So, last Saturday I had the unique opportunity to sit down and chat with Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi fame. He was to be playing at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, along with Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Ava Luna. Although I didn’t have time to watch his set, I did get a glimpse into the life of the 24-year-old musician.
Sumara: Is it difficult to keep up with current events while you’re touring?
Chaz: No we all have smartphones
Sumara: That’s true, so is there anything that has stuck out lately?
Chaz: Yeah, today we saw Michael Stipe’s weiner
Sumara: I was thinking more along the lines of the Bid for Palestine yesterday.
Patrick (Bandmate): We only look at funny news
Sumara: So, I was really curious about your experience in college. I was wondering if you were involved in any groups or extracurriculars
Chaz: Oh, yeah! All three of the rest of the guys, the rest of the band, they were DJs at the college station. I was just um, a guest on there, every once in awhile. But I would help out every once in awhile, if I could. Other than that, no. I didn’t do too much in college
Patrick: He played in the band!
Chaz: I played music, I was in the marching band.
Sumara: Growing up, did you find yourself surrounded by lots of music?
Chaz: Lots of, mainstream pop music. My dad liked some of the more obscure stuff. Like Sonic Youth and Suicidal Tendencies, that was something cool.
Sumara: That’s really interesting, and what would you say influenced you to do music in high school.
Chaz: Boredom, and this guy, this guy right here (gestures to Patrick). He asked me to be in a band with him and I was like “Kay, finally.” That’s sort of what happened. Pretty much, we were just bored. And we covered Weezer, and the Pixies. And the Misfits. And the Ramones.
Sumara: Have you ever gone to a party and found yourself listening to something that you’ve produced?
Chaz: Yeah, one time, our friend didn’t have the records to play, he had a party. He had Causers (Causers of This) , it made sense to put it on. We put it on 45 (inch) and it sounds crazy! You should listen to Causers of This on 45.
Sumara: I will definitely get on that! But I meant have you ever gone somewhere, and something of yours starts playing without you knowing it would.
Chaz: Well, I don’t really go to parties that aren’t my friends’, or anything. But yeah, I’ve been in the car or something, and the song’s on the radio, that’s pretty cool. Well yeah, there was this festival in like, Belgium or something. These guys were DJing. And they just played a song, in front of like, a thousand people or something. That’s cool.
Sumara: What song was it?
Patrick: Low Shoulder. There were these guys, they were DJing this festival, and we played at their club the night before. It was funny cause we walked up like, “Hey guys!” and they were playing his record.
Sumara: Did you have a favorite television show growing up, or do you think that television has influenced your music in any way?
Chaz: I like Ren and Stimpy , I like a lotta old Nickelodeon. This morning, we watched some Spongebob. And Sports Center. TV doesn’t really play a big part, movies do. I like the soundtracks of movies.
Sumara: What movies?
Chaz: Seriously, my favorite movie’s like, Dumb and Dumber. I quote it daily, so does this guy (gestures to Patrick) . It’s kind of built in now, it’s kind of sad. We can, probably recite the whole movie. Seriously, it’s not good.
Sumara: Yeah, I mean I’ve seen it, it’s a great film. Do you have any mentors?
Chaz: Yeah, I guess so. Like, Arthur Russel, and David Byrne.