This month, we bring you the stories behind the touring travels of Toro Y Moi, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Wakey! Wakey! Read at your own risk: these guys are so good at doing their thing live, you might be tempted to turn roadie for the summer.
First up is Toro Y Moi, the project name for one Chazwick Bundick, a young South Carolinian who started experimenting seriously with music at the tender age of 13. After forming indie rock band Heist and The Accomplice in high school, Bundick went on to the University of South Carolina where he studied graphic design but continued his work with music as well. Upon graduating in the summer of 2009 he released Blessa, his first EP under the Toro Y Moi name. Carpark Records soon nabbed the rising star and his debut album Causers of This came out this past January.
He has been branded a part of the new “chillwave” genre, but contrary to popular criticisms of the movement, Bundick is not limited to software-only creations. This tour around he has left his laptop behind, taking instead a drummer and a bassist to fill out the sound of his synth and vocals, proving all those chillwave-artists-aren’t-real-musicians, naysayers wrong. Even though the music is his public focus right now, cool kid Bundick still finds time to stay active with design work and keeps his blog updated with recent photos and drawings: toroymoi.blogspot.com
Bundick took time from a busy tour schedule, opening for Caribou throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and chatted for a bit with BTR. He shared some of his road work experiences, from playing nine shows at this year’s SXSW (which he describes as “summer camp” for musicians) to his first trip to Europe coming up in July (dates are TBA).
BTR: Will this be the biggest tour you’ve done so far?
Bundick: Well, I think I’ve done one that was five weeks before, but this one may seem longer because there are some drives that I haven’t made before. I have a couple of shows in Mexico that I have to fly out to during the tour, so that’s just gonna be kind of a different flow for the tour.
BTR: Is there anywhere you’ll be going on this tour that you’ve never been before?
Bundick: Yeah, we’re going to Europe in July as a full band, which will be really exciting. It’s like a month—I’ve never been to Europe in my life, so it will be kind of a culture shock, I think, just to see how different things are. That’s gonna be fun, and I’ve never been to Mexico, or to the midwest area of Canada.
BTR: What constitutes a “good show” for you?
Bundick: If the crowds are really dancing, that’s always a plus. And the overall feeling that the show was played well. When you get to see friends, too—all that makes a good show.
BTR: Do you have any road trip food indulgences?
Bundick: We mostly try to eat at locally-owned restaurants and not fast food places, but I know for California I make an exception for In ‘N Out—they’re pretty good. And even though we eat at local places, that doesn’t necessarily mean we always eat healthy… You can have fun.
BTR: I know that tours can be tiring, even if they’re great. How do you take care of yourself on tour and help yourself through the process of traveling that much?
Bundick: In the car I work on a lot of design stuff and music stuff, working on mixing tracks or whatever. I usually try to draw, but I can’t draw in cars. I get distracted by looking outside.
BTR: What are you guys listening to on the road?
Bundick: Right now in the car, we’re listening to Caribou. They’ve been nice enough to give us a good supply of their music. And we just got the new Broken Social Scene album as well, which is nice. We do have a couple podcasts with us—we’re just waiting to get through all our music first. I follow this one podcast called “Uhh Yeah Dude,” it’s pretty funny. One of the musicians from the band Jogger, it’s his podcast. That, and then This American Life, usually. Just those two.
BTR: I think I read somewhere that you guys once played a venue where it caught fire… is that right?
Bundick: Yeah, it was the drummer and I, it was in New York at this bar in Williamsburg called Cameo. You know, it’s fun to just go off the stage and not have to pack up right when you finish. So we did that, we finished playing, got offstage, and maybe like fifteen, twenty minutes later someone comes into the room saying, “The venue’s on fire,” and we were like, “Uh, okay, yeah…” And then two minutes later, the building was full of smoke. We had fifteen people carrying out all our stuff, not packed up. Keep in mind that there’s a blizzard outside, about a foot of snow–we were just chucking everything outside into the wet snow… It was the worst night ever. So, we learned our lesson. Pack up fast.
Which is what you’ll want to do so you can hear Toro Y Moi live and in fire-setting action for yourself!
Toro Y Moi w/ Caribou:
May 18 – The Clubhouse – Tempe, AZ
May 19 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
May 20 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
May 21 – Teatro Fru Fru – Mexico City, Me
May 22 – Escenica – Monterrey, NM
May 24 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
May 26 – Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
May 28 – Sugar – Victoria, BC, Canada
May 29 – The Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC, Canada
May 31 – The Republick – Calgary, AB, Canada
June 1 – The Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB, Canada
June 2 – Amigos – Saskatoon, SK, Canada
June 3 – Royal Albert Arms – Winnipeg, MB, Canada
June 4 – 7th St. Entry – Minneapolis, MN
June 5 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL*
June 6 – The Grananda Theater – Lawrence, KS
June 7 – Firebird – St. Louis, MO
June 8 – Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
June 9 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
June 10 – Pilot Light – Knoxville, TN*
June 11 – New Brookland Tavern – Columbia, SC*
* = w/out Caribou
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros exploded onto the music scene in 2009 when their exuberant hit single “Home” was voted number 15 on the largest music poll in the world, Australia’s “Triple J Hottest 100.” The group has been around, though, since their first public appearance in 2007 when lead singer Alex Ebert (also of Ima Robot) debuted his new project. He had developed a character named Edward Sharpe, a pseudo-savior figure who, in Ebert’s words, “was sent down to Earth to kinda save and heal mankind… but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love.” The ten-member band released their first album Up From Below in July of ’09 with Vagrant Records and spent that summer touring the country in a large white school bus. The group is currently working on a feature length musical; the first two pieces, “Desert Song” and “Kisses Over Babylon” were released as music videos in June and November ’09 respectively. Now they’re setting off on another full summer of live shows; catch a glimpse of the white bus at a venue near you!
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros:
May 20 – Royce Hall UCLA Campus – Los Angeles., CA
May 26 – Henry Miller Library – Big Sur, CA
May 27 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA
May 29 – Sasquatch – George, WA
May 31 – Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver, BC, Canada
June 1 – MacEwan Ballroom – Calgary, AB, Canada
June 2 – The Starlite Room – Edmonton, AB, Canada
June 4 – Wilma Theatre – Missoula, MT
June 6 – First Ave – Minneapolis, MN
June 7 – Pabst Theater – Milwaukee, WI
June 8 – The Vogue – Indianapolis, IN
June 9 – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH
June 11 & 12 – Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN
June 14 – The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
June 15 – Blue Note – Columbia, MO
June 16 – The Beaumont Club – Kansas City, MO
June 18 – Belly Up Aspen – Aspen, CO
June 19 – Telluride Festival – Telluride, CO
June 21 – Santa Fe Brewing Co. – Santa Fe, NM
June 22 – Clubhouse Music Venue – Tempe, AZ
July 1 – High Sierra Festival – Quincy
July 2 – Lobero Theatre – Santa Barbara, CA
July 3 – Crown Theatre – Las Vegas, NV
July 5 – Palladium – Dallas, TX
July 6 – La Zona Rosa – Austin, TX
July 8 – Minglewood Hall – Memphis, TN
July 9 – Bijou Theatre – Knoxville, TN
July 10 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA
July 11 – Trustees Theatre – Savannah, GA
July 13 – The Music Farm – Charleston, SC
July 15 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC
July 16 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC
July 17 – The National – Richmond, VA
July 18 – Wiggins Park – Camden, NJ
July 20 – 9:30 Club – Washington, D.C.
July 21 – Governors Island – New York, NY
July 22 & 23 – Webster Hall – New York, NY
July 25 – Pearl Street Ballroom – Northampton, MA
July 26 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
July 27 – Northern Lights – Clifton Park, NY
July 28 – Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY
July 30 – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, ON
July 31 – Parterre Parc Jean Drapeau Saint – Montreal, QC
August 1 – Newport Folk Festival – Newport, RI
August 3 – Newport Music Hall – Newport, RI
August 4 – Crofoot Ballroom – Pontiac, MI
August 6 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
August 9 – Cabooze Plaza – Minneapolis, MN
New York based, Wakey! Wakey! is also touring this summer, doing an East Coast sweep through the month of June. Michael Grubbs, frontman and founder of the band, grew up playing piano from the age of five. After a series of endeavors in the world of professional music, including a couple bands and even two musical tours, Grubbs hit his stride with the lyrical, heartbreak-centered themes of Wakey! Wakey!. After releasing a few live recordings and the EP War Sweater, the group’s first full length studio LP, Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You, came out this past February. The album was released to a growing public buzz, aided by their inclusion on the One Tree Hill soundtrack. Indeed, One Tree Hill’s director was so taken with the band’s work that he built a role for Grubbs on the show.
With his TV season over, Grubbs and the band are setting out on tour to promote Almost Everything… even as they begin working towards another new release. Be sure to catch one of these upcoming East Coast concerts!
May 20 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
June 2 – DC9 – Washington, DC
June 3 – The Soapbox – Wilmington, NC
June 4 – Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC
June 5 – Vinyl – Atlanta, GA
June 8 – The Southern – Charlotesville, VA
June 15 – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH
June 16 – Schubas – Chicago, IL
June 17 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
June 18 – The Mad Hatter – Cincinnati, OH
June 19 – iLounge – Pontiac, MI
June 24 – North Star – Philadelphia, PA
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– Britt Sondreal