We had the good fortune of connecting with Dream Tonic and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristin, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve been hearing compositions in my head since I was a young child. At the age of 6, I started playing piano and would create my own invented graphic notation in order to notate the pieces I was creating. I feel as though making music is a calling that I must heed. This calling has led me through many different facets of being a musician – from being a classically trained pianist to doing field studies on the death music rituals in Bali to joining a touring samba crew to performing onstage with world renowned acts to orchestrating concerts for K-12th graders to finally learning how to produce my own music. I create music simply because I HAVE TO. If I don’t make time to create the music that fills up my mind, I find myself being grumpy, restless, resentful and ancy. Once I’m creating however, I feel inspired, at ease, excited and on fire.
I think more importantly, however, music and dance has been a way for me to continually find my way back to myself and I want my music to do the same for others. Music and dance makes us feel beautiful, grounded, connected and in touch with ourselves and others. Music brings light and beauty into our lives – something we all need more of.
Ever since I joined the Producer Dojo (https://www.producerdojo.com) record label and producer community, my productivity has nearly tripled as a singer/songwriter and music producer. I have had some amazing collaborations with incredibly talented producers and musicians in the crew, which has resulted in some work for TV and film in the pipeline in addition to some live shows.
Please enjoy our latest music video (I Taste) and keep your eye out for the upcoming Dream Tonic debut EP! Also, make sure to take a listen to this novel melodic downtempo interpretation of Silent Night that was just released and will appear on a limited edition Christmas Songs NFT.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Hi! My artist project – Dream Tonic – is the culmination of years of classical training as a pianist combined with my love of dance music and poetry. As a music producer, learning how to shape and create the sounds I hear in my head is one of the most exciting things for me right now. Understanding technically what is going on in some of my favorite dance music and then being able to implement those techniques into my own music has been incredibly satisfying.
It hasn’t been easy to land where I’ve landed thus far. As mostly a live musician performing onstage with various groups, coming into the role of female music producer (fewer than 5% of all music producers are female!) has been daunting to say the least, especially while mothering two young children during covid, where I rarely had any peace and quiet. I was somewhat technophobic prior to learning my way around my music production software (Ableton) and I initially thought it was something that I would never gain mastery of. I overcame this initial fear of technology by realizing I simply HAVE to create the music in my head otherwise I would wind up unhappy and resentful. So, I committed to myself – and made very clear to my family – that this was going to be a priority. I learned as much as I could by diving into LinkedIn learning courses on Ableton, booking one-on-one sessions with other talented producers, watching tutorial after tutorial on YouTube about certain production techniques and joining the Producer Dojo community. I carve out time from my busy life to produce and am pretty much obsessed with it. My family has come to respect that I need LOTS of alone time and space in order to produce.
I would like the world to know that we are all humans and it is in our nature to seek connection to ourselves and others. Certain stimuli help fuel our connection to ourselves and others. Music and dance has personally been a lifeline for me to come back to myself and connect with others again and again. My simple wish is that if my music speaks to you, I hope it helps you feel more grounded and deeply connected to yourself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d definitely go rollerblading along the coast in Venice, then maybe take a trip up to Malibu and relax at one of the many beautiful, wild beaches. After some dinner with a live show and dancing in a club (of which there are too many to choose from in LA!), I’d then drive down to San Diego where we’d visit Balboa Park, go to one of the many museums, and catch a samba class with live drumming at the World Beat Cultural Center. We’d definitely eat at City Tacos in Encinitas and then go either kayaking, paddle-boarding and/or jet-skiing in Mission Bay followed by yet another bike ride along the beautiful Pacific coast. After that, we’d end up in Joshua Tree and go camping underneath the myriad of stars, finished off by traveling to a music festival of some kind (Lightning in a Bottle perhaps?)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shoutout to ill.Gates (aka Dylan Lane), head honcho at the Producer Dojo record label and producer community. He’s brought me under his wing, mentored me personally, presented me with opportunities I would have otherwise not had and has helped to elevate my music and get it to the next level. Thanks for believing in me Dylan! Also, a huge shoutout goes to one of my main collaborators, Lucien Francis. He keeps me inspired and on point and despite both of our busy lives, we somehow always get it done. One of my biggest inspirations and support systems is my husband, Tai Farmer. He is not only the inspiration for so many of my lyrics, but he helps out on almost every single front you can possibly imagine, both musically and spiritually.
Erica Manfre of American Huney, Richard Tiland of Dk3 Studios and Eric Feliciano of Media Nook