TOKiMONSTA has pioneered the way for so many budding electronic producers out there, but when a sudden rare disease took over her brain she never could have expected to lose any sense of musical understanding. After a trialling recovery, she is back stronger than ever sharing her story and music. What an incredible woman she is setting the example for what hard work really means, and voicing her thoughts no matter what. She’s coming out for Laneway Festival next year and I can’t wait to see her live.
We’re almost at the end of 2017. How has this year been compared to others?
Oh wow I can’t even explain. This year has been the wildest year for me on so many levels. The past couple of years have been wild for me but in different ways, but this year in particular in terms of my growth and my music; most notably, I put out an album ‘Lune Rouge’. I hadn’t put one out in quite a while and I was a bit apprehensive but that’s where the nervous component shifted this year, but as soon as it dropped, the response and the touring has been really insane.
I know you’ve had a really challenging last couple of years. How did this album help you heal and perhaps re-identify yourself?
The most ardent point is that it was very healing and cathartic for me. I’m sure you’re aware of my health struggles last year and going through brain surgery. When all was said and done, I had these surgeries and they saved my life but as a result I wasn’t able to talk, walk or make music. When everything is taken away from you, you have a clear insight into who you want to be and what you want to do; you just don’t want to bullshit anymore. For me making this album was me appreciating my ability to create, and when you are making music for a while and surrounded by a scene and quality people, you verge on being a bit jaded with music, or even the music I wanted to be making. Once I realised that I could not be making music at all I was like, now I want to make music that makes me happy, is meaningful, gives my life meaning and hope that everyone else that listens to it is along for the ride with me
I’ve often had these conversations with my girlfriends where we pose the question: If you were to lose one of your senses, be it sight or hearing, which would you choose? I’ve always said I’d prefer to lose sight because music is such a life blood to me. When you were faced with that moment where music was a language you no longer understood or could hear, were you okay with that or was it quite confronting?
It’s a very peculiar situation what I was in. Once I woke up from surgery and I couldn’t understand music, it’s like it never existed. Cognitively I wasn’t able to understand it; I couldn’t even notice it. When I did try to listen to music it was like every song was a song I didn’t like, and if you don’t like music you just don’t listen to it. It became numb to me, that’s the thing that was sad, the idea that I would never be able to understand the pleasures of music. It’s hard to explain cause in that moment you don’t understand what you’re missing out on, but once it came back I realised I was missing out.
I want to touch on some breaking news overnight; the Time Magazine’s Person of the Year winner being ‘The Silence Breakers’. What a moment for this movement. You recently graced the cover of Dope Magazine ‘The Women’s Issue’ which is very significant. It’s a big time right now for women. How are you going to use your platform from here on out to vocalise your beliefs and actions in the current state of affairs?
As I have been. There’s no reason for me change my stance on anything; it’s always been pretty solid. I’ve always had a clear idea of what I want to represent as a human being. Even though women right now are finally being heard on a level that hasn’t been, I’ve still been saying the same thing. Now people get to pay attention to what I’m saying, and more people are listening.
You’re coming to Australia next year for Laneway Festival which is one of my favourite festivals. What have you heard about this festival and what are you most looking forward to?
I’m not really sure what to expect but from what I heard it’s kind of like camp, but camp for the artists. As you know it’s a travelling festival so you’re with the same people 10 days straight. I’m not apprehensive in a bad way but I hope we make it alive! I imagine it will be really fun! After 10 days let’s just hope I have all my hair, don’t lose a shoe and my luggage doesn’t get lost. I also know a lot of the line-up playing so it really will be summer camp for us I think!
What are you working on for 2018 – a single, an EP, an album?
Quite a few things actually. Even though I put out an album, I really can’t stay still; I need to keep creating and I have a high output. My goal for 2018: I’m going to follow up my album with an EP but not it’s own EP, it’s a little sister to the album. I also really want to spend 2018 and beyond creating a platform for other artists, and using my platform and any influence I have to build a new generation of musicians to come and take over. That’s the one tool I have from being around for a little bit; I can really help proliferate great music and I’m excited to do so. As much as I love making music, I love sharing and listening to it too.
author: Kara Bertoncini