Known for her uniquely multi-dimensional sound, Jennifer Lee aka TOKiMONSTA’s diverse electronica beats are occasionally classified as instrumental hip hop. Though she is of Korean descent, Jennifer was born and bred in the South Bay area of sunny Los Angeles, California. Classically trained as a pianist, Jennifer was first introduced to electronic music in high school; she tried her own hand at rap beats in college; graduated with a degree in business; worked for a video game producer; and released her first album Midnight Menu in 2010.
In anticipation of her fifth album Lune Rouge and a live show at The Bee Publika, Marie Claire caught up with TOKiMONSTA.
Image by Nikko Lamere
When were you first introduced to electronic music – and when did you start producing?
I was introduced to electronic music at the start of high school by way of drum and bass, house, and IDM. I started producing once I entered college, but mostly in attempt to make rap beats, not electronic music.
Describe your sound in three words.
Different, but familiar.
Your latest music video release is Don’t Call Me, which features Malaysian R&B singer Yuna. Tell me more about the collaboration.
I think we were both silent fans of each other, though I really didn’t know she knew who I was. I think the song we made is the sum of both of our best parts. The video was just the perfect accompaniment.
Lune Rouge will be out this fall. What can we expect from your fifth studio album?
This is actually my third full length album. It’s been quite a long time since my last once, but I have release two EPs in between. This album is not a huge departure in any way from my previous work, but I think a further progression or next step.
How important is stage presence – both as a DJ and as part of the audience? Is it something that comes naturally to you?
I think stage presence is fairly important as you don’t have a band to back you up, at least in most cases. It is definitely not natural to me and it’s been a long road to get to the comfort level I am at now. It can be terrifying to be in front of 15,000 people, but you just have to tune that out.
What is TOKiMONSTA’s signature makeup look?
I’d say a dramatic eye or lip, but I never go for anything too costume-y– I want people to see me on stage and know that I’m a real person, not a character.
What can Malaysian fans expect from your live set at The Bee?
I’m not on stage to feel separated from the crowd and, in the same way, the audience is not there to feel alienated by me. It’s all about a shared experience all together. I’m definitely about testing everyone’s inner music buff.