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Geek Funk Master Don Vito Talks Music and Admin Access

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Tim

Once in a while you meet someone who is really talented but down-to-earth and cool as hell and Don Vito is one of those people. Rapper, producer, bulletin board admin, and geek funk pioneer, Don has already crafted two albums Geek Funk Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and had a major role in many other albums.

I had the chance last week to shoot some email back and forth with him. Here’s what I found out about Vito and his latest album Admin Access.

How long have you been rapping and/or producing music and what attracted you to music?

Have been listening to rap music since the mid 80’s. Grew up with cable TV so was always watching BET and hip-hop geared MTV programming like Yo! MTV raps. Being born and raised in inner-city LA, rap, especially gangsta, was the dominant stuff people were playing in their cars and at get togethers. I always had music playing, just loved collecting it.

While attending a computer science magnet HS in the 90’s, I saved up a few hundred bucks and on a whim bought an Akai S01 sampler, a Yamaha midi keyboard and an 4-track recorder. Started playing around with mixing records, cutting beats, writing and rapping. It was really just another outlet for me, another fun way to kill time.

That carried over to one of my other favorite time killers, computers, when I downloaded a bootleg copy of Fruity Loops around 2001 and started playing around with it. I have been collabing and making beats online ever since.

Do you still live in LA?

Yeah, I live in Los Angeles.

WARNING: Audio Contains Explicit Content

icon for podpress  Don Vito - A Day in the Life [2:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (47)

How did your stage name come about?

Well, it’s a little known fact that I suffer from severe respiratory allergies (luckily I had no aspirations of playing sports or taking part in any kind of outdoor activities). I tend to lose my voice really quick. Some of my high school buddies started calling me Don Vito because by like 4th period in school, my speech would be gruff and wheezy. When I recorded Geek Funk Vol’s 1 & 2, I would actually have to start recording my vocals first thing in the morning, and would maybe only get in 4 or 5 takes per verse before things started to get ugly vocal-wise.

With my new release, it kind of marks a turning point in my rapping identity as I, instead of struggling to work around it, actually embrace and celebrate the various levels of voice deterioration during any given point of my day. It’s liberating to be able to work on vocals or a track and record all day without having to worry about whether my voice will hold with the first run-throughs I did that morning. Or if people listening will be able to immediately recognize that it is me. I don’t care, that’s the vocal situation I was handed and if it sounds fly it gets on the album.

Is there a specific name for your type of allergy?

Not that I know of. Cut grass, milk, certain soaps and detergents… you name it and I probably can’t stand to be around it.

Don Vito - Admin Access Tell me about your new project Admin Access. Who will be featured on the album?

I felt that rap and beat-wise the two Geek Funk releases were practice for me as I kind of worked out this sound. That’s why I had so many guest emcees, I was so focused on making sure that the tracks as a whole were within the guidelines I had in mind for what westcoast nerdcore hip-hop could be and what I was trying to create, I just simply had no time to then write and record 4 dozen verses on top of that. Admin Access is the product of me getting my nerdcore twisted gangsta sound down. I’ve taken a bigger part in rapping on this one, but I dig collabing so much you know that there are guest rappers on it: The Ranger, Epic-1, blip, Krimestar1. Maybe even a couple more.

I’m really just taking the opportunity to let my feelings and opinions out on Admin Access. Sucks having to be impartial in the forums all of the time while running the site. But I understand and accept that things have to be that way to keep everything fair. But on the mic, that’s another deal. Rapping is a creative outlet, and I’m outletting.

When will Admin Access be available? Will it be free to download or on sale?

I’m looking at a late July/early August release. I just want it to be right when it finally gets out, and that time frame is my best estimation of when it will be there. I am producing all of the beats and music myself, plus having more of a rap presence than earlier works. This all adds up to double duty and more time to complete everything. But having the ability to shape everything my way and make sure that it all stays true to my vision is well worth the extra workload. And yes, of course as with all my music, Admin Access will be completely free.

What other musical projects are you working on?

At this particular moment, I am taking part in the Rhymetorrents.org n00b/vet tourney, which is a lot of fun and a great way to help the new guys to the site improve. I have a great emcee I was teamed up with to kind of mentor and produce for, newm2008. Also, there is an unrelated n00b/vet album being put together. I am signed on to work on that as well. As soon as I am finished with Admin Access I’ll be going right into producing an album for MC_Loki. And if he is still willing, one for Ham-STAR as well. I’ve been doing more vocal collabs for other people’s beats as well. Still making beats and giving those out also.

And of course, there is RhymeTorrents Vol 9 coming up. The wheels on that will probably start turning by the end of summer.

As far as collaborating, who have you collabed with? Any favorites? Who would you like to work with if you could choose anyone?

I really enjoy collaborating, and this list reflects that (note: some collabs remain unreleased at this time): MC_Loki, Ham-STAR, Epic-1, Random, TyT, Schaffer the Darklord, MC Gigahertz, The Ranger, Kabuto the Python, Attack Slug, MC Skeletor, illgill, Fatty Goodness, Phunetik, Projekt Zero, D-Form, mCRT, Desmond Fox, Logic-1, Whoremoans, Thugmasta J, Kincade, blip, Chemist the Menace, Teh_Rhymerer, RJChoice, DPS, and Mfk. It was a pleasure working with each and every one of them. I count them all as favorites.

I’d like to work with anyone that I haven’t yet. Contact me if you fall into that category and let’s make some dope music.

Don Vito Banner

Will there be another Geek Funk release?

I don’t have any plans at the moment for another numbered release. But if you just go by style though, technically Admin Access is a geek funk album. That’s my little sonic sandbox within the larger umbrella of Nerdcore Hip-Hop. I just want to keep evolving the sound, see what can evolve.

You pretty much run the site RhymeTorrents.org, right? How long has RT.org been up and what led to its creation?

RhymeTorrents.org just celebrated its one year anniversary in May. The site was created as a direct result of the rhymetorrents.com board having problems and eventually being completely taken over by spam bots. Most members were leaving or had already left. Just prior to this mass exodus, everyone on the .com was gearing up and preparing tracks for the next RhymeTorrents compilation, volume 7. All of that work and momentum seemed lost at this point.

I found the majority of former rt.com members on the now defunct crossplatformmusic.com board. I proposed that, since it was really the community collectively and no single member that really came together to create the RhymeTorrents comps, and since many of us already had songs sitting around that we had prepared months in advance, that we go ahead and release volume 7 ourselves. There was in fact great interest, so we did just that. I knew that we would need an online base from which to, at the very least, host the compilation for downloading. So I registered the .org domain. Shortly after a phpbb was installed in the webspace as a place to organize with artists contributing tracks and keep everyone updated with release dates, track due dates, who had already turned in what, etc.

From there the community just grew. I tossed up a main portal page and dedicated that to the members as a place for them to promote their music and releases. Since then we have released two numbered RhymeTorrents compilations (volumes 7 and 8), an RT Halloween album, and the first ever quality regulated RT compilation, Masters of the Interweb. The community has also been host to more than a half dozen large sized rap tournaments and battles.

So, other than music and running the RT boards what occupies your time?

Work. Various non-music related ventures. Family.

Are there any video games, movies, or music that has really caught your attention lately?

Nothing special so far in ‘09. I don’t really have time for gaming these days. Movies, well, it’s been a less than spectacular summer season, which is a bummer.

Have been sneaking in a few moments here and there to play the Xbox 360 version of the new Ghostbusters game. It’s phenomenal. I’m officially ready for GB3. I’m always online crate digging (aka music blog searching) for old school R&B and Funk, which makes up the majority of music I’ve been listening to lately. As well as some harder to find, west coast rap I may have missed the first time around.

I just built a new pc. That was loads of fun. I already have a few more ideas for some mods I’d like to do on another custom rig.

Anything else people reading this (aka soon-to-be-super-fanatical-Don-Vito-fans) should know about you?

Keep an ear pointed this way, lots of free good music coming down the line.

Don Vito, thank you for your time!

Don Vito Around the Web:

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