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Interview with the enchanted beat head of Los Angeles: TOKiMONSTA

toki-monsta-by-Julian-Bajsel
Photo by Julian Bajsel

L.A born and raised producer/ beat maker Jennifer Lee (aka TOKiMONSTA) has made her presence known in the music scene for the last few years as she has graced stages worldwide and unleashed her captivating beats on the masses. Years ago TOKiMONSTA's sound captured the attention of Flying Lotus, who later made her the first female artist signed to BRAINFEEDER.

As you'd expect given her association with BRAINFEEDER, TOKiMONSTA's sound is fluid and deep. Each heavy yet dreamy beat and song she puts together has made a mark on the Los Angeles electronic music scene, leading to a huge year for one of LA's most promising young producers-- she released her hit EP Half Shadows that included a collab with Kool Keith, and this coming Saturday  will take the R.B.M.A. Discotheque stage  at HARD Day of the Dead at 4:15pm. L.A. Taco's Desilu Muñoz  had the chance to catch up with TOKiMONSTA this week as she prepared for her set. Read the interview below and clear your schedule so you can space out with her hypnotic beats.

What does Tokimonsta mean? How did you get this name?

Toki means rabbit in Korean. Monsta is a silly way I wrote monster.  It was a childhood nickname and screen name way back in the day and so I ended up making it my artist name.

Has being born and raised in Los Angeles influenced your sound?
Totally has. I wouldn't of even probably be making music if I didn't live in this city. I've met so many helpful people throughout the years. Having places like Low End Theory really made a difference too. It's been amazing to be able create music in Los Angeles.

Do you think music has a gender to it?
Not exactly.  Music can be emotional or more aggressive, which can lead to the idea of "feminine" and "masculine" sounds.  It's not a fair way to describe music though. Music should be genderless.

What is something you wish you knew about music when you first began?
How to learn mixing techniques to make things sounds better. That would of saved me so much time.

Is there anyone you would like  to collaborate with?

I'd love to work with Missy Elliott and Bjork, I think they are incredibly creative. Besides them, I love collaborating with Gavin Turek. We've done a lot songs together now.

What albums do you have in rotation?
I've just been listening to a lot of old Chicago house.

Last time we had the chance to ask you where your favorite taco spot was, it was Taco Sinaloa, how about now?
I actually moved into LA now and taco Sinaloa is in Torrance so, now I really like the El Pastor from El Flamin taco and Taco Zone.

Any other food places you love besides taco spots?
I really like the korean food in Koreatown.  I recommend the handmade noodle soup at Myung Dong Gyoza.

Where are your favorite places to shop for music?

There are a few places I like to check out which are Rockaway Records for the classics in Silverlake, Origami in Echo Park always has a lot of new music and one of my all time favorites is Poo Bahs in Pasadena. They host a lot of interesting in store performances and Ras G works there which always makes the store fun to visit, plus they have a lot of great obscure and used records that I like to hang out and dig through.

Are you working on any new projects at the moment?

Well I'd like to release two ep's in the next year, it can sometimes take a lot time to put something new out so I'm definitely going to push myself to come out with some new music this coming year.

Lastly, do you see yourself being a dj and producer for the rest of your life?
Yes!

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