Phonk is on the come-up. I’ve been casually listening to the genre for a few years but this year I was introduced to HOLY MOB and truly fell in love. The collective has some of the best phonk compilations to date spanning 10 editions. A mainstay on the compilations and one of the key driving forces behind HOLY MOB is Indianapolis-based producer VON STORM. You may be familiar with VON as he was featured in our Focus Five series a few months back. The producer embodies everything we love about the genre from the classic rap samples to the mellow meets knocking sound.
To get to know the talented artist better we linked with VON STORM for a Guest Mix + Interview. The mix showcases his signature style and is packed full of originals and unreleased gems. Our interview discusses how moved from creating dubstep to phonk, the growth of the genre, what’s next for HOLY MOB, building connections online, and more. Check both below.
Tell us about the mix. What should listeners expect when they press play?
This mix is kinda all over the place, but almost every track is rooted in trap music to some degree. If you listen from start to finish, you’ll get a good idea of what I’m listening to and what I’m working on right now, including some unreleased stuff.
What prompted you to start creating music?
I started getting into dubstep in like 2011, and the idea of being able to make music without knowing how to play an instrument was so sick to me. So I downloaded a “legal” copy of FL Studio 8 and started making really terrible dubstep tracks.
I think the heavy emphasis on sampling was so attractive to me as an amateur producer because I was still pretty bad at writing melodies.
How did you go from producing dubstep to phonk?
For a long time, the only places I listened to music were YouTube and iTunes (where I put all my YouTube-to-MP3 rips). In 2013, I was still deep in my dubstep phase, and YouTube started recommending trap music to me. I kinda just went down that rabbit hole for a few years and eventually started listening to more niche artists on SoundCloud, like Backwhen. When he started tapping into the phonk scene in like 2015/16, I fell in love with the sound. I think the heavy emphasis on sampling was so attractive to me as an amateur producer because I was still pretty bad at writing melodies.
What are the special ingredients to the Von Storm signature?
I use a lot of Splice loops because copyrighted samples have caused me more trouble than they’re worth. You gotta dig through a lot of bullshit to find the good loops though. Been using a lot of sounds from the Holy Mob Sound Kit, DJ Smokey x Soudiere Kit, and 126.96.36.199 Lavish Kit. Favorite tempos at the moment are 144, 151, and 163.
Phonk seems to be bubbling up more and more in the electronic community. What has the growth looked like from your perspective?
I’ve repped this scene hard since like 2017, but its growth is definitely surprising. Not surprised that it blew up, but definitely surprised by how it blew up. I could not have predicted what TikTok did with cowbell/drift phonk. I hope other corners of the scene get some love too.
Discovering hyperpop in late 2020 reignited my love for EDM and had a lot of influence on my releases last year. Everything felt so new and exciting, and I hope that other phonk producers get to experience that.
How do you see the genre expanding or evolving?
I expect to see a lot more electronic influence. Discovering hyperpop in late 2020 reignited my love for EDM and had a lot of influence on my releases last year. Everything felt so new and exciting, and I hope that other phonk producers get to experience that.
Can you talk a little bit about the Memphis rap connection with Phonk and your own sounds?
Apoc Krysis has a YouTube video called “What Is Phonk” that explains the connection between Memphis rap and phonk really well. Memphis rap vocals add a whole new dimension to trap beats, which I guess isn’t surprising considering how much influence Memphis rap has had on hip-hop in general. I still love sampling Memphis rap, but recently I’ve tried to avoid it due to copyright. At this point, I’m more interested in working directly with vocalists.
How did Holy Mob come together and how did you connect with them?
I had just dropped my first phonk project in 2016, and one of the guys I collabed with asked if I wanted to join his new collective.
How did you end up managing/leading the collective?
Right after we dropped our first tape, the guy who started it left. Then we essentially started over. I helped recruit a bunch of the guys on our current roster, and we released a new and improved first tape.
Right now we’re working on something more ambitious than the typical Holy Mob tape. It’s moving slowly, but it will be worth the wait…
Can fans expect Holy Mob Vol. 11 soon?
Right now we’re working on something more ambitious than the typical Holy Mob tape. It’s moving slowly, but it will be worth the wait when it (hopefully) drops sometime next year.
One of the beautiful things about music is its ability to bring people together. How has your musical journey allowed you to build connections online? Have those connections expanded to irl meets-ups as well?
It still blows my mind that I met some of my closest friends through SoundCloud. The Holy Mob group chat is still pretty active 6 years later because we’ve been supporting each other since the beginning. Sounds corny as hell, but it really is more than a collective for me. I’ve only met up with a few of them a couple times, but even that is so surreal to me sometimes.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Getting married soon! It’s been a very busy year outside of music, but I’m also excited to work with more vocalists in the near future.
1. (00:00) Necroez – You Don’t Need It (feat. Von Storm)
2. (01:55) Von Storm – Weirdo
3. (02:58) Soudiere – FUCKDEMHOES
4. (04:12) Gali & Von Storm – Dreamcast
5. (05:53) olswel – 1/1
6. (08:00) laxcity – Grateful
7. (09:51) Von Storm – LYK
8. (12:06) Von Storm – Master Plan
9. (14:23) HEARSE.T – Havin Thangz
10. (16:14) Von Storm – Scheme
11. (17:37) Von Storm – Horizon
12. (19:28) 6EXTERMINATION – HYPERLEAP
13. (21:21) Von Storm – Coolin’
14. (23:28) Inteus & Von Storm – Animosity
15. (25:00) Apoc Krysis & Von Storm – Spaced Out
16. (26:52) Cvllum – Serenity
17. (29:10) l v k s & Von Storm – Angra
18. (30:58) dark0 – Hardwire
19. (32:33) Roland Jones – SMOKIN ON DIS DOUJA w/ Soudiere
20. (34:19) Von Storm – Warden
21. (36:07) Inteus – What We Need w/ Von Storm
22. (38:00) Von Storm – Hump Day
23. (39:41) Roland Jones – OPP STOPPA w/ Berrymane
24. (41:43) Von Storm – Get Dumb