On my quest to feature female beat makers I thought posting a couple TOKiMONSTA vids and production facts would be dope. Just because…
Born and raised in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, TOKiMONSTA (Jennifer Lee) was an unfocused pupil of classical piano. However, she has come to use this background to create vast textural soundscapes by utilizing live instruments, percussion, digital manipulation, and dusty vinyl. Through the creation of beats, she is able to fuse vintage sounds with progressive styles into something unique.
In her DJ Times (March 2011) interview TOKiMONSTA discussed her creative set up, live set up and her favorite pieces of gear.
Live Set Up: Simple. Macbook, PreSonus FireStudio Mobile interface, Akai APC40 & Bome’s MIDI Translator.
Creative Set Up: Vinyl, Roland SP-404 sampler, Vestax Handytrax portable turntable, Rhodes EP, Moog (unknown model), microKorg XL, various percussive instruments and VSTs
Favorites Pieces: Rhodes EP. MicroKorg XL because “it’s light and portable with parameter options, and has fatter sound than the previous version.”
Production Tip: When explaining a bit about her production technique TOKiMONSTA says “I do a lot of programming on the computer and use a lot of VST plug-ins out of convenience and efficiency, but I will record audio into the SP-404 and record back out. Just one digital-to-analog pass helps tons. Also the effects on the SP are fun to play with.”
On her 2011 project, Creature Dreams (Brainfeeder), TOKiMONSTA opted to work late – or early, depending on how you look at it. Most of her music is made between two and seven in the morning, because at that time of night “my mind works in strange and mysterious ways.” Hence the title of this EP, a series of warm but decidedly woozy pieces of music, the soundtrack to the oddest, most beautiful dreams you’ve ever had.
From the bouncing bass-beds of “Bright Shadows,” the Cocteau’s-meet-LA-Beat of “Darkest Dim” (like “Little Pleasures,” featuring the exquisite vocals of Gavin Turek), on into “Moving Forward” (which sounds like the music R2D2 makeslove to), the driving, relentless beat of “Day Job,” this is an EP suffused with both warmth and creativity.
Here are a couple of video interviews for you to get to know her a little bit better.
Soundwaves KPFK: Interview w/ TOKiMONSTA