SLC’s Toto Peña Debuts Single “Now”

SLC’s Toto Peña Debuts Single “Now”

Toto Peña moved back to his home of SLC in the past year after leading the band June Pastel in Baltimore. Going from a “samba shoegaze” on the East Coast to home in the Mountain West resulted in Peña going back to his musical roots too, channeling the likes of Prince or Sade with his new indie-soul solo project.

While Peña released some older song ideas during and after lockdown, “Now” is Peña’s says the song is his official debut as the project. He went back to his musical roots but he sounds modern too, sounding somewhere between Michael Seyer and Connan Mockasin.

Atwood Magazine wrote in their in-depth feature and premiere yesterday, “Sultry and smoldering, ‘Now’ is an achingly intimate intoxication brought to life through a soulful, dreamy haze. It’s a raw and visceral fever dream.”

Cusica wrote earlier today (roughly translating from Spanish to English), Peña mixes American and Latin sounds, beginning the song with the Clave Montuno before diving more American soul.

Peña said, “’Now’ is the first track I feel that I was able to fully see a song through production wise. I started my solo project right before the pandemic and I never really had the time or opportunity to work on a recording for more than a week or two. ‘Now’ feels like I was able to really let the concept of the song blossom and was able to see through each step of my production process. ‘Now’ feels like an arrival. Now.”

He filmed the music video with River Stephenson at the earthwork sculpture The Spiral Jetty in Utah, using the swirl as a consistent image and symbol for the song. He said he was playing with the idea “of the actions and decisions we make in life and how context changes over time. The feeling then of our choices, I think, also changes with time — much as how I see a Spiral. Visually, the Spiral is significant to me as it represents the emotional Spiral we go through at various times of our lives.”

With his last project June Pastel, he worked with now defunct label Native Sound (Divino NiñoSurf Rock Is DeadLost Film) and toured across the country. His previous music was covered by Clash MagazineMelted, and more, but his solo project is both a departure and a fresh start.

Toto Peña will be touring and releasing more music in 2023 after playing shows with the likes of Buscabulla, Avey Tare, TC Superstar, Brijean, and more this year.

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