i-Q: chaz bundick
When did you first encounter the music of Chaz Bundick? Our late teens and early 20s were soundtracked by the poppy chillwave of Toro y Moi that bled into Les Sins's DJ set-complementing breed of house tunes. PLUM, his experimental ambient moniker, has soothed many an anxiety-inducing situation. And now, his exciting new collaborative project — Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 — has rocked up with an invitation to jazz town.
Chaz first met the Mattson twins back in the summer of 2015, when a mutual friend sent them round to his house to borrow a drum stool. They clicked right away, bonded over shared musical values, and began talking about how cool it would be to form a band. Fast forward to today, and together the trio has created a psychedelic jazz party of a record entitled Star Stuff, due out March 31 via Company Records. It will be the first time Chaz has put music out under his own name, having decided at age 15 that it would make him sound too much like a singer-songwriter. He finds it fun to compartmentalize his music, with each alias acting as a different version of him.
We call him as he hangs about at his studio with Michael, his dog — the one he named his 2014 Les Sins album after. Michael is a black mutt with a white beard and white socks; he's doing great, thanks for asking. Chaz loves to hang out with Michael but is looking forward to the sunshine that'll come with the Australian tour he's about to set off on. Take an exclusive listen to "Disco Kid" as we grill him with the i-Q questions we want to ask everyone.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A banker. When I was growing up I wanted to be like my dad. But once I started skateboarding and going to high school I immediately realized that I wanted to be something else.
Do you keep a diary?
I do. I mostly write when I'm on tour. When I'm home, my diary is mostly my work, my music, my paintings, or whatever. But writing is something that I've been trying to practice a lot lately.
What's the last dream that you can remember having?
I have a lot of dreams about bad shows or things going wrong on tour. The last bad show dream that really stands out to me was a couple of years ago when we went to South America, and before we got to Brazil, I had this crazy dream that a huge anaconda made its way onto the stage while we were playing. I just remember seeing this giant snake body slithering between objects and I just got the hell off the stage.
What would you most like to change about the world?
Oh man, I wonder what it would be like if the internet was free. If more people had opportunities. What is it that we're paying for? Are we paying for the actual signal to go to the satellite? Considering how beneficial it is for becoming self-employed, or even just working in any sort of industry that uses email, it would be great if everybody had access to it.
And what would you like to change about yourself?
I like who I am. I wish I had better cuticles though. I have such bad cuticles.
Have you ever pretended to be someone else in the mirror?
Constantly. When I go on stage, I look in the mirror and sort of check myself, you know? I honestly feel like even when I wake up in the morning and step out my house, I'm putting on a different face to who I actually am. Everything from that to even taking a selfie... it's not really real. It's all a version. The real me is sensitive and not confined to one sort of image that a lot of people see when you become a public figure. I like to wear Crocs at home and chill out in spandex, you know? I like to wear leg warmers. I like to Netflix and chill.
When was the last time you had an argument?
Probably a few months ago. It wasn't even an argument, it was just a conversation with my parents. Parents are just parents, you know? You can't really go against them. You'll always love them no matter what differences you have. It's just one of those things that takes time to learn. You've gotta step back and realize that, okay, they are people. Parents too, they start to realize that they can't talk to you like a kid, you are your own person with your own set of problems.
Do you meditate?
I do, yeah. I don't get a chance to every day but I definitely meditate in different ways, whether it be listening to ambient music or going on a hike, walking my dog, even driving. Driving is in a way the most mindless thing... you're just following the rules and keep an eye out for other people or cars. If you have good music on, you can just be in a nice place. If you're stuck in traffic or you're in a rush, there's only so much you can do. That's a great time to meditate as well.
What are you listening to in the car at the moment?
I like listening to jazz radio. I have an old 1988 truck so it's so fitting to just have old time radio playing at all times. I have an iPod hook up but I just prefer jazz radio, because when I get to my studio it's straight hip-hop and house and new stuff.
What would you look like if you were an alien?
Oh man, I'd just be straight naked. I'd be like, a water-based alien that fixes everything with water.
Sounds good. What did you do on your last day off?
I don't even know what a day off is. I think my last vacation was when I went to Marfa, Texas with my brother last summer. It's a very secluded, serene hippy town three hours outside of El Paso. It's full of art galleries and we just chilled for a straight week. I didn't think about music at all. It's been a while. Ever since then I've been working on the record and moving about — lots of lifting boxes.
What's your greatest ambition?
To never have enemies, and to be more communicative and understanding. There's no reason to have issues between people if they can communicate correctly. Loneliness is a real thing and it can drive you crazy and a lot of people are afraid of not having someone. But you've gotta love yourself first. You've gotta wake up in the morning and feel amazing and do your thing, make your coffee, do your yoga, whatever. And just appreciate the day. There's no time to worry about finding a partner or finding some place to work, you know? Just go and strive. The most ambitious thing for me is just trying to stay conscious I guess.
Do you have any phobias?
I guess loneliness, now that I mention it. What if your partner leaves or dies? Or your parents die? That and giant spiders and things in Australia. A friend just showed me a coconut crab and I wish I'd never seen the image because it's fucking haunting my brain. It's the scariest thing.
I'm Googling it now.
Oh my god, don't do that! Those things crawl out of the ocean and crack open coconuts, and occasionally they fall on people. If they can crack a coconut then I'm sure they can crack your head.
Who do you most admire?
I really admire the two most important women in my life: my mom and my wife. They're tough as hell. Actually, pretty much all females are ridiculously tough. It's tough to be seen and objectified and feel that amount of pressure to be a certain type of person.
Good answer. What do you talk about when you get your hair cut?
I usually talk about what I'm up to. My barber's usually asking when I'm going on the road again. Just small talk — the weather, girls, usual barber shop talk.
What do you think happens when we die?
I don't know. I hope I get to see it. I hope it's not just black.
What would you like to be reincarnated as?
I want to come back as one of the tallest, strongest trees so I can see everything and give things life. Trees know what's up. They know how to listen to the environment a little bit better than us.
If you could do anything without fear of repercussion, what would you do?
Man, I'd just do anything I could to go viral, because that's something I'm really afraid of — the idea of being a meme. I'd talk to my phone all day and be one of those viral celebrities.
If you could ask anyone a question, who would you ask and what would you ask them?
You know what? I want food. I'd ask Chef Ramsay to make me a meal.
The British chef that shouts at everyone?
Oh, Gordon Ramsay!
Yes! I think I've been watching too much Hell's Kitchen.
Finally, have you lied at any point in this interview?
Text Frankie Dunn