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Toro y Moi Climbs Into the Driver’s Seat

On his seventh album, “Mahal,” the artist leans deeper into his Filipino heritage.

Photograph by Chris Maggio

Chaz Bear is hitting the road in a mode of transportation that’s not commonly seen Stateside.

“I was a fan of Jeepneys since I was a kid,” he tells W magazine in a recent phone interview, referencing the popular mode of transportation from the Philippines—its name a contraction of the words “jeep” and “jitney.” “My mom came back from the Philippines one trip, and she brought me a toy Jeepney. It’s been with me ever since. Those things were so badass to me and still are.”

The artist, known musically as Toro y Moi, grew up steeped in Filipino culture. But it’s on his seventh album, called “Mahal,” that Bear has leaned fully into his heritage as a source of inspiration. He’s been working for the past five years on the Seventies funk-inspired album, which released April 29—it’s also the first one he’ll be putting out under his new label, Secretly Group’s Dead Oceans.

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