When Chazwick Bundick hit the scene five years ago with his band Toro y Moi, his laid-back electronic sound unwittingly created a new genre of music which bloggers described as “chill-wave.”
With each new album, Bundick has stepped further away from the laptop and keyboard to favor the guitar. Now Toro y Moi consists of a five-piece band.
The Frame’s James Kim talked with Chaz Bundick about rough beginnings on the road, how he overcame being nervous about going on tour and what he's thinking on stage.
How long have you been touring under Toro y Moi?
I've been touring for about five years, pretty much since I put out my first album 'Causers of This.'
What was tour life like during your first tour?
The first tour I did was with Ear Pwr. It was about a month long and we just ended up going as far west as Austin, but we were all in a five-person car and we would crash on couches. Even on the first full band — when we were a three-piece, we were still [couch surfing] and just trying to stay with friends to save money. Believe it or not, you have to save money to go on tour.
What would you do to save money on tour?
It's really hard to save up for those first few tours, especially for an 'Internet-famous' type band. No one's really coming out to the shows yet. I mean, I was getting paid 100 bucks a night so as long as I could use that wisely, it was better than working at the deli that I was working at the time. But now it's to the point where it's nice, and we're thinking about making that step in getting a tour bus and playing bigger shows and being able to sleep on your own bed.
How do you keep your sanity on the road?
Being sane and keeping my sanity while on tour is something I started thinking about recently. Before I found myself stressing out, like, 'Oh my god. I can't believe I'm gonna be on the road for six weeks. This is crazy,' and I would just stress myself out before I even left. Now I just take it one step at a time. I just meditate on it and just try to realize that there's no actual problem at this moment in time. So just go with the flow and do the best work you can.
What's your favorite song to play live?
My most favorite songs to play live is 'High Living.' It's pretty fun. It's a nice slow-burner.
What are you thinking when you're on stage?
I don't know what I'm feeling when I'm playing the songs. I'm just trying to not mess it up. I'm actually concentrating really hard on stage. Sometimes, for a second I'll be, 'This is awesome. This is great.' But then I'll have to snap out of it because I'll mess up or something.
Are there any shows that stick out in your mind?
Our fans are really awesome. They're not the crazy kinds. Every once in a while someone will try to jump on stage, and that happened once [and] it messed up the song. Someone came up and ran up and kissed me on the cheek. It was girl, and then a guy ran up on stage and kissed me on my cheek, and I was like, 'OK, stop running on stage.' I'm always just trying to focus on performing the song correctly.
You can catch Toro y Moi when the band plays the FYF Festival this year.