When I heard Toro y Moi at a free show at Vacation Gallery & Boutique in January, I had never heard of the guy and was really only going to have something to do. The space was tight — I was squeezed up next to a rack of vintage dresses — and some technical problems cut the show short after only a couple of sets, but… it. was. awesome.
It’s not often that I like an artist after the first listen, but Toro y Moi is one of those exceptions. As one commenter on the YouTube page for the video above pointed out with surprising clarity, “Theres some music that human beings cant resist” [sic].
Tomorrow night Toro y Moi will open for Caribou at The Earl, whose schedule declares emphatically that tickets are SOLD OUT!
(Learn more below about Toro y Moi and how indie bands should use promotional products to support word-of-mouth marketing.)
The Columbia, South Carolina native is already getting press on Pitchfork, and I predict within a year he’ll go the way of Passion Pit, who was playing 2:00 p.m. slots at secondary festival stages last May, and will headline a Tabernacle show in a month for which tickets are priced at $35. Toro y Moi already sounds a little like Passion Pit, grounding unearthly soprana notes with a steady, tribal backbeat.
The best promotional products for an artist at this point are the little things that aid word-of-mouth: Hang posters around town to advertise shows or album releases. Sell buttons and stickers at shows for a modest price or give away with the sale of a record. I’ve been to a lot of shows where the artist ran out of albums to sell, so make sure to bring cards with your contact info for fans to follow up. Give them a free keychain or something just so they don’t forget about you.
But be prepared for people to catch on. More and more, bands like Of Montreal are using promotional products to induce people to buy the album instead of the digital download. And when, as an artist, your popularity tips, fans will be looking for products to identify themselves as your supporters. So be ready for them at your $35 Tabernacle shows with t-shirts, bags, and, who knows, maybe even a Walkman cassette player.