Toro y MoiChaz Bear (formerly Chaz Bundick; November 7, 1986), known professionally as Toro y Moi, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and graphic designer. His music has taken on many forms since he began recording, but he is often identified with the rise of the chillwave movement in 2010 and 2011. His stage name is a multilingual expression consisting of the Spanish words toro and y (meaning "bull" and "and", respectively) and the French word moi (meaning "me").
Early lifeChaz Bundick was born on November 7, 1986 in Columbia, South Carolina, to a Filipino mother and an African American father. He attended Ridge View High School, where he formed the indie rock band The Heist and The Accomplice with three schoolmates.
Bundick graduated from the University of South Carolina in spring of 2009 with a bachelor's degree in graphic design. Late in his school career, Toro y Moi formed a close musical relationship with fellow chillwave artist Ernest Greene, who performs under the name Washed Out.
Causers of This (2010)In mid-2009, Toro y Moi was signed to Carpark Records, on which he released his debut full-length album Causers of This in January 2010. On Causers of This, Bundick experimented with sampling and production techniques using the digital audio workstation Reason. The album garnered comparisons to the "chillwave" subgenre; however, Bundick stated that he never classified his music as such. Bundick refers to the album's subject matter as "personal," calling it a "break-up album." Tours supporting Ruby Suns, Caribou, and Phoenix followed the album's release.
Underneath the Pine and Freaking Out EP (2011)Toro y Moi's second album, Underneath the Pine, was released on February 22, 2011. The album was recorded at Bundick's home in-between tours while supporting Causers of This. Underneath the Pine marked a stylistic departure from the previous album in that it was made up of all live instrumentation and contained no samples. Bundick cites horror movie soundtracks, space disco, and film composers Piero Umiliani and François de Roubaix as inspiration for the album's sound. Further, Bundick states "...what influenced Underneath the Pine was finding stuff that I wanted to sample for Causers. A lot of the things I sampled for Causers ended up being the main musical inspiration for Underneath the Pine."
In an interview with website At the Sinema, he suggested that he had moved beyond the chillwave genre: "All that stuff is really good music, like Ernest Green (Washed Out) and Neon Indian. I'm a big fan of all of that, but I think [chillwave] was just a small little period where we all were, coincidentally."
On September 13, 2011 Toro y Moi released an EP titled Freaking Out, featuring a cover of "Saturday Love" by Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal. The EP's sound was heavily influenced by 80's Boogie and R&B.
The band was chosen by Caribou to perform at the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas festival that they co-curated in December 2011 in Minehead, England.
Anything in Return (2013)In January 2013, Toro y Moi released his third studio album, Anything in Return, which he described as having a 90's dance and R&B sound. According to him, the album was "influenced by lots of different types of house, from deep house to two-step [...] The chords ['Harm in Change' and 'Say That'] use—that's just something I've been a fan of for a while. I really wanted to mess around with those kinds of elements and revisit what I did on Causers of This, but make those elements a little bit better and more apparent." The album was called "highly indebted to the late sacrosanct hip-hop producer J Dilla" by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Bundick stated that he wanted to combine electronic production of his first record with the elements of traditional instrumentation of his second album. The album lyrically focuses on Bundick's move across country to California with his girlfriend and the strain touring puts on a relationship. In promotion of Anything in Return, Toro y Moi embarked on an international tour and made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
What For? and Samantha (2015)In January 2015, Toro y Moi announced a new album What For? to be released April 7 by Carpark Records and shared a new track "Empty Nesters." The album marked a further departure in sound from previous releases with a guitar-based rock sound, drawing inspiration from artist such as Big Star, Talking Heads, Todd Rundgren, Tim Maia, and Cortex.
On August 28, 2015, Toro y Moi released Samantha, a surprise free mixtape featuring 20 electronic/hip hop influenced songs recorded in Berkeley, California between February 2012 and August 2015. The mixtape contained collaborations with Washed Out, Kool A.D, Nosaj Thing, and Rome Fortune. Shortly after this release, Toro y Moi played the Fuck Yeah Fest in Los Angeles, being photographed by the popular music blog Gorilla vs. Bear amongst many others including Neon Indian, Lower Dens, HEALTH, and DJ Dodger Stadium.
In his home studio, Bundick utilizes a Roland JX-3P, Moog Voyager, Fender Rhodes, and various soft synths.
Boo Boo (2017)In June 2017, Toro y Moi announced a single, "Girl Like You" and a new album Boo Boo which was released on July 7, 2017 by Carpark Records. In creating Boo Boo, Bundick was influenced by an eclectic mix of Daft Punk, Frank Ocean, Travis Scott, and Oneohtrix Point Never. Two weeks before releasing Boo Boo, Bundick tweeted that he would not be touring to promote the next album.
Outer Peace (2019)On January 10, 2019, Toro announced a stream of his January 18, 2019 that he was releasing his new album, Outer Peace, on Carpark Records. It was available as part of NPR's First Listen program.
Side projectsBundick put out a collection of experimental "stream of consciousness" recordings under the moniker Sides of Chaz. Releases have included a tour CD-R and a single, "Sweet Tea", put out on Fork and Spoon Records.
Les SinsBundick makes electronic dance music and DJs under the moniker Les Sins. As Les Sins, Bundick has put out a series of 12" records on Carpark Records and Jiaolong Records. Bundick stated that Les Sins "was just another way to make weirder music without having to feel I'm alienating Toro y Moi [fans]. So it's kind of nice to do whatever kind of song I want to do without having to worry about it being accessible." Les Sins' debut full-length album, Michael, was released on November 4, 2014 on Bundick's own Company Records.
Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2Bundick released a collaborative album, Star Stuff, with The Mattson 2, a jazz duo from California. The album was put out on Company Record Label, a record company of Bundick's own creation. Bundick and the Mattson brothers toured and performed this album alongside existing songs from Toro y Moi.
Personal lifeBundick also works as a graphic designer and prefers to treat his musical career as a hobby to maintain the enjoyment of creating it. He designs his own coverwork for his albums and has admitted that he is a workaholic. In his free time he enjoys going on overnight hiking trips.
Bundick announced on June 9, 2017, that he had officially changed his name from Chazwick Bundick to Chaz Bear. He changed his last name to match a shortened version of his wife's last name, Beardsley.
On June 27, 2017, Berkeley, California made June 27 'Chaz Bundick Day'. Bundick was honored with the Day by the Mayor of Berkeley for his contribution to music and arts. Bundick had only lived in Berkeley for a few years, moving there in 2013 to be closer to his girlfriend of 11 years who was attending graduate school in the city.
Bundick became a vegetarian in 2012, two days after his 26th birthday.