local music scene south carolina
Toro Y Moi
I have given a lot of thought to the music that has come out of South Carolina over the past 30-40 years, it’s easier to reflect on the history aspect because that has been done, for the most part that is finished. Then there’s the future of music coming out of South Carolina, much more difficult at times because it is in a constant state of flux, growth and change. Not to mention given the fact that this state contains several college campuses with an influx of students from all over the nation, (and world), and yet we have generated such a small number of original bands and artists capable of competing on a national or worldwide stage, to say the least it can be a little disheartening at times. If you truly love music and I mean all types of music you have to be willing to embrace, cherish, and support as much as you are willing to carry. In the case of local music you should do it for love, do it for joy, and do it for the sense of pride that as a South Carolinian you have the right to.
All of this to introduce Chazwick Bundick, (aka Toro Y Moi), one of our very own and might I add he’s doing quite well out there on that worldwide stage we spoke about earlier. “Chaz” is from Columbia where he grew up, attended school, and then went on to College at the University of South Carolina acquiring a degree in Graphic Arts. Along the way he played in bands with fellow schoolmates and friends then eventually he started to explore home recording. It was at this point that he began to develop his own unique sound, his own recording techniques and song writing styles. I’ve read interviews where he has sited as inspiration such familiar names to me as Todd Rundgren, then swinging all the way over to Daft Punk. Though I understand he is considered part of the Chill-Wave movement I hear a lot of ambiance blended hard with classic pop/rock, classic R&B, and smooth soul and these combinations are very interesting and very cool indeed. It impresses me that someone so young has such an historical knowledge of the overall musical soundscape and is capable of reaching back and bringing forward the best elements sprinkling them brilliantly throughout his body of work while sounding completely fresh, contemporary, and unique.
Bio (Excerpts taken from Margaret Reges, Rovi)
Chaz Bundick was born on November 7, 1986 in Columbia, South Carolina to a Filipino mother and an African-American father. He attended Ridgeview High School where he formed the indie rock band The Heist and The Accomplice with three schoolmates. Chaz started making bedroom recordings in 2001 under the stage name Toro y Moi which is a multilingual expression consisting of the Spanish words “toro” and “y” (meaning “bull” and “and”, respectively), and the French word “moi” (which means “me”). He graduated from the University of South Carolina in the spring of 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design.
Drawing from a wide-ranging array of influences (Animal Collective, Daft Punk, and J Dilla among them), Bundick had a couple albums' worth of material ready for release by 2009. He was slated to release two full-length albums on Carpark Records in 2010: one, a dreamy, indie electronic affair (something like a cross between Panda Bear and Beach House); the other, a jumpy, garage-influenced indie pop effort that was influenced by bands like Saturday Looks Good to Me and Guided by Voices. In the meantime, Carpark released Toro y Moi's debut 7" split single, Blessa/109, featuring one track from each of the forthcoming discs, in 2009. Only one album was actually issued in 2010, however, the dreamier Causers of This, which placed Toro y Moi right in the middle of the "chillwave" movement. By the time of his next album, early 2011's Underneath the Pine, Bundick had incorporated space age bachelor pad and disco influences into his sound, distancing himself from his chill contemporaries. He followed it up later in the year with an EP (Freaking Out) that was even more dance floor-friendly.
After moving to Berkeley, California in 2012, Bundick's music began to reflect his separation from loved ones, giving his next album a slightly more melancholy feel. Anything in Return was released in early 2013 on Carpark. His next move was to give himself over to dance music entirely, releasing the Michael album in 2014 under the name Les Sins. It was the first release on Bundick's new label, which he co-ran with Carpark. The next Toro y Moi album, 2015's What For?, featured contributions from Julian Lynch and Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson.
Chaz Bundick – vocals, guitar, and keyboards (2008–present)
Jordan Blackmon – guitar (2011–present)
Anthony Ferraro – keyboards and backing vocals (2013–present)
Patrick Jeffords – bass (2010–present)
Andy Woodward – drums (2010–present)