Tell me some words about your musical path.
I believe my first musical steps were with my piano lessons my mother made me take growing up. Once I entered university is when I actively began to make my own music as a hobby.
Who influenced you as a young woman musically? Who are still in the favorites, who are you listening to now?
I was influenced by early hip hop, like Wutang and J Dilla. However, the trip hop movement was big on me, like DJ Shadow and DJ Krush. I still listen to these, as well as tons of indie rock, folk, bossa nova, and various electronic music.
And where do you find your own inspiration?
I find it everywhere. I can't say I just have one thing that makes me feel creative.
How quickly did you come to your current sound?
It wasn't quickly, I am and still am evolving. I've been experimenting since I started making music — it's the best thing about it.
What difficulties have you faced as a budding musician?
I faced a lot of criticism because I am a women doing slightly experimental music. I've learned to overcome and ignore these criticisms — it doesn't help me become a better artist.
If we talk about your first steps in your music career, have you ever faced with misunderstanding from other musicians or listeners?
All the time, it's just what happens to all musicians. I think it's a good thing because it means you're creating something that is making people think. People are always scared of change from what they're used to.
And another follow-up question... It’s a fact that you are really pretty woman. Was it helpful or not in your early career?
In the very beginning of my career, I didn't let anyone know I was a woman. It's distracting to people and I want people to focus on the music not these superficial things like how I look or my culture, etc. Some people will like my music, then say I'm ugly. Where some people might think I'm attractive and think my music is shit. It's really confusing, but it doesn't mean much to me at the end of the day.
Tell me about your creative process.
I have no real process. I just feel like making a song and it comes together--it's really weird actually. I have no idea how I come up with some of these ideas.
When working on new tracks, how you determine that they are ready? Do you have any specific criteria in evaluating your own tracks?
I have to work on a track until I think it's done, otherwise I will never finish the track. In terms of criteria, it's based off of feelings. Whether or not I believe the song has reached its full potential.
Are there any things in the music (style, sound, creative methods) that you do not accept or just do not like? When you feel that even with the most daring experiments with your sound you do not want to resort to them?
I try to be open minded about all music. I find younger musicians try to overuse certain techniques and it can become annoying, but they will learned to be more nuanced as they grow.I find younger musicians try to overuse certain techniques and it can become annoying (too much side chaining compression or too much glitching), but they will learned to be more nuanced as they grow. I don't feel as though I've done my most daring experiment yet, I'm waiting for it.
Do you have your own most favorite track of Tokimonsta?
I think I'm happy with my song ‘The World is Ours’. It's never been formally released, yet it's my most popular song. I think this song gives off the mood I want all my music to give off. Music that makes you feel something deep inside.
You released Creature Dreams EP not so long ago. How do you feel about this EP? What is the main emotion that you put in it?
I wanted the emotion to be dreamy and spacey with little bits of romance or darkness. I'm really proud of this EP because it's really the first step in me showing people the kind of music I want to make.
It seems that beatmaking is mainly male dominated occupation. Girls are few and far between. Why do you think that is? But, well, maybe I am wrong and in US there is another situation... so just tell me about it.
I get asked this quite often, but will never have a secure answer. I'd like to think that there a ton of women producers that are simply getting neglected, but the reality is that this is probably not true. There aren't many females seriously pursuing this style of music.I'd like to think that there a ton of women producers that are simply getting neglected, but the reality is that this is probably not true. There aren't many females (in comparison to men) seriously pursuing this style of music. Perhaps the idea of approaching software and tech-based production is less intuitive and more daunting than what is required to create other styles of music, but that should be no excuse. On the bright side, there are more and more females entering this realm of music — I see it increasing.
Did you collaborate with other female musicians? If yes — is there any difference in collaborations with man and woman? Maybe any specific in co-working etc.
I work with a lot of female vocalists, but not other female producers because there aren't many. I don't have a preference between men and women, but there are more men producers in general that have the level of skill that I would want to work with.
Jennifer, I know that you've played not only in US. Was there a big difference between the musical atmosphere and feedback of the public in your gigs in different countries, cities? Tell me about your impressions and experience. Maybe you have some interesting or weird stories from your gigs...
I know that cities that do not have a lot of musical acts come by are the most exciting and appreciative. Playing in big cities like London or New York is always going to be great, but these people are spoiled because they have big musicians come by often. Playing in Budapest or Sofia, Bulgaria brings out the people who really love you and travel far just to see you. Most of my stories involve drunk boys being drunk boys and asking me silly questions or favors. I haven't had a really weird thing happen quite yet.
Can you give an insight into the diversity of the beat scene in USA? By your own feeling. Is there a big competition between the local musicians? And how hard is to gain popularity nowadays? What do you think?
I think in LA there is healthy competition. It's as though we want to make each other better musicians by improving upon ourselves. It's a good time for musicians in Los Angeles.
It is interesting to know how you perceived the music business when you first became involved and how your perception of it has changed over time.
Yes, it has changed a lot. It's a strange world that can be very superficial at times, but you have to make sure you make the right decisions for yourself to be the artist you want to be and not what other people want you to be.
Our magazine supports free legal releases. So if we talk about spreading the music, how do you feel about that thing when independent musicians spread their releases for free download or the ability to make a donation?
I think it's amazing. The reality is that The reality is that people are going to probably download your music illegally, so you might as well give them some free tunes or donation tracks.people are going to probably download your music illegally, so you might as well give them some free tunes or donation tracks. For indie artists, this method can really get your name out there.
With the development of Internet and wide availability of various social networks, everyone can now feel closer to their idol. What do you think, what are the pros and cons in this for the artist?
I think this can take away from the mystery of the people you look up to. Sometimes you think someone's music is amazing and you find they're a terrible person by their persona online, and it can ruin their music for you. I think certain artists should learn how to take it easy sometimes.
How do you relax? Any hobbies? Perhaps a hobby-projects not related to music?
I really love to cook. I also really look to dine out. I think food is another form of creativity that you can experience and always partake in. It's one of my big hobbies.
Any plans about your future? Which prospects of your own development are the most interesting for you?
In the future, I see myself doing bigger things and making more boundary pushing music. I only want to do more creative things that people can have access to. There is no interest for me to be ‘famous’, but I want people to be able to experience my music on a wider scale.
What could we expect from you in 2011? Any other releases, collaborations, projects, etc.
Lots of big things. They're a secret though!!
What would you advise to budding musicians?
Always strive to be unique. The last thing you want is to sound like someone else.