TOKiMONSTA is a name that hardly needs an introduction. Having made a name for herself in the LA club scene, she graduated from the Red Bull Music Academy in 2010, before going on to being the first woman to release music from Flying Lotus‘ Brainfeeder label, as well as releasing through Ultra, playing at Coachella, touring with Skrillex and founding her own label, Young Art. Refusing to stick within one genre, her discography spans everything from ambient to hip hop, with or without vocals and using an array of different influences and inspirations. Her third full length album, Desiderium dropped last year, and now she is gearing up to fit a few Australian shows into her ever-increasing tour schedule. We were lucky enough to Skype with her in some rare downtime whilst she was in the studio, and are counting down the days until she finally touches down in Australia. Check the tour dates below and take my advice to jump on the few remaining tickets – TOKiMONSTA is not one to miss!
Ok! Well first off, what’s up?! I’m so excited to be talking to you
Hey! I’m excited to be talking to you too.
I think it’s day time over there correct?
Yeah it’s midday here. What time is it over there?
7pm. Sun’s still up so it’s nice!
Oh that’s cool! Are you getting excited to come to Australia?
Yes! It’s been so long and I have so much new material now. I’m really looking forward to this trip.
It’ll be a bit different to the shows you’ve been playing lately. Slightly more intimate club shows. Do the venue or environment impact you and your set much?
Venues only affect my shows if the sound is poor, which is upsetting for me as I don’t get to play my music at the quality it should be heard.
I really enjoy intimate crowds as I feel as though we are sharing a real moment with each other.
It can be a little strange when people are very close up and have their cell phones in my face, but you know–I have my ways around that
I can imagine that would be something really strange that you’d have to get used to!
One thing I really admire about you is that you’ve started up your own label. Did you take any important lessons from working with Brainfeeder and Ultra that you’ve put into Young Art?
Creative freedom to the artist is important. If an artist wants to work with a specific visual artist for the album art or a particular director for a music video– I want to facilitate that. I really like the idea of a listener having a 360 degree creative experience.
I’ve actually read about how your performances are almost interactive in a way. How do manage to keep listeners or audiences engaged? Surely some nights are harder than others
A top goal is that the audience has fun, but my next top goal is that I have fun. So in theory, I just want all of us to enjoy each other’s company and share a great experience together.
Some nights can be difficult if I’m opening for an artist that has a completely different fan base than me, but I’ve learned to carry on and find joy in what I do.
I love that! I think that the narrative or story style of your records also comes into play with that experience as a whole. You’ve spoken about not exactly loving touring as it keeps you from making music, which actually makes me slightly concerned for you ahead of your Aus tour! How do you cope with being on the road, especially because you actually tour quite a bit?
i’ve actually adjusted to that a bit now.
i am now able to work on music on the road–or at least start strong ideas.
it used to be a pain, but i’ve become quite resilient with all the travel.
All part of adapting and growing, much like all the other factors of being an artist
Speaking of that, I know you are constantly asked about being a female artist, but I just wanted to know because you’ve been in the game for a few years now, and I’ve been a fan of yours for the past two years at least. I’ve seen and heard your music change and develop as you’ve gone along, but what are some of the most notable changes you’ve seen in electronic or dance music in the last few years as an artist?
so many more female producers!
like, respectable ones.
not to put down other female musicians, but i’m speaking as a music lover not as a female music lover.
i feel like the bar was set too low for some females in electronic music.
you can’t create an equal sphere if you make it easier for women.
It’s awesome to see that, even though what you’re saying is true, some females have taken it upon themselves to smash through any and all expectations. Looking forward now, what else can we expect to come from you in the next few months? Do you have any secret surprises for your time in Aus?
I will be unveiling some really new music in Australia that no one else has heard yet.
As far as what to expect in the new few months–releases of the songs I will unveil to Australia first. Hehe
Oh that’s rad! Why did you choose to unveil it in Aus? I’ve read that you’re actually quite fond of Australian audiences, is that right?
i always have a great time in australia–you all really get me
as far as why in aus? i suppose it’s because i suddenly have a lot of new music. i made a bunch of stff during my break from heavy travels this past month.
Well we can’t wait to have you back! I’ll let you go now. I can’t wait to hear the new material and see you in Brisbane. It’s going to be all time 😀
thanks you for your time!
see ya soon 😉
TOKiMONSTA tour dates:
Wed Jun 3
La De Da, Canberra
Thurs Jun 4
Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Fri Jun 5
San Fran, Wellington
Sat Jun 6
Revolt Artspace, Melbourne
Sun Jun 7
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Fri Jun 12
Sat Jun 13
Sun Jun 14
The TBC Club, Brisbane