When you hear or read the name “TOKiMONSTA” it’s difficult not to take notice, especially if you know “toki” is Korean for “rabbit.”

“Yeah, the “toki” part is a little more arbitrary than it implies,” says Jennifer Lee, the LA native and DJ behind the pseudonym. “It was around before my music career began. It is definitely one of those write-it-on-your-binder, old AIM screen names.”

While the name may be what grabs people’s attention, what draws them to her shows is the fact that TOKiMONSTA is one of the most talented DJs in the world right now, with an impressive sound catalog and an upcoming multi-date tour, which includes a stop at The Catalyst on Wednesday, November 11.

Yet, before she started going by TOKiMONSTA, Jennifer was just a normal kid with a passion for music growing up in Los Angeles.

Starting with classical piano lessons as a child, by the time Jennifer got to college she was making head turning tracks with an SP-404 and Fruityloops.

“At that point it was just a hobby, because from a practical standpoint it wasn’t an option for me because I didn’t think I would make it,” she says. “There was so much awesome music around me I didn’t know if I had what it took.”

While she may have lacked confidence during those very early days, her talent was not going unnoticed.

Now going by TOKiMONSTA, she had been showing up and playing her tracks at a monthly “Beat Cipher” event hosted by Project Blowed. Her progressive and calculated but still sensual beats earned her the attention of Steven Ellison (aka FlyingLotus) and he eventually put her on his label Brainfeeder.

Once she had an outlet for her talent, TOKiMONSTA wasted no time releasing her debut EP, 2009’s Cosmic Intoxication, followed by Midnight Menu in 2010. Suddenly the normal college kid was going on tour.

“In the beginning it was so hectic, constantly things happening, new memories come in and push others out,” says Jennifer when asked about her recollections of those early days in the business. “There were a lot of crazy times, like going on tour with Diplo and Skrillex and Grimes through Canada – all together on one train. And being able to play at large festivals, even in places like Mongolia.”

During this stage she also began collaborating with other artists, making music with a tropical twinge as Mama Toquilla, electro as Tokitronm, and working with Suzi Analogue as Analogue Monsta.

“I’ve always loved meeting and working with other musicians. Anderson Paak is someone I’ve been working with lately who I enjoy a lot. He’s been around in LA for awhile but is just starting to break through elsewhere. He’s all over the new Dr. Dre album. I recently decided to release one of his albums on Young Art [Jennifer’s record label], he’s really great and I recommend everyone check him out. I also just released a collab with Gavin Turek, and I will be releasing singles throughout the tour. I would love to mention all the amazing artists I’ve worked with on this upcoming album, Fovere, but I can’t yet – so keep an eye out!”

Her love of music and working with other artists is not only confined to her music, recently Jennifer started her own record label, Young Art. She released her EP, Desiderium in 2014 on the label, but it is used primarily to showcase music that she enjoys.

“I am a musician but first and foremost I am a lover of music, and having my own label allows me to express myself in that way. I like to think of myself as a curator of the music I love,” she says. “It is awesome to create a platform for artists to be heard by other people and to find artists that are genuinely talented and raise them up. It’s not really a big money making venture. it’s my passion project.”

Having already accomplished so much so fast, it is exciting to think of what the future holds for Jennifer Lee.

“I guess I set very vague goals for myself, but the main mission never changes,” she says. “Keep making music. Keep being creative. Keep reminding myself that this is something that I love.”

TOKiMONSTA with Leikeli47. 16+. 9 p.m. Wednesday, November 11. The Catalyst Club. Tickets: $20.

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