Toro Y Moi
Performing under the stage name of Toro Y Moi, the diminutive South Carolinian Chaz Bundick has become one of the most sought after performers of the recent glo-fi upsurge. Raised in South Carolina’s state capital of Columbia, Bundick started the band in the early aughts as a pet project alongside his high-school punk band the Heist and the Accomplice. As the decade progressed he earned a BFA in design from the University of South Carolina and continued developing a singular sound for Toro Y Moi.
Eventually captured on his debut long player Causers Of This, the early material was lumped in, perhaps unfairly, with the chillwave cycle of 2010. It’s not an entirely inapt touchstone for the record’s terrain. The eleven hazy, sample-based tracks are drenched in the pre-millennial nostalgia that defined the genre, wistful for the blu-lite soul of Luther Vandross and, more distinctively, the pioneering avant-hip-hop of J Dilla. He followed up shortly thereafter with Underneath the Pine, a radical departure from Causers’ bedroom introversion. The hi-fi funk feel is presented in full-band arrangements, as Bundick opened his act up to a live band for tours with Braids and Carpark Records labelmates Cloud Nothings.
We caught up with Toro Y Moi in Atlanta, the capital of the Dirty South. With a criminality index that’s nearly double the national average, the “Big Peach” has as much grime and crime as you could hope to unearth in a decaying city in the Southern US. It’s also home to a thriving hip-hop community, with rappers like Gucci Mane and fellow Columbia native Young Jeezy setting the soundtrack.