concert film, Live From Trona was recorded live, without an audience, in California’s Mojave Desert.
“It was at a place called Trona Pinnacles,” Chaz explains. “They’re a type of mineral deposit that stacked up when that area was still underwater, and they’ve just sort of remained as these pinnacles in the middle of the desert… It was pretty much right up our alley, as far as locations, because it’s trippy looking. It looks like the moon, or Mars.”
“Where we were, there were no lizards or snakes or anything. It was bizarre. The only thing you could find that was a source of human life was aeroplane noise.”
“Other than that, it was just 30 of us in the middle of nowhere. We drove a tour bus ten miles on a dirt road just to get to this place.”
“It was a surreal experience because it went by so fast – we did it all in one day. To wake up and fly into LAX the next day was, like… what?”
By travelling to this strange, desolate landmark, Chaz sought to create a sonic work that embodied that unique atmosphere.
“It’s funny because that album, when you listen to it, is really dry,” Chaz explains. “The drums are straight dry, there’s no reverb. I was kinda looking forward to recording outside just for that reason, because the sound was going to be in a vacuum.”
“I’m definitely the type of creative that lets the environment influence their work. I think it’s almost inevitable.”
He’s certainly never been afraid to explore new territory. Having risen as one of the pioneering “chillwave” artists around 2010-11, Toro Y Moi has since dabbled in pop, indie rock, funk, hip hop and almost everything in between.
“I love the world where my music sits right now. I don’t think it has to be just indie sounding, or just pop.”
So what’s next for Chaz as an artist?
“I feel like that film was the cherry on top for this phase of Toro. And when I say that, I mean the live aspect.”
“I feel like I made a point already – we filmed it. I want to focus more on production, really. Producing bands, producing r&b singers, hip hop… any genre, really. I like choosing the sonics.”
“But I’m also just working on Toro stuff, too. I’m always working on Toro stuff. The main goal with Toro is pop music, so accessibility is always going to be there, but at the moment I’ve been really into a lot of the kind of stuff I’ve been playing [on this show] – 80s, funk, vibey stuff.”
Track selections by Toro Y Moi
As well as sharing stories with Marty about what inspires him, Chaz dug deep into his record bag to program the first hour of the show. As he said himself, it’s an eclectic mix of “80s, funk, vibey stuff” – percussive, dreamy and soulful grooves from around the world.
Harry Case – Native Drums
Max Essa – Enoshima
Chas Jankel – Boy
Lifetones – Good Side
Lifetones – Decide
Listen to the full interview and Chaz’s selections above. Live From Trona is out now.