An Introduction To Orlando’s Vonte*

Vonte* is an artist who knows exactly what he wants. He has put in the hours of self-teaching, sitting over Pro Tools to create his own unique sound. His vocals are somewhat indescribable yet otherworldly. Each line carries a sedative effect, unlike anything you could come across right now. It’s no question the Orlando artist is one of the biggest names in this rising, intergalactic and ambient sound.

His work ethic is something you don’t often come across. Consistently dropping and taking advantage of his various connections with prominent Soundcloud DJ’s like Shoku Radio, DJ Gren8de, and Beez Exclusives, there is never a week that you can’t find him, but never in an oversaturated manner. Each release is always executed to the best standards. From the producers he works with to the artists he collaborates with, he knows what fits him. Not to mention he has implemented an image of his own by adapting stills from the film Battle Royale into his signature cover art.

We spoke about his latest projects, the importance of engineering as an artist, his sound, exclusives, visuals, and more below:

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

You just dropped two projects within the last couple weeks, Ready2Die* and Amari II. How’d those come together? 

“Amari II, those are three new songs the rest of the songs are re-uploads. They were on my boy Shoku Radio’s page but it got shut down.I just re-uploaded my top three songs from his page. They took his main page down but his back up is still up. I had hella views on there.”

How did they shut him down?

“Some hating ass copyrighted a song on his page. When Shoku was trying to get it resolved the dude wasn’t responding. Some legal bullshit. It ain’t about to stop shit.”

Ready2Die* is an actual EP, how did that one come together?

“Being fucking bored in the house cause of this quarantine. I felt like I needed to drop, people been asking for more music. I did it all in the last two weeks, I recorded like 30 songs and picked six. It depends how many I knock out in a day, if I’m in that mode I’ll do like 3-5. I just don’t try to force that shit, I can’t force it. It needs to come naturally.”

Would you say your sound relies a lot on feeling? How would you describe it?

“Yeah bro, my mood at that moment you can tell. I’m always in a certain mood. I found my sound just playing around with shit in Pro Tools. I never went to school for engineering, none of that. I sat there bro and taught myself that shit. I knew what I wanted to sound like, always had it in my head. Day by day I just add something new to my template. I got like seven different versions of my presets. The one I made recently for this tape is my favorite, it’s always evolving. No cap, I told myself today I would learn how to use FL. I want to start doing more effects, start doing some crazy shit with my music.”

Do you think the engineering aspect has been a huge part of it? The fact you can just do everything yourself and record whenever.

“Hell yeah bro, hell yeah. When you learn how to engineer your own shit it makes the whole process hundred times faster and easier. You just be knocking out hella songs efficiently. I tell everybody only you know what you want to sound like. Invest the time into learning that shit. Get it down so you can do all types of crazy shit with your music, you’ll have no limitations.”

When did you start taking interest in music?

“I started writing music like 8th grade. I got expelled, I was just bored bro. My mom took my game away from me, the computer, all that. I only had my phone and a notebook to write in. I was just writing verses but back then I was listening to Joey Bada$$ and Earl Sweatshirt. Boom-bap more than the melodic shit. I didn’t get into that until like end of 9th grade, 10th grade. 2015 around when Soundcloud started popping I started recording on GarageBand from my phone. I would post that shit and not share it with anybody, it was funny cause somehow kids from school would find it. After that it gave me a push to take it more serious, I was still bullshitting but 2017 is when I really knew I could do something with it.”

When did you start tapping in with Shoku and doing exclusives heavily? I know you always got something posting with Gren8de, Beez Exclusives, all over the place.

“Shoku had followed me out of nowhere around the end of 2018. I dm’d him and sent him some shit but he was low-key not fucking with it. I kept trying and beginning of 2019 I sent him something, he thought it was hard and posted. From there on he told me to keep sending him shit. Everyone else I met after that, they started hitting me up to get exclusives in.”

Did you start tapping in with new producers and artists after that too?

“Yeah, 2019 is really when everything started moving. I was fucking with Leesta heavy, I feel like the song I did on his beat was the first time I really finessed the presets.That shit sounded beautiful, ‘On Me Pt. 2’.”

What word would you use to describe your vocals?

“I don’t even know, people say I got a sleepy voice when I rap. People say outer space, lazy type shit, ambient, I don’t know. I get the outer space shit the most. That’s funny that I get that all the time.”

What are some of your favorite songs you’ve done so far?

” ‘La Douce’ me and my boy Ian, ‘ACR*’ with Thrillboy, fucking ‘Big Bands’ with Nerd1k. That one’s a throwback. I’m trying to focus on videos now. Everybody been telling me I need to.

What videos are you thinking about doing?

“Not sure at the moment, nothing specific. I know my shit can’t be mid though, got to be top-tier. Keep it real I shot a video before and the dude was so unprofessional. I ended up going to jail that night too after finishing with everything. I pulled up and scooped him, he doesn’t even bring all the equipment, this man didn’t even have a speaker. That’s how unprepared this man was. We went downtown and shot some scenes, came back to the parking garage. There’s 12 at the garage where we parked at and started fucking with me. They smelled weed so they started searching everything, I caught a drug charge. They dropped that shit though.”

Damn at least they dropped that, you’re in Florida too and they don’t play. I’m glad that worked out. Speaking of visuals, explain the covers to your songs?

“It’s a movie called Battle Royale, it dropped back in like 2000. That’s what really started that whole Hunger Games shit, the fight to the death, that whole genre. Kiriyama is the dude, the character in the movie. No cap, you got to watch that bro. It will change how how you look at life. Basically, some shit is going on in Japan where the crime rate is rising, so the government plans some fucked up shit for a high school class to fight every year to the death. In the beginning they’re all friends but they realize that if they don’t kill each other, they aren’t going home. Best friends turning on each other, all types of fucked up shit. It just shows you when people put into a certain situation how they will switch up on you. When I watched that shit it spoke to me. The one I use for cover art he was the bad guy but he was snapping. I’m telling you he was taking off on some Call Of Duty shit. You peeped how Surreal gang has that Scarface aesthetic right?”

Hell yeah, that’s something that keeps people coming back. You see this dude Kiriyama and know it’s some new Vonte* just off that!

“I seen everybody doing the Scarface shit and it was getting oversaturated. Let me try some new shit, I stuck with it. At first, everyone was looking at me weird but now that shit became a wave. Hella people are using those pictures now. It sets a certain aesthetic to go with the music.”

Is there anything I might not have covered? Any shout outs? Anything on the way?

“I’m working on a tape for the end of the year, around fourth quarter. Taking my time with this shit, trying to implement new shit, and take it to the next level. Visuals, trying to drop at least four videos by the end of the year. Trying to do some traveling, network, and meet new people. Shout out Nerd1k, Iazye, Josh, shout out Benji, all them, 16, 32, all them, Mooky, 1600, Shoku, Miles, everybody else know I fuck with them.”

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