Tokimonsta on Asshole DJs and Her Twitter Game
Tokimonsta is the subject of our music feature this week; for the story, we hung out with the beat scene DJ/producer at the dinner party event celeb chef Roy Choi whipped up for her at his restaurant A-Frame. A few days later we sat down with her over green tea to talk about her recently released sophomore LP Half Shadows. A few days after that, we ran into her again on the street after a late night party at SXSW in Austin.
Credit: Nikko Le Mere
She spoke about her rise through the beat scene, her creative process, releasing her new album on a major label and how rad her cat is. Here's some material that didn't make the story.
On deciding to release Half Shadows on Ultra Records:
If I'm going to be really honest, I feel like I was given a lot of creative freedom with the track listing, doing all the songs I wanted on it, who I wanted to remix and who I wanted to do the artwork. The single though was picked as a team by my manager and the label saying, "Oh these songs are really amazing let's pick this single" and me going, "Well I think they're all amazing so you can make whichever one the single."
On collaborating with MNDR on the single, "Go With It":
When she gave me the song I was really blown away. I come from Brainfeeder; we don't do singles, we just put out stuff. One might be picked to maybe have a video, but in this case with her the song turned out really awesome. It's more accessible than some of the stuff I've made in the past, but I kind of like the fact that more people can understand it. Her vocals on it have a pop sensibility...If I put anyone else on it, like a rapper, that would have changed the dimension of it as well.
On the kind of music she listens to:
I'm not a one mood kind of person and also with the music I like to listen to, I don't always listen to bass-ey chillwave. I like to listen to Wu-Tang and then Tame Impala or Warpaint or whatever. I'm always around the Flying Lotuses and the Gaslamp Killers, so that's always a backdrop for me. I find myself being really diverse, and I'm trying to represent that. I think I'd be really sad if all of my music sounded the same.
On the diversity of her fans:
The people who listen to my music are extremely diverse. I played a show in Hawaii recently and I thought like, ten people would show up; turns out it was a huge party. I had B-Boys pop locking in circles, I had fire throwers in the parking lots and indie hipsters and these EDM raver kids all there. It was bizarre but amazing. You have B-Boys and then you have Burning Man Honolulu. I don't know if it's through association or the way my music speaks to people or because I have so many moods that certain stuff speaks to certain types of people.
On the early days of beat making:
I never thought I was good at it. I didn't know any other musicians. I didn't know any rappers. I would always make instrumental beats by default because I didn't have anyone to rap on things. When I did know rappers they thought my stuff was too weird and too busy to rap over.
On the plans for her upcoming tour behind Half Shadows:
What I want to do in the fall is do it more like a concert and a show and less like a DJ and a party. My music isn't overly DJ-like. I want to bring more instruments, a visual element and hopefully a vocalist with me on tour.
On the rigors of touring:
If I'm at home too long I need to leave because I get bored, and if I'm out on the road for three weeks I need to go home because I lose stability in my life. I feel like I'm in limbo. You just feel like you pause your life for awhile to go on tour. The repetitive actions of home make you feel stable. I get sick of both and I love both, but it is also grueling.
Usually in the U.S. I fly out and fly home. I still get the stability and I don't party super hard. When I'm in Europe I tour every day and that's when drinking becomes exhausting. I don't drink or do anything. I don't oversocialize. In some places people try to get you wasted and you have to politely decline because you have to wake up at 5am for a train.
On her random cameo on the Travel Channel show Deep-Fried Food Paradise:
It was awesome. No it wasn't it was very embarrassing when I was watching it. They always show that show. It's a filler show they show in the daytime. No one really eats that gracefully anyways.