Von was shunned by the mainstream music industry—but that isn’t stopping her from creating beats with her vibrator

Von was shunned by the mainstream music industry—but that isn’t stopping her from creating beats with her vibrator

When music artist and producer Von goes to parties, she gets recognized for her unorthodox way of producing music.

“Everyone’s like, ‘You’re the vibrator girl,’” she told the Daily Dot in a Zoom interview. 

And they’re right: Von makes music with her vibrator. Using the Lioness’ smart vibrator, Von is able to create beats using the contractions of her vagina that occur when she orgasms. The internal sensors on the toy track her vaginal contractions and display the peaks and valleys of her orgasm as a wavelength on the Lioness app. Then, Von converts the wavelength of her orgasm into a soundwave.

“You can change [the parameters of an orgasm] to literally anything you want,” she told the Daily Dot. “I just happen to change it to amplitude over time, which is sound.”

In a viral TikTok explaining her process, Von says she picks part of the waveform shown on the Lioness app, inputs the waveform into Serum (a wave table synth), and then “[messes] with” the wave form until she gets a beat she likes.

Von started releasing music made with her vibrator when she was 21. Now at 24, she’s a multi-hyphenate: a producer, performer, community organizer, event planner, and artist. With over 12K followers on TikTok and almost 5,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, Von releases original tracks and remixes featuring her signature “irreplicable” beats, some of which she also sings on. All of Von’s music is promoted on her Instagram.

Her latest visual for her song “Last Night” shows Von in her power, stealing credit cards from unsuspecting men’s back pockets and tattooing her name on their backs. She performs her music live at Bloody Mary, a party series she promotes on her Instagram and hosts in Brooklyn, that “puts femmes at the center of grungy nightlife, welcomes sex workers, fetish communities, and actively dismantles shaming stereotypes.”

Von funds all her projects via sex work through multiple mediums. All her endeavors live under her production company Vondom Labs—a play on words to signify “the kingdom of Von.” 

But her reign hasn’t always been easy. Her production techniques and activist mindset, she says, created obstacles for her in the past.

“When I first started this, it was so easy to do all these press articles,” she told the Daily Dot in a Zoom interview. (Von received coverage in Vice, Nylon, and Earmilk—just to name a few—when she came onto the scene in 2018.) “But when it really came down to, like, what [I] was actually trying to say and what [I] was trying to promote? No one wanted to touch it.”

And while neglect from mainstream music labels and higher-ups initially made her angry, she now sees their response to her work as “the best thing,” a signifier that she’s doing something important and different.

“[If] everyone’s comfortable with what you’re doing? You’re in a crowded lane. No one fucking needs it,” she said, reflecting on the music industry.

@vonmusic

thx u @annatheaverage & @Alexx for the inspo to do this #foryou #fyp #seggseducation

♬ original sound – Von

She’s aware that the nature of her music will be perceived as controversial by some. So, before she ever released music, she knew she had to make sure she had a “sense of self deep enough that it won’t be wavered by the responses” her music and other work gets. 

Her unwavering sense of self has allowed Von to create an entire brand around her music, which she refers to as a larger political statement. But like many sex workers and sex educators, her content is heavily censored on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, in particular. 

She says that her content—which includes explanations of her vibrator-created beats, deep-dives into Catholic guilt, and commentary about online censorship itself—gets her shadowbanned on Instagram and TikTok. She says anything that gets successfully posted without earning the artist a content violation is usually only 30% of what she “really wants to talk about.” 

“It really dilutes everything that I would like to say,” she says of social media platforms. “I have to, like, drag people from Instagram to my website.”

Von says this is why she’s psyched about Web3 (also called Web 3.0), which was described by NPR’s Bobby Allyn as “an iteration of the internet where new social networks, search engines and marketplaces crop up that have no company overlords.” Think: a version of the internet without big names like Google (Alphabet), Facebook (Meta), and Amazon running the show. Rather, Web3 would function in a decentralized manner via blockchain, “operated by users collectively, rather than a corporation.”

Because Von sees her work, art, and message as outside the boundaries of what traditional social media allows and grants its users access to, she’s optimistic that Web3’s decentralized structure will enable her to get paid directly in cryptocurrency, without a middleman—like Instagram or TikTok—taking a cut of her profits.

“As a business person [Web3 makes it easy] to really control your forms of currency and cut out the middlemen that honestly don’t really care about sex workers,” she told the Daily Dot in a phone interview. “Things can be decentralized, and, you know, we can have more initiatives that fund onboarding for sex workers and education.”

Von’s vision is to have her music, content that she would normally post on social media, content that would normally go up on her OnlyFans, event details as well as ticketing for her shows, and anything else she’d like to post all in one place—rather than all over her multiple platforms like her content is now. Different tiers of subscriptions or memberships would be available to view different combinations of her content. 

“It’s way more of a flexible, malleable way to one create a fan base of people in a community,” she said of Web3, which she hopes will help her combine all her streams of income. “Hopefully, we get to a place where people are not just subscribing to my OnlyFans to consume the content, they’re subscribing to my OnlyFans, because they’re also wanting to subscribe to my message.”

And of course, she hopes to achieve mainstream success with her music. But hearing so many “nos” because of her vehement sex-positive, pro-sex worker message has made her realize that she has to harness her own community to garner the favor of the mainstream music industry. So Von hopes to invest in her growing fanbase, which she believes will allow her to get the attention of people who have turned her down in the past. 

“Then when [my success] becomes inevitable to ‘the guy in the suit’; he has no option but to invest,” she told the Daily Dot in a phone interview. “I definitely think the tides are turning.”