TOKiMONSTA rides ‘fovere’ high to hawaii


Since diving headfirst into the L.A. music scene, Jennifer Lee, better known by her moniker TOKiMONSTA, has made a name for herself as the first woman to join the Flying Lotus label BRAINFEEDER. Now, the DJ and record producer, known for her ability to mix vintage with progressive beats, returns to the islands for a show tonight (Oct. 7) at The Republik.

TOKiMONSTA — a play on the Korean word for rabbit (toki) and monster (monsta) —aptly describes the artist’s unique personality. Everything from the stylization to the unexpected marriage of bunnies and monsters hints at her as an artist: She does what she likes and runs with it, even if it doesn’t make sense on the surface.

After all, being wholeheartedly herself is something she’s always striving to embody as an artist. That means that traditional forms of music creation go out the window, the result of her eclectic variety of inspiration. Her rhythm comes from hip-hop, her instrumental music from DJ Shadow, her experimental inclination from Aphex Twin and various other electronic artists, and her understanding of melody and space is inspired by bands like Portishead and Radiohead.

“There are so many trends that everyone follows, and everyone’s music sounds the same,” she says. “I want to avoid that, even if it’s more risky.”

The chances she’s taken, it seems, have paid off.

TOKiMONSTA recently finished a tour for her latest album, FOVERE, as well as an appearance at Coachella in the spring, and is happy to be back in Hawaii, where her fan-base has grown over the years. Despite her numerous local appearances, she has a knack for bringing back fresh content for each visit. This time will be no different.

“I want to bring new music and a great shared time,” says the L.A. native. “I know that I always have fun on stage with my Hawaii audience and they have fun with me.”

FOVERE, which dropped in March, is her third album. It’s a self-described appreciation for her past work and how that past will shape her future — using ideas and elements from previous creations and learning from them.

FOVERE’s drop also marked an important step in her career, as she launched the album under her own platform, Young Art Records.

“I started YA to be a platform for artists I believe in,” she says. “There are so many amazing artists that may not have the resources to be heard — I want to raise them up.”


Getting Your Feet Wet With TOKiMONSTA
Between EPs and her new release FOVERE, there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to TOKiMON-STA and her eclectic sounds. Thankfully, DJ Tittahbyte (pictured), who opens the TOKiMONSTA show with fellow DJs Delve and Kurokumo, shares some of her favorite tracks with Metro readers.

1) Time To — Suzi Analogue x TOKiMONSTALoved this collaboration she did with artist Suzi Analogue. She modernized a classic beat and just the repeated lyric, “You make me reevaluate who I give my time to.” It really hits home.

2) Breathe on my Contacts — TOKiMONSTA
She remixed Télépopmusik’s Breathe and gave it more sound texture by adding grit and bass.

3) Put It Down — TOKiMONSTA ft. Anderson .Paak & KRNE
I feel like this song really shows her growth and versatility as a producer. She’s also really great at featuring underground artists and introducing them to her fans. You can tell she gives great support.

DJ and record producer TOKiMONSTA prepares for her Oct. 7 performance at The Republik.