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Toro y Moi Thaws Out: Chaz Bundick puts a New Fire Under His Cool Electronic Funk 

Wednesday, Feb 27 2013
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As an artist and a person, Bundick is by all accounts a relaxed and mild-mannered fellow. He will tell you when he has to blow his nose. But he is not remote. "He's very professional, and his inherent mellowness comes across well for that," Brown says. "But he definitely has his moments of making a dick joke in the middle of the studio."

Todd Hyman, owner of Carpark Records, Toro y Moi's label, attributes Bundick's calm constitution to his native environs. "He's a pretty laid-back guy — I think growing up in the South usually helps that kind of attitude," Hyman says. "A lot of artists, they'll have managers and lawyers and you have to go through all these other people. It's not like that with Chaz — I can just call him or e-mail him anytime."

Bundick gives a similar impression over coffee, though it's clear from the start that he's extremely serious about his music. He's serious about other things, too. Asked if he ever questions his entitlement to explore genres like R&B and hip-hop, where his indie-rock background would've once made him an outsider, Bundick offers a classically post-millenial response. "As long as you know the history of that genre, I think you're entitled to make music," he says.

Good pop songs convey a strong feeling. Chillness is the opposite of a strong feeling, and for that reason, it's not an interesting enough emotional foundation to sustain a musical career. Chaz Bundick gets this. He is acutely aware of the relaxed character of even Toro y Moi's most earnest songs, and says he plans on countering it on his next album. When asked, jokingly, if he plans on making a psychedelic rock record now that he lives in the Bay Area, he says, in all seriousness and without missing a beat, "Yeah, that's probably next."

Does Bundick ever get tired of the decidedly relaxed atmospheres of his sound? "That's been on my mind," he admits. "I want to break out. I recently bought a distortion pedal."

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Ian S. Port

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