The ‘Sandhills’ EP and film are a journey home for Toro y Moi, as the project finds him returning to the South and exploring his relationship to South Carolina. The project, brought to life through its companion film, tells the story of his homecoming with an autobiographical lens — producer Katherine Perry was Chaz Bear’s high school photography teacher, director Steve Daniels worked with Bear on a video for his high school band (and is Perry’s husband), the football team featured in the film are the actual members of his hometown’s high school football team and the Columbia, SC-based artist Ernest Lee (perhaps better known as Chicken Man), who is responsible for the EP’s artwork, is featured in the film in its opening track “Back Then.”
Beyond its lyrical themes, though, ‘Sandhills‘ marks a sonic homecoming for Bear. After pioneering the sound that came to be known as chillwave at the close of the aughts, Bear has gone on to master pop, disco, psych, yacht rock, ambient and more across his releases as Toro y Moi, Les Sins and Plum over the past 10+ years. The new EP finds him exploring Americana in a way that he’s only hinted at in past releases, a fitting genre through which to dissect his upbringing in the South.
‘Sandhills’ marks another chapter in Bear’s continued sonic evolution — one that promises a reinvented Toro y Moi with each new body of work. It’s somewhat of a return to his roots after collaborating with some of pop’s most exciting stars, including Flume, Blood Orange and Tyler, The Creator, among others.