Lose yourself in your music
From hip hop to house, TOKiMONSTA turns out powerful beats with Circuit Rhythm.
TOKiMONSTA has never been one to stick to the conventional. Blending an array of found sounds and samples with an inspired sonic palette, Jennifer Lee, better known under the moniker TOKiMONSTA, has had a prolific career creating electronic music that moves between genres. Her unique sense of musicality brings excitement to the world of electronic music and hip-hop beat making like no other.
Her work has garnered the respect and adoration from peers and fans across the globe, including collaborations with the likes of Anderson .PAAK, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Bibi Bourelly, and a Grammy Award nomination for her 2017 album ‘Lune Rouge’ in 2019.
Alongside producing mind-melting beats, she’s also the founder of Young Art Records, an independent record label that champions equally eclectic and creative electronic music. We visited TOKi in a studio in Los Angeles and followed her through the sounds of the city woven into her music.
“Even though I play a lot of music myself, I think that the sampling component is always going to make my music stand out.”
TOKi’s approach to sampling stems from sheer curiosity and a hunger for originality. Early musical origins as a classically trained pianist served as a playground for her sampling interests. “When I was a child playing classical music, I didn’t like playing entire pieces, I just played parts of them. I only wanted to play the parts of the songs that I wanted to play.” This rebellious, classical sampling technique combined with a love of hip-hop and electronic music would soon become the building blocks of TOKiMONSTA’s future sound.
“Sampling is incredibly important to my production… It opens all these doors when you thought that you were stuck.”
Whether it was old school vinyl sampling of breaks and melodic instruments or taking to the shores of Los Angeles to record the perfect break of an ocean wave, Lee’s catalogue of hand-selected sounds brings a unique flavour to her beat making. “When you have that palette, no one can copy you.” With Circuit Rhythm at the centre of her set up, she’s able to bring those sounds to life in an intuitive and original way. “Even though I play a lot of music myself, I think that the sampling component is always going to make my music stand out.”
“It became really fun to lose yourself in the process of making a beat.”
Watch TOKiMONSTA in action as she builds a beat step by step using Circuit Rhythm. “I realised it really plays into the intuitiveness of building music, and you lose that when you’re constantly making music on the computer,” she notes. “It became really fun to lose yourself in the process of making a beat. It was pretty refreshing for me.”
In TOKi’s performance, she is able to connect with her audience in a way that feels like she’s giving back to the community that sparked her musical curiosity. “I only make music because I love music, and when I’m performing, I get to be in the space of sharing again, sharing with everyone.”
Experience sampling through the mind of TOKiMONSTA. Get a taste of her unique sound pack over on Novation’s SoundCloud.