Toro y Moi Jumps Out Of His Comfort Zone With 'Outer Peace'
On his latest album, Outer Peace, Chaz Bear, otherwise known as Toro y Moi, is navigating the spaces of adulthood, technology, genre and identity.
Having recently changed his last name from Bundick to Bear, the artist is finding ways to not only redefine himself, but also his music.
Known for his dreamy, indie-pop electronica, Bear's effort to challenge himself has lead to an exploration of different genres — specifically working with hip-hop and R&B to create a collection with a theme of "finding peace in the most antithetical of spaces."
The focus of Bears' introspection has previously been on love and relationships. But for Outer Peace, it's shifted to a bigger picture — the relationship between a person's identity and their sense of place in the world.
Bear says being both black and Filipino has been the constant theme of his entire life, and "it's a fine line to walk" to make music tastefully in a way that takes both sides into consideration. And while the indie music scene continues to be primarily a white space, as a biracial artist working in that community, Bear says he's noticed some changes.
"There are lots of artists popping up these days that are like definitely dabbling in other [genres]. Musicians of color that are dabbling in genres outside of hip-hop and R&B," Bear says. "I think that's important to sort of go outside of your comfort zone or go outside of what people think you should be doing. I enjoy the challenge because it's so easy to go with the flow sometimes, but you've got to remember to be a little bit outside of your comfort zone."
Outer Peace is out now via Carpark Records.
Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.