Music Interviews
5:00 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

A Pioneer Of 'Chillwave,' On California's Complications

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 8:48 pm

Chaz Bundick is the producer and singer-songwriter credited with pioneering a new genre of music called chillwave: a mix of electronic, hip-hop and dance music. Think house music meets R&B.

Hailing from Columbia, S.C., Bundick, 26, creates music under the name Toro y Moi. He says that growing up, his parents introduced him to the sounds of the '80s, from UB40 to Elvis Costello. And they also introduced him to the piano.

"My mom starting off as, like, a stricter Asian parent made me take piano lessons at 8 years old, and at first I didn't like it," Bundick says. "I did learn how to read, but when I was 12 I told my mom I wanted to quit piano. And so I started guitar."

Unlike the piano, guitar playing came to him effortlessly, as did songwriting and synthesizing on the computer.

Bundick released his first album in 2010. Earlier this year, he came out with his third, called Anything in Return.

Here, Bundick shares one of his favorite songs from Anything in Return with NPR's All Things Considered — it's called "Say That."

"The song is about how my girlfriend and I moved to California and how change is hard and sometimes not fun," Bundick says. "And so, mainly the lyrics are talking about how, even though we're doing something that's completely different and unusual, we're still comfortable and everything is not as bad as it seemed."

Hear more of Bundick's thoughts on "Say That" by clicking the audio link on this page.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And finally this hour, we hear from a recording artist who's been credited with pioneering a new genre of music called chillwave. That's the mix of electronic, hip-hop and dance music. Think house meets R&B.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY THAT")

CORNISH: The producer, singer-songwriter behind chillwave is named Chaz Bundick. The 26-year-old hails from Columbia, South Carolina. He creates music under the stage name Toro Y Moi. He says growing up, his parents introduced him to the sounds of the '80s from UB40 to Elvis Costello, and they also introduced him to the piano.

CHAZ BUNDICK: My mom starting off as, like, a stricter Asian parent, made me take piano lessons at 8 years old. And at first, I didn't like it. And I did learn how to read, but when I was 12, I told my mom I wanted to quit piano. And so I started guitar.

CORNISH: Unlike piano, guitar playing came to him effortlessly, as well as songwriting and synthesizing on the computer. Chaz Bundick has been refining his chill sounds since 2010 when he released his first album. Earlier this year, he released his third. It's titled "Anything in Return." And he shares one of his favorite songs from the new album called "Say That."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY THAT")

BUNDICK: (Singing) Say that you'll always remind me 'cause I can't decide if you are my love. I know I can't always be home but I never left. don't think like that.

"Say That" was just one of the songs that I'm really proud of because it kind of blends a lot of different genres together, and it's so weird at the same time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY THAT")

BUNDICK: For the longest time, I knew that I wanted to make like a dancier song. It was just trying to figure out how exactly I was going to make it. I don't know, I felt like I wanted to incorporate a little bit of psychedelic rock, and then that was with the chords and kind of with the singing too.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY THAT")

BUNDICK: Well, the song is about how my girlfriend and I moved to California and how change is hard and sometimes not fun. And so mainly, the lyrics are talking about how, even though we're doing something that's completely different and unusual, we're still comfortable, and everything is not as bad as it seemed.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY THAT")

BUNDICK: (Singing) Say that you'll always remind me 'cause I can't decide if you are my love. I know I can't always be home but I never left. Don't think like that.

CORNISH: Singer-songwriter and music producer Toro Y Moi. His latest album is "Anything in Return."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SAY THAT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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