Music Interview | posted 06.02.2013
Toro Y Moi
Hearing Colors
How are sounds connected to sight? Artists use album covers, videos, installations and art works to strengthen their audio message or to create whole new layers. Seeing sounds concentrates purely on the aesthetics of an artist.
Text Grashina Gabelmann , Photos Malte Seidel , Translation Julia Hinz
Toro-y-moi-pic-by-malte-seidel-img_9472_beab
Rubriken_sticker_detail_09

How are sounds connected to sight? Artists use album covers, videos, installations and art works to strengthen their audio message or to create whole new layers. Seeing sounds concentrates purely on the aesthetics of an artist. We talk to the American musician and artist Toro Y Moi about his album covers, newest videos and tendency to connect sounds with colors. As a graphic design graduate and artist Chazwick Bundick can’t help but incorporate his personal aesthetics within his sounds.

Can you remember your first creative expression?
Toro Y Moi: When I was drawing as a kid. A pinnacle would be the first song that I wrote. It was a pop punk song. But the first song I actually recorded and thought was great was when I was fifteen. It was on an acoustic guitar. I looped a drum machine and it was really weird sounding, kind of like Toro y Moi. It was a pretty cool experience. It’s a weird experience to hear something captured. That’s my favourite part of making music – recording. Going back, hearing what you did and knowing that you are able to keep it forever. That’s pretty cool.

Your most recent album cover »Anything in Return« are photos of yourself, which your friend re-worked. You wanted to reference a photograph of Paul McCartney wrapped in a quilt. Why reference this photo? What is its importance?
Toro Y Moi: It’s an iconic image. I think photos of public figures doing something with their hands or with an object is how you get a memorable photo. I wanted to make something memorable. People will be like »Is that the cover where he lifts his bed sheet and holds his glasses?«. I didn’t want it to be some random, mysterious photo.

The Harry’s created your last two videos »Say That« and »So Many Details«. Can you tell me a bit about your work with them?
Toro Y Moi: They are good friends of mine from New York City. They mostly do a lot of fashion stuff and look books. I like their work and asked them to work with me. They’ve got good taste – very straight forward and beautiful stuff.

It’s a weird experience to hear something captured. Going back, hearing what you did and knowing that you are able to keep it forever. That’s pretty cool. How much were they involved in the videos’ concept? Is your work with them the start of a continuous aesthetic?
Toro Y Moi: It was pretty much all them. I had some ideas I threw in there.

In »Say That« the minimalistic movements of yours perfectly create a bridge between audio and visual. How did you work out this concept?
Toro Y Moi: That was The Harrys’ idea. They had the video concept before I picked the song. I just felt it was the best song for the idea and it just worked. I don’t know how the reaction would have been if it would have been a different song. It’s a dancey track but it’s not a dance song. There is some emotional stuff going on behind it. It made sense to me to not make a video that was just a bunch of flashy lights. It was the first time that there was the video concept before I chose the song. I really liked the process. Maybe I’ll do it again.

Can you tell me a little something about your past album covers?
Toro Y Moi: »Causers of This« was more of an ambient, darker vibe so that’s what I tried to do with the cover. The whole underwater look was inspired by the sounds of the record. The font for that was a 90s reference. »Underneath The Pine« was definitely a 70s thing where I was referencing a lot of sexual 70s record covers. The color palette for that also matched the sound. The album was very poppy, bold and very straightforward and that’s what I wanted the album cover to emulate.

It’s almost like you work is affected by synesthesia – binding sound with color.
Toro Y Moi: I can definitely see colors when I hear sounds. Some things sound warm or cold. For sure. That’s something I really like to do: matching the sounds with visuals.

Toro Y Moi’s music can be found on hhv.de
Your Comment
Related Articles
Music Review | posted 16.03.2011
Toro y Moi
Underneath The Pine
Toro y Moi’s Underneath The Pine is even better than his last year’s debut.
Music Review | posted 19.04.2012
Toro y Moi
June 2009
After his celebrated second album »Underneath The Pine«, Chaz Bundick promptly comes up with a half-hour compilation of older songs.
Music Review | posted 29.02.2012
Young Magic
Melt
»Melt« is diverse, elaborate and really not a bad record, at all. Only the details could have done with a bit more thoughtfulness.
Music Portrait | posted 14.04.2011
Panda Bear
Systematised change in style
Panda Bear has found his niche in the broad space of pop music by turning complex music into radio-compatible sound. Also, his roaring Tomboy maintains the splits between popularity and vanguard change in style.
Music Review | posted 05.02.2011
Esben And The Witch
Violet Cries
An incredible cinematic bombast, hiding behind a misty curtain of sound.
Music Review | posted 17.06.2011
Bon Iver
Bon Iver
Justin Vernon stepped up, trying to solve the impossible task to record a follow-up to For Emma, Forever Ago.
Music Review | posted 27.06.2011
John Maus
We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves
The former tour-keyboarder of Animal Collective and Ariel Pink is releasing a fascinating third album.
Music Review | posted 18.07.2011
Black Lips
Arabia Mountain
No other than Mark Ronson is the producer of the Black Lips’ new album. But not only that makes the record stand out from the crowd.
Music Review | posted 15.11.2011
Real Estate
Days
One of the indie-highlights of the year? Real Estate are just drifting along and naturally carry us with them.
Music Review | posted 06.01.2012
Peaking Lights
936
Having already been released in the U.S. the spring of 2011, one of last year’s top-notch records is finally arriving in Europe.
Music Review | posted 01.03.2012
Xiu Xiu
Always
Xiu Xiu continue to work on their discourse-pop, situated somewhere between celebrating their own marginalization and political incorrectness.
Music Review | posted 05.03.2012
The Maccabees
Given To The Wild
The Maccabees from Britain have a surprise in store: from the perspective of their musical development, the new album is the band’s very own »Sergeant Pepper«.
Music Review | posted 11.04.2012
Lotus Plaza
Spooky Action At A Distance
With »Spooky Action at a Distance«, Lockett Pundt seems to be revisiting the sound of his original band Deerhunter.
Music Review | posted 02.05.2012
Breton
Other People's Problems
Breton manage to balance a genre-mix between the obvious poles »arty« and »danceable« and thereby create a complex yet fresh music.
Music Review | posted 04.05.2012
Jack White
Blunderbuss
After his recordings with The Raconteurs and Dead Weather, Jack White didn’t have to agree to compromises on his solo-debut. Has it helped the sound?
Music Portrait
Arsivplak
The Past, Re-presented
Volga Çoban’s Arsivplak label and Arşivplak edit project are two sides of the same coin: his approach to Turkish funk, disco, pop, rock and jazz is archival on the one hand and strives to shed a new light on old sounds on the other.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Grace Jones – Nightclubbing, 1981
Nightlife for androids: On »Nightclubbing«, along with one of the world’s leading rhythm sections, Grace Jones made sure that reggae and new wave would develop a new life of its own in 80’s pop.
Music List
Crumb
10 All Time Favs
Since their debut »Jinx« in 2019, Crumb have been considered the next big thing in music . Now their new album »Ice Melt« is out. The perfect opportunity to ask them about 10 records that have shaped, improved and educated them.
Music Interview
Adrian Younge
Sonic history lesson
»The American Negro« marks the beginning of a new chapter in Adrian Younge’s work. It is more frontal, more politically charged, and more self-assured. He wants to teach. We had the opportunity for an in-depth interview.
Music List
Leon Vynehall
10 All Time Favs
With his new album »Rare, Forever«, British producer Leon Vynehall continues the path he started with »Nothing Is Still« 3 years ago. Today he tells us 10 vinyl records that have shaped, improved and educated him.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Gil Scott-Heron – Pieces Of A Man (1971)
He was called the “Godfather of Hip Hop” because he wrote about drugs, racism and the Divided States of America. Gil Scott-Heron’s most successful album is now 50 years old – and more timely than ever.
Music List
Jenn Wasner (Flock Of Dimes)
10 All Time Favs
With her solo project Flock of Dimes, Jenn Wasner has just released her most personal and at the same time most substantially far-reaching album. We asked the musician to name 10 Vinyl records that have shaped, improved, and educated her.
Music Portrait
Gondwana Records
Soul And Character
As a DJ and musician, Matthew Halsall became a label operator. Starting with a local focus on Manchester’s contemporary jazz scene, the trumpeter, composer and bandleader has since given his imprint Gondwana Records a fairly international focus.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Yellow Magic Orchestra – BGM (1981)
Cues for the future: on their fourth album, »BGM«, the synth wizards of Yellow Magic Orchestra drafted background music for generations to come.
Music Portrait
Important Records
Deep Listening Forever!
Whehter it’s Pauline Oliveros, Éliane Radigue, Alina Kalancea or Caterina Barbieri: For 20 years now, Important Records has been like a well-stocked record shop for exciting sounds and music that needs to be heard intensely.
Art Portrait
Vincent de Boer
Like Jazz With Brushes
Dutch artist Vincent de Boer has become a regular band member of the British jazz band Ill Considered. He draws record covers based on the grooves he hears. For »The Stroke«, the process has now been reversed.
Music Portrait
Far Out Recordings
At the epicenter of the Brazil craze
Joe Davis is the train driver whose bandwagon a whole generation of Brazil-affine producers jumped on in the mid-nineties. With his Far Out Recordings label, he became the worldwide representative of Brazilian music culture.
Music List
Aaron Frazer
10 All Time Favs
»Introducing« is the name of Aaron Frazer’s first solo album. As the drummer of Durand Jones & The Indications, however, he is by no means an unknown name. So musically it’s off to the sixties. He tells us what actually influenced him musically.
Music Portrait
On The Corner
Bangers for the backroom
With his label On the Corner Records, Pete Buckenham serves a heady stew of afro-futuristic jazz concepts and contemporary street grooves beyond the genre ascriptions, and is opening the gates to the sound universe of tomorrow.
Music Portrait
Tidal Waves
Riding the Wave
A powerful wave has already washed many treasures ashore. Seen in this way, the name fits, because the Belgian reissue label Tidal Waves searches for, discovers and publishes pearls of music history believed to be lost.
Music Portrait
Mort Garson
Music for plants and people
He was involved in over 900 songs and reached number 1 on the Billboard charts, but Mort Garson’s current fame is based on an encounter with Bob Moog, whom he persuaded to give him one of his synthesizers. A rediscovery.
Music Portrait
Dark Entries
Between Disco, Goth and Porno Soundtracks
Since 2009, Josh Cheon has been running his label for underground music from the 1980s and those who want to be the next big underground hit. Next year he will have released over 300 records. We introduce you to the label from San Francisco.
Music Interview
Makaya McCraven
»I'm excavating sounds«
Makaya McCraven is one of the most leading jazz musicians of these days. Not only his hometown Chicago, but the whole world seems to be inspired by the free approach to the jazz heritage in his music. We had the chance for an interview.
Music List
Record Store Day 2020 – 3rd Drop
12 releases you should look out for
On October 24, 2020 the third of three Record Store Days will take place this year. More than 120 exclusive releases have been announced. We have picked out twelve records that we would like to recommend to you.
Music Essay
A Journey Into Turkish Music
Gastarbeiter*innen Musik
Simultaneously with the genesis of Anadolu Pop, a viral infrastructure is developing in West Germany. This »guest worker music« has always only touched the public consciousness. The economic exchange could have also been a cultural one.
Music Essay
A Journey Into Turkish Music
Anadolu Pop
Altın Gün, Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek or Gaye Su Akyol: more and more bands are again referring to the sound of Anadolu Pop, which was formed in Turkey in the 1960s. But is it a revival? We clarify.
Music List
Record Store Day 2020 – 2nd Drop
Another 12 releases you should look out for
On September 26, 2020 the second of three Record Store Days this year will take place. More than 150 exclusive releases have been announced. We have picked out twelve vinyl records that we would like to recommend to you.
Music Portrait
Melody As Truth
On the threshold of sound and silence
With his label Melody As Truth, Jonny Nash moves between balearic and ambient. The journey leads from new age to a new art of world chamber music.
Music Interview
Kelly Lee Owens
»We store emotions in our body«
The Welsh musician released her second album »Inner Song« which wipes tears from cried-out eyes with one hand after the closing set while opening the window into everyday life with the other. A conversation with Owens about rave memories, trauma sessions and her challenge with Four Tet.
Music List
Harmonious Thelonious
10 All Time Favs
With »Plong« Stefan Schwander shakes the foundations of club music. His new solo album as Harmonious Thelonious lets everyday noises develop an eerie life of their own. He told us which 10 records have have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music List
Record Store Day 2020 – 1st Drop
12 vinyl records to look out for
On August 29, 2020 the first of three Record Store Days will take place this year. More than 350 exclusive releases have been announced for this event alone. We have picked out twelve records that we would like to recommend to you.
Music List
Jonathan Bree
10 All Time Favs
Jonathan Bree hides his face behind a latex mask. Well, right. But that’s not the most remarkable thing about the new zealander. Because he is first and foremost a first-rate songwriter. He told us which 10 records have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music Portrait
Light In The Attic
Everything Is Illuminated
For almost 20 years, the Seattle-based record label Light In The Attic has been shedding light on those releases that have been in the dark. The fact that they focused on vinyl right from the start, today the label is considered a pioneer.
Music List
Jay Glass Dubs
10 All Time Favs
»Soma« means »body« in Greek and that’s who the music of Jay Glass Dubs is aimed at. »Soma« is also the name of his new album. This was the chance to ask the Greek musician for 10 Vinyl records that formed him. He answers in, well, Greek.
Music Portrait
WeWantSounds
Contagious passion
WeWantSounds has been publishing music from the 1970s and 1980s since 2015. The name of the label is a catchphrase. When the Parisian two-man company selects the reissues, genre and country borders don‘t matter.
Music Essay
Baltic & Finnish Jazz
Removing Boundaries
While jazz from London to L.A. is evolving a fresh pop sensibility or even tries to update the fusion heritage, cool flavors between new blood and nostalgia are cultivated on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Here the genre is cosmopolitan as well and yet totally distinct.
Music Portrait
International Anthem
In search of the truth
For six years the label International Anthem from Chicago has been reliably delivering jazz with their own attitude and idea. Although the founders refuse to be ascribed almost any kind of attribution to a genre. For them, the most beautiful sound is just always: the truth.
Music Portrait
We Jazz
With emphasis on We
We Jazz, that stands for edgy, surprising jazz from the north. And also not. Since 2013 the festival has been held in Helsinki, since 2016 the label was founded. Matti Nives mainly publishes Finnish bands there. And acts as one of the most important networkers of the local scene.
Music Portrait
Roy Ayers
Warm vibrations with universal attraction
The American vibraphonist, singer, songwriter and arranger Roy Ayers is one of the most sampled contemporary musicians. With songs like »Everybody Loves The Sunshine«, the soul jazz legend, which celebrates it’s 80th birthday in September, became the main inspiration for Acid Jazz in the late 90s. His new album “Roy Ayers JID 002” on Jazz Is Dead with Adrian Younge and ex-ATCQ producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad continues his golden period of the Polydor years in the 70s seamlessly.
Music Interview
Gary Bartz
»We no longer see reality«
The Grammy-winning soprano saxophonist shared the stage with Miles Davis, Art Blakey and Max Roach. Now he has recorded an album with British outfit Maisha — and discovered something new.
Music Portrait
Dekmantel
Infinite Holidays
For the better part of a decade now, the Dekmantel imprint from Amsterdam is successfully squaring the circle as label, festival and promoter of several events: Connecting innovation and underground with a quality standard that is by now globally recognized without failing its aspirations. An end? Even in times of crisis far away.
Music List
Rafael Anton Irisarri
10 All Time Favs
Ambient? Maybe. But with splinters of metal, neo-classical and other stuff. Rafael Anton Irisarri paints overwhelming sound paintings with thick brushstrokes. For us the American composer has revealed his influences.
Music Portrait
Muriel Grossmann
Abstraction with a sea view
Saxophonist Muriel Grossmann reaches abstraction on the Balearic Islands, rides the waves with hard bop and even amazes billionaires with standards. Who is the secret pioneer of the spiritual revival?
Music Portrait
Roza Terenzi
Rave in a time capsule
Roza Terenzi turns past rave days upside down and brushes it with jungle breaks and techno cuts. On »Modern Bliss« she finally ends up in the future.
Music Portrait
Soviet Grail
Collective memory
Amid jazz experiments, electronic brutalism and psychedelic underground, Sergey Klimov digs for treasures for which musicians ended up in prison. With Soviet Grail, the Russian label boss traces the history of Soviet music.
Music List
ADULT.
10 All Time Favs
ADULT. have been making music for more than 20 years now. And they still don’t want simple attributions, sunlight, self-deception. Instead they wanted to call us records, which they shaped, improved, formed.