Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi on J Dilla and reserving his side project for experimentation

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Maybe this is reading too much into it, but you did the design and your friend did the drawing. Do you feel that a shift in the type of imagery reflects a shift in the music as well?

Possible. I'm open to the idea of collaborating more and more. In a way, you're right. I knew I didn't want to draw something. I wanted someone else to draw something. I know that I didn't want to just make music by myself all the time, so it's possible.

Your early work was compared to J Dilla and Flying Lotus. Was their work an inspiration or influence on what you've done?

Definitely. Mainly J Dilla. He was the first one I really listened to. His samples opened my eyes. I never really thought about sampling in that way. I think his influence still shows for sure.

What quality of his samples opened your eyes and made you think about things differently?

Just the sonic quality, how compressed they were, how crunchy they were. Just breaking those rules were awesome the first time I heard it. Not only that, he was just influenced by so many things, not just hip-hop. Everything from psychedelic rock and pop and that's exactly what I'm influenced by, too.

Anything in Return has a smokier feel to it than your previous records.

Yeah, I would say that, with Underneath the Pine, there was a feel that was softer and I guess a more pastel color palette. Anything in Return is more, like, heavier and in bolder colors. Very poppy. It has a more vibrant feel to it. I guess that shows, too, in album covers.

You have projects called Sides of Chaz and Les Sins, respectively. Why would something you produce fall into the realm of those projects?

[With] Sides of Chaz, it's just an excuse for me, or an outlet for me, to make weirder stuff and not feel subconscious about it being accepted or not. It's totally okay to put out a weird track. Just change the name; it's okay. Toro Y Moi, you're not degrading the discography or anything like that. I kind of want to keep Toro Y Moi a solid project and have my side projects be my room for experimentation and finding new stuff and then refining those elements in Toro Y Moi. It doesn't have to be released, it can just be a tour CDR.

Not everything I like to do is pop music. I'm sure there are plenty of musicians that would like to make a different kind of song than what they're known for. They feel stuck or something. I felt like I didn't want to be in that position ever, so I always wanted to keep making stuff.

Toro Y Moi, with Sinkane and Dogbite, 9 p.m., Saturday, February 23, Bluebird Theater, 3317 E. Colfax, $13.50-$18 d.o.s., 303-377-1666, 16+

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.

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