Chaz Bundick's chill. But he's not that chill.
Or so the 24-year-old from Columbia, South Carolina, and the man behind the Toro y Moi moniker is hoping to prove with his latest "organic" effort, Underneath the Pines, which was recorded in the small recording studio at Chaz' house on drums, pianos, bass and guitars.
Without chillwave's lo-fi, electro bedroom invasion, though, there's a good chance Toro Y Moi and several other prominent artists who topped year-end lists and rode that wave to indie prominence may still be handing out CD-Rs to friends.
And Bundick knows this.
After all, in a recent interview in advance of his upcoming performance on Saturday night at Club Dada, he told us that it's the most common thing that bloggers, critics and journalists ask him about during interviews.
"I'm pretty aware of the things that people will ask, but probably the most commonly asked question is like, my thoughts on chillwave," he says. "But I'm not tired of it."
But does he mind being lumped in with other similar artists? Or being branded as TorBro or ChazBro or whatever?
"It doesn't bother me at all," he says. "I think that it's just a funny situation to be in. And that it came from a satirical, like comedy kind of blog. But, I'm all for it. I like the blog."
The term "chillwave," lest we forget, originated on Hipster Runoff.
"I read that article when it came out," he says, "and I was like, 'That's funny! Chillwave! Cool!' I don't even know when -- I don't think I noticed it caught on until people had started asking me about chillwave. And I was like, 'Oh, you're serious!?' And then it really caught on."
Now, though, he's hoping to move on from the genre. And he's fully aware that, despite releasing a very organic effort with Pines, folks will keep lumping him in with electo/chillwave acts.
"I guess, when you put out an electronic album first, people thing you're an electronic artist," he says. "So, Underneath the Pine was sort of that other side where I just wanted to introduce that other side of my songwriting, to sort of warm people up to the idea that I do that too."
Technically, though, he's says he's been switching genres and styles for years now. Turns out the project, and even the Toro Y Moi moniker, hves been around since Bundick was 15, when he bought his first four-track.
Young Chaz grew up on a steady diet of Pet Sounds pop, '80s R&B, and '90s rock. The first album he bought? The Godzilla soundtrack. And he regularly cites '90s music's influence over his music -- like the Cant's Hardly Wait soundtrack, about which Bundick says, "I still listen to it."
Latelym though, he's been filling his ears with soundtracks by the likes of Ennio Morricone, Francis Lai and François de Roubaix.
"I was always into doing different things, even before Causers [of This] came out," he says. "I was always doing electronic stuff until I'd get bored or tired. Then I'd just start messing around on the guitar or piano and record that."
Which also explains why Bundick reserves his danciest output for his side project, Les Sins. He doesn't want to further confuse casual fans.
Toro y Moi, though, remains his main focus. And he says his stage show is better now that it's no longer just him on a laptop. On this tour, he's accompanied by some former bandmates.
"They're all friends from town," he says, of his band, some of whom played with Chaz in The Heist and the Accomplice, bands from "back in our college years."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.