(Photo: Farah Idrees)

In a small East Village apartment, a girl who goes by Von has combined her bedroom and her music in more ways than one. Physically, a keyboard, mic and laptop are a few strides from her bed. Creatively, Von makes music with the wave forms of her own orgasm taken from a smart vibrator. At 21, the NYU student makes what she calls “sex-positive synth pop” using pulsating beats, piercing percussion and lyrics of sexual empowerment. This past Valentine’s Day, Von released a music video and a sex-ed PSA campaign on her digital platform, Vondom Labs, and she plans to release a new song and video in early April. Here, Von—who doesn’t put her real name in press because she doesn’t want her dad’s corporate coworkers to make any assumptions—talks about her music, Vondom Labs and the importance of destigmatizing sex talk.

BB_Q(1) What made you so passionate about body positivity and sex positivity?

BB_A(1) I grew up with a male dominated household. Developing as a girl was so fucking awkward. My school did not stress at all anything about sex education. I knew a diagram of a penis better than I knew a diagram of my own anatomy. I had no idea what any of my parts were, I was so uncomfortable even talking about them.

(Photo: Farah Idrees)

Once I got to New York, I was able to objectively reflect on the fact that this is really problematic. I lost my virginity at a super young age and still the idea of going to the gyno freaks me out. It terrifies me because I think from such a young age, I was never introduced to sexual anatomy in a medical way, it was only in a social, pressure-filled situation. So now the idea of having someone put their fingers inside of me medically is actually more uncomfortable than it was when I was 14 having boys do it, you know what I mean? Which is fucked up!

BB_Q(1) All of this learning about your body and thinking about your body, when did that merge with your music?

BB_A(1) I think it was quite organic. I’d always made music that was sex positive in nature. But I think it hit the next step when I realized I could actually make music with my own orgasm. I think of a wack idea and see if it works. Sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it does. That was just one of a hundred wack ideas that actually stuck.

(Courtesy of Vondom Labs)

BB_Q(1) What are some “wack ideas” that maybe haven’t done so hot?

BB_A(1) I had this idea, I was going to release a song in Washington Square Park, I was going to have a Twister map, cause everyone’s uncomfortable being around each other with their bodies, and all these people were going to have to step on each instrument on Twister for the song to play. Obviously that didn’t fucking work.

BB_Q(1) Let’s talk more about the nitty gritty of how your music is made.

BB_A(1) Basically, Lioness is a Fitbit for your vagina. It has an app on your phone that via Bluetooth you can send data that’s collected in the vibrator. There is a heat sensor and a pulse sensor so when you turn it on it automatically starts a session. The vibrator has no idea if you’re actually orgasming or not, it’s just recording contractions over time. Then when you turn it off, the session is done, and you sync it to your phone. Then you zoom in on where you think your orgasm is, I snapshot it, send it to myself. You can input certain wave forms into Serum, basically a customizable synth, to make it sound however you want.

BB_Q(1) What has the reception been like for your first couple of songs and the music video that came out?

BB_A(1) You have people on Twitter who are like, “You’re fucking disgusting,” and I’m like, “For sure. Totally.” It’s people named Carol; white Christian women on Twitter. And that’s fine, I totally expected that. But I think in regards to the responses that I care about, my friends have been super supportive. I have friends from home who never talked to me about sex, now asking me for vibrator recommendations, which means more to me than a blog saying my music is good. The responses have been mixed in all the ways I hoped for. I hoped people would be mad because if everyone is super comfortable with what you’re doing, then what you’re doing is just not as needed as you think.

BB_Q(1) Could you talk more about the sex-ed PSAs and the different things you do?

BB_A(1) I’ve always been an artsy fartsy person. But my goal has been to make sex-ed a priority because it’s not, and especially where I grew up, it was non-existent. I think my music in message really stresses that. For Valentine’s Day I made a bunch of sex-ed PSAs that were funny memes so they’re not super offensive to anyone. We put them all over Soho and then put them up on my website and up in all the boys’ bathrooms at school and a bunch of other stupid shit. I’m working on other ways to make the visual component of what I do sneakily educational.

BB_Q(1) I saw pictures of you doing the wheat pasting, what was that like?

BB_A(1) It was funny. Dannah Gottlieb has become my work wife. She’s a photographer/director and just really creative person that I’ve become really good friends with. Me and her together had that idea and we made these PSAs and put them places. I’m such a little bitch, I pretend I’m not, but we were running around at 4am in Soho with glue in my pocket, and she’s like, “Just do it!” And I was like, “Is anyone coming??” It was fun. They’re all QR codes so I get notifications when they get scanned.

(Courtesy of Vondom Labs)

BB_Q(1) Did that fit into your vibe of late-night street art? Kind of a punk, rebel type thing?

BB_A(1) I get a lot of questions like, “What you’re doing is really punk cause it’s really against the grain.” To me it’s not that rebellious. It’s a website that brings you to a PSA that says make sure you know what the clitoris is. Why is that crazy? That should be common sense and comfortable to talk about.

BB_Q(1) So what do you want people to take away from your music and your art?

BB_A(1) I’m not trying to make anyone have my opinions on things. I think that’s very important. It’s about whatever your beliefs are, not having shame or shaming other people about sexuality. It’s about being comfortable talking about sex education and holding that as high of a priority as any other kind of basic health education. I obviously want you to like the music, I want you to dance to it with your friends. But if I can make one more person, if they’re having sex with someone, able to communicate in a comfortable way, I’ve done my job.

Interview has been edited and condensed.