Who is Will Toledo?
Will Toledo is a singer-songwriter of Mexican heritage, who was born in Virginia, USA on 23rd August 1992. Probably best known for founding indie band Car Seat Headrest, the musician is 5ft 7in (1.70m) tall and weighs about 135lbs (62kgs).
Childhood & Musical Beginnings
With a record store owner for a father, and an employee at a music recording company for a mother, Will was almost destined to become a musician. Inspired by his parents’ careers, the singer also dabbled in sports and acting as a child, before discovering where his true passion lay.
Will matriculated from high school in 2010, and began recording songs in the backseat of his car, thus birthing the name of his future band.
Previously, the musician released music under the name “Nervous Young Men”, but had difficulties in finding his target audience. Months later, he enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University, having already released four albums as the solo member of Car Seat Headrest: “1”, “2”, “3”, and “4”.
Gradually evolving into his signature lo-fi indie rock sound, Will released his first EP, “Sunburned Shirts”, during his first semester at VCU, followed in March 2011 by his first album, “My Back Is Killing Me Baby”.
After his first semester at university, Will transferred to the College of William & Mary, and worked on his next project, a concept album entitled “Twin Fantasy” which was inspired by a relationship. In 2012, the multi-instrumentalist released two EPs – “Monomania” and “Starving While Living”.
Shortly afterwards, Will began performing live shows with classmates Austin Ruhf, Katie Wood, and Christian Northover. In July 2013, the foursome released a live album entitled “WCWM: Car Seat Headrest”, which they recorded at their university’s studio.
A month later, the prolific Will released “Nervous Young Man” as a solo project, reworking and recording a handful of old tracks which had only been heard by a few longtime fans. The double album was accompanied by “Disjecta Membra”, an outtake compilation album.
His last solo release, “How to Leave Town”, came in 2014 – with it, Will experimented using electronic instruments and improved his song structures.
Matador Records signed Car Seat Headrest in September 2015, with the band sharing the good news on its official Facebook page. By this time, Will had graduated and moved to Seattle. Via Craigslist, he found drummer Andrew Katz and bassist Jacob Bloom, who joined forces with him to go on tour and produce the band’s next album.
The release of “Teens of Style” in October 2015 signaled a before and after in the band’s history, as its first project that wasn’t self-released via Bandcamp. Shortly afterwards, Jacob left the group to pursue his medical school dreams, replaced by Ethan Ives, who Will met during an open mic night.
The flexible bandmembers switched instruments various times before finding a winning formula: Seth Dalby began playing bass, and Ethan finally settled for the guitar. Still signed to Matador Records, the band worked hard on their following album, “Teens of Denial”, released in mid-May 2016.
Despite critical acclaim and newfound popularity, Will and the rest didn’t slack, and worked harder than ever to promote themselves. They supported the Transgender Law Center by releasing an alternate version of their single “War Is Coming (If You Want It)” and donating all profits.
A year and a half later, CSH surprised fans by releasing an old “Twin Fantasy” track – “Beach Life-In-Death” – via Spotify, without announcing it beforehand.
Soon, rumors swirled that the album would be reworked and re-released via the same platform. Sure enough, Matador Records released “Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)” in February 2018.
Associated Acts & New Material
Following the release of “Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)”, CSH covered a single by indie group “Smash Mouth”, who in turn covered their track “Something Soon”. The group also associated itself with “Naked Giants”, another Seattle-based band, going on tour together and combining their fanbases in the process.
Andrew confirmed in January 2019 that the band was working on new music, much to the delight of eager fans. In this time, the group debuted several tracks in live shows such as “You Know There’s Someone Out There” and “Weightlifters”.
Most of the new tracks were released on their following live album, “Commit Yourself Completely”, which was available from June 2019.
After a few quiet months, CSH thrilled fans by announcing “Making a Door Less Open”, a studio album with totally new material, the band’s first since “Teens of Denial”. Slated to release on 1 May 2020, the album was described as having elements of rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop, EDM, and soul music.
With the release of the new album, Will debuted his alter ego ‘Trait’. A New York Times article explained that: “Months ago, Toledo made up his mind to wear a costume, including the mask, while promoting his indie-rock band’s first album of new material since 2016”.
Inspired by David Bowie and his chameleonic changes throughout his music career, Will introduced a camp aspect to his live performances by going onstage with a mask.
Unfortunately, Trait’s debut coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, in which masks became a symbol of the global health crisis. Will said: “It [the mask] was supposed to be sort of an exotic alternative to reality… And now it just feels a lot more pointed in a way that I wasn’t planning on and don’t really take any pleasure in”.
However, the pandemic didn’t stop the prolific band from releasing “Making a Door Less Open” in vinyl, streaming, and CD versions.
Fans were shocked by the difference in sound compared to earlier projects, but even so the album received mostly positive reviews.
Since then, CSH has been busy at work on a companion album. Will has also been thinking of better ways to incorporate his alter ego in live shows.
Will’s Net Worth
Active in the music industry since the early 2010s, Will is said to be worth over $1 million thanks to revenue from streams, album sales, and live performances. Currently, CSH is made up of four longtime members, with Will having the highest net worth of the group.