Tag Archive: aptsongs


Hola, people!

Good news: I’m thisclose to purchasing my NEW camera! As I stated in my last blog, I have friends who have cameras, but they aren’t always around for me to use them.  When I was in ATL I had one, and blah blah blah, you get the idea.  I went to Target yesterday to test some of the cameras out and get an idea for which one I wanted to get. 

The one thing I do know is, I’ll be able to buy it for less than $200.  Furthermore, I’m using the money I collected from donating plasma to pay for it, meaning it doesn’t come out of my paycheck or music money.  Side note: donating plasma is a GREAT way to earn some extra cash – I make $50 a week doing it, which calculates out to about $225 a month.  Yay!

While I’m waiting to buy my camera, I’ve been mulling over ideas in my head for what I’d like to film.  Here are a few of those things:

1. NON JUAN VIDEOS: I’ve really been slacking in this department.  Blame it partially on laziness and life stuff, but also blame it on the fact that I didn’t quite have the amount of access to a camera as I needed.  And when I did have access, it would be a long hassle of having to load a tape into the computer, which would mean having to wait an additional hour or more because I had to actually play the tape in order for the footage to be captured. 

Not so with the NEW camera, though!  It has a memory card and USB plug; all you have to do is plug it into your computer and drag the footage from the camera to the hard drive.  That cuts down editing time SIGNIFICANTLY.

As for the actual videos, I’ve decided to take Non Juan in a route that’s more in tune with what most of my focus is on these days, as well as the things that has gotten Non Juan major YouTube hits in the past.  I’ll leave it at that for now…

2. A.P.T. MUSIC VIDEOS!

No, I’m not putting out a new album at the moment.  However, from time to time I’ll come up with a song that warrants having a new video.  When this happens, I’ll make one and post it up.

These videos will be more in the style of how they were when I first started out.  Meaning, I’ll be directing, writing, and starring in most of them by myself, which is really the way I prefer to work.  I just really, really hate having to deal with other people – whenever I bring them into the mix I start doubting myself, or questioning if how I’m making the video is right… and I’ve gotten more hits than THEY have!

3. SKITS, SKITS, SKITS!

Between me and Non Juan, there are a LOT of funny ideas floating around for all types of stuff.  I want to film funny sketches as well as mockings of things in pop culture.  Don’t wanna say too much, except to say that it will be funny stuff!

That’s all for now – I get my new camera sometime this upcoming week, so be on the lookout for my new videos comin’ soon to a YouTube channel near you!

-A.P.T.

JOIN ME ON USTREAM TUESDAY, MAY 18TH 2010, FOR A LIVE DISCUSSION ABOUT MY NEW ALBUM,
THE OBAMA MILLI REMIX GUY STRIKES BACK!
Follow me at http://www.ustream.tv/aptsongs

– – – – –

Over the past 2 years I, Aaron P. Taylor (a.k.a. A.P.T.), have learned a lot about how to put together songs and music videos that grab people’s attention and gets lots of views.  It’s the reason I’m able to get people to buy my music on iTunes despite getting limited radio play and not performing nearly as much as I should.

Now, if you’re an artist reading this who IS getting radio play and IS performing… but isn’t making any money… then I’m sure some of my info would be very valuable to you.

So, in the interest of… well, just wanting to help people out, I’ve decided to share a few secrets on here from time to time to help some of you upcoming artist out there get you and your songs the attention you need to start making people pay attention to you.

SECRET #1: TIMING YOUR SONG/VIDEOS WITH CURRENT EVENTS.

What do the following three videos of mine have in common:


Music video for A.P.T.’s “Obama Milli Remix”


Music video for A.P.T.’s “Imma Let U Finish” featuring Kanye West


Music video for A.P.T.’s “Kate Gosselin is a B!tch”

All of these songs/videos deal with different topics and have different rhythms.  They are also 3 videos I’ve made that have garnered over 10 million, 40,000 and 27,000 views respectively.

So what’s the common link?  ALL OF THESE SONGS/VIDEOS WERE RELEASED DURING TIMES WHEN THE EVENTS AROUND THEIR CREATION WERE AT PEAK INTEREST.

For example, the first video, “Obama Milli Remix,” was released almost a week after two important events back in June 2008: the choosing of Barack Obama as the Democratic National Committee’s Presidential Candidate, and the release of Lil’ Wayne’s “The Carter III” album, which was the first album in a long time to debut at number 1 with over a million copies in the first week.  The CD’s most popular song, “A Milli,” was being remixed by EVERY rapper known to man.  I decided to go a different route and do a parody of it.  Because I knew the right time to create and release the song/music video for it, I was able to get a TON of views from it (which I continue to get from this day).

The second video, “Imma Let U Finish,” was released 3 days after Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards back in September 2009.  People began posting photoshopped pictures of Mr. West interrupting other events throughout history, and I figured it would be a good idea to somehow make a song using audio snippets from his rant while using these various pics as the focal point of the video.  I didn’t even appear in the video, and it’s gotten 40,000 views – not to mention the money I made off it when I placed it on iTunes!

Now, the third video is a GREAT example of knowing when to capitalize on something going on in the news.  My original video for “Kate Gosselin is a B!tch” was posted up in September 2009, before the “Imma Let U Finish” video.  At the time, everyone was jumping on Jon Gosselin while their divorce proceedings were going on, and I wanted to put a song out that put the focal point back on Kate – specifically, at how much of a you-know-what she was while on TLC’s “Jon and Kate Plus 8” show.

When I first released the video, it got an okay amount of views… however, I had released it almost 3 months after their divorce had been announced, so I wasn’t getting nearly as many views as I would have liked (about 2000-3000 or so at the time).

BUT THEN, almost 6 months later, Kate became a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” And, during her first week on the show, she started getting uppity with her dance instructor.  My friend from college wrote on my facebook wall how accurate my song about her was in terms of calling her out on her attitude, and it was at that point I realized that NOW was a good time to re-post the video, with clips from her DwtS spazz-out thrown in for good measure.

Sure enough, I did.  In the first 2 weeks alone, the video received over 20,000 views (now currently at 27,000).

As you can see, if you’re well-read and caught up on major current events going on, you can make songs about those subjects that, if entertaining enough, will draw people to your material.  It’s really not that hard – just do what I do: go to Yahoo, find a news story you find interesting (I find most of mine in the “Entertainment” section), and figure out a creative way to express your feelings about said subject.  If you do it enough times, people will start looking forward to your videos and will tell their friends all about “this awesome artist who ALWAYS gives their opinion on things going on in the world in an entertaining way.”

Well, that’s the only tip I have for today.  As we speak, I’m working on TWO songs/videos dealing with things that are either happening this weekend or are on-going.  Either way, both videos are sure to get me lots of views, which is what I need since I’m promoting my upcoming album, “The Obama Milli Remix Guy Strikes Back!” (Available June 8, 2010, at online retailers everywhere.) I’ll keep u all posted on their progress!

-A.P.T.

This week’s video is for the song “Killed the Beat,” featuring (and produced by) Myxtape!

AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON “The Next Black President (a.k.a. Back On My Grind)” Mixtape – Click HERE for download info!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

First things first: the guest artist on this track is Myxtape, a 17 (or maybe 18 now) up-and-coming MC and producer from Philly.  His songs are awesome, and his production skills – as you’ll be able to hear in this song – are incredible.  His website is www.myspace.com/Myxtape.  I did this song and the video for it because (a) I believe that you best help yourself by first helping others, and (b) his stuff is pretty good!

After the “O-bama O-Bama” song started getting big on YouTube and on the radio, I began getting messages from people asking me to collaborate with them on tracks. This wasn’t completely surprising to me – I figured that other people would hear the song on their local radio stations, track it down on the net and then try to do songs with me in the hopes of getting themselves on radio as well. Just imagine: “Hey, play my song – it features the ‘O-bama Milli’ guy!”

At the same time, I figured if I started to do some collaborations, it would also help me to expand the listening audience for my music. Think about it; if I do a collaboration, the person I do the song with is going to try to get at least a few of his friends to listen to the song. If those people like my verse, they might try to find more of my stuff. So, in a sense, doing collabos would help both me AND the other person out!

I put a video up on YouTube telling people I was looking to do collaborations. I told them if they wanted me to do a song with them, they needed to send me the beat, an idea for a song, and that, if I liked what they sent, I’d have it back to them within 24 hours.

Lo and behold: I got quite a few people who sent me messages. One of them was an artist who goes by the name “Myxtape” (pronounced “mix tape.” I’m sure you could have figured that out on your own). He asked me to collaborate on a track he had made the beat for called “Killed the Beat.” He also sent me the beat, along with one simple instruction: that I “kill it,” or in layman’s terms, “do a really, REALLY good job on your part of the song.”

I took a listen to the beat… and I LOVED it. It has a bluesy kind of feel to it, yet just jams when you play it.  He added his own drum pattern to the sample (I forget which one), and he was also kind enough to place his verse on the first half of the track. All I had to do was add in my verse on the second part, and the song would be complete.

I listened to the track quite a few times before I actually typed anything. As is the case with collabo songs, I always feel pressure to try and match up to, or outdo, the person I’m collaboration with. I consider it “friendly competition,” but it’s even more important to come strong with a verse when you’re the last person on the track – otherwise, the next time people hear the song, they’ll listen to the first verse, then turn to another song without listening to your verse ever again!

After a long thought process, I decided to take the title of the song – “Killed the Beat” – literally. I mapped it out like I just got confronted by the cops for actually “killing” the track, i.e. doing such a good job on it that I murdered it and had to be taken to trial. I don’t want to give too much away here, but because I took the title of the song literally, I was able to come up with a pretty awesome scenario for the verse that would, unbeknownst to me at the time, pave the way for an equally impressive video idea later.

So far, this is my favorite “official” collaboration track that I’ve done, and one of my favorite songs on “The Next Black President” myxtape – er, mixtape!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. In the first part of my verse, I sound kinda like Busta Rhymes when I say, “Shoulda SEEN the way I did it…” He always emphasizes his words like the way I said “seen,” and he’s one of my favorite rappers. I think I was thinking about his technique when I wrote that line.

2. My favorite line in the song: “…and I keep coming back like a porno star’s ass, riiiiight?” This is what rappers call a “double entendre.” I hate explaining rap lines, as I like people to get the insight on their own, but… this line is smart because I say “I keep coming back,” i.e. I continue to stay rapping, but in reference to the second half of the line – “like a porno star’s ass” – it’s funny because, in adult films, a woman will oftentimes end up having her partner’s man juice on (or in) her rear end. Yes, it’s a disgusting line, but it’s also quite clever and funny!

3. And yes, in case you’re curious, I was able to deliver this back to Myxtape within 24 hours. Once I came up with the rhyme, it took me two hours to type up, record, mix and master… and then I had to wait until the next day to go to Panera Bread to actually send it to him!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

When putting together “The Next Black President” mixtape, I KNEW I wanted to add this song on it. I also knew that, despite not living anywhere near the artist I collaborated with for the track, I wanted to shoot a video to it.

I’ve actually had the video I idea for this song in mind for about a month, though I was only recently able to finalize my vision for the visual. Because the beat reminded me of something I’d hear out of a detective/spy movie, a la “James Bond,” I wanted to shoot a video where I was a policeman out looking for the person responsible for killing – what else? – a “beat” for a song.

I didn’t know it at the time I recorded my verse, but the scenario I painted in the song allowed me to further play off the whole “searching for the murder” theme. Originally, I was going to be a cop or a detective for the video, but I don’t have any of those types of clothes at my disposal, and I definitely was NOT going to buy them.

However, I DID have the right clothes to dress up like a suave spy! Black suit jacket? Check! Black pants? Check! Black tie? Check! White shirt? Check! Black shoes? Check!

Furthermore, doing the whole “spy” thing would allow me to get away with things in the video that cops and detectives can’t, like breaking into places unannounced. And who’s place would I be breaking into?

My alter-ego, of course! Yes, once again, I took on duel roles as both the spy AND A.P.T., the recording artist who “Killed the Beat.”

Incidentally, playing 3 roles in a video – spy, me, and director – is HARD work. Because I was interacting with myself, I had to mentally plan out my shots in advance. Furthermore, it was raining outside, and there were scenes where either the spy or my regular self would come in from the rain – but I couldn’t shoot those shots and then do a shot of me where I’m dry, as it would look odd when editing it later on.

I did about 43 takes for this video – easily the most takes I’ve done for a video since “Bust My G.A.T.” – and most of those were due to having to go back and re-film something as a result of forgetting how a previous shot I took wouldn’t match up with a current one.

As for Myxtape’s part – the guest artist on the track – I used pictures of him I found on his myspace page in the parts where I’m looking up info on A.P.T.’s laptop. I wanted him represented in some way in the video so he’d get some face exposure – hopefully this will help him get some views on his page, as he is a very talented artist!

Some Interesting Video Tibits:

There are actually so many interesting tidbits for this video, I have to try and remember it shot-by-shot…

1. As I’ve said before, I have NO help directing these videos.  Every single camera angle was done using a chair, a suitcase, an ironing board, and mini-boxes, all stacked in different ways and angles to get the shots I wanted.

2. The phone ring song is “C.R.E.A.M.” byWu-Tang clan. Yes, I actually have that song as a ringtone on my phone!

3. Anything you hear where my voice sounds extra clear was done in post-production.

4. Somehow, a good majority of my videos have bathroom shots.  What the dilly, yo?!?

5. For the part of the video where I chase myself into my room, I had to film myself in A.P.T. clothes running into the room, then allow the camera to keep filming while I changed into my spy gear.  This is why the shot looks so seamless!

6. It was raining HARD for most of this shoot. However, when it came time to me to film the part where I’m outside as the spy, it had stopped raining.  Talk about good timing!

7. Incidentally, I had the entire shoot for this thing mapped out in my head, and didn’t shoot it in the order it’s seen on film.  However, this did cause a few problems.  There were certain shots I couldn’t use or had to cut short to keep the continuity of the video in tact.  For example, the shot of me coming into the house as A.P.T. had a full shot of me opening the door.  However, when I did that, you could see the screen door behind it.  The problem, however, is that at the end of the video I shot it to where it looked like that door didn’t exist.  Therefore, I couldn’t show the whole shot of me coming in because people would wonder later why there was no screen door when I finally get caught!

Also, there’s a shot where, after rolling into the house to look for evidence, I roll back up and walk into the next room.  However, in that shot, the cardboard box is still on the plastic holder. If you remember, that same box got knocked over when I went to look for evidence.  Therefore, the other shot couldn’t be used.

8. Estimated time for editing: a LONG time.  Like, about 8 or 9 hours, mostly due to adding in post-production sounds.

That’s all for now – only 21 more videos to go!  See ya next week!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT

Another week, another video in the can…

Okay, so I’ve done 30 videos now. As a result, I’ve been able to: (a) have a worldwide hit single, (b) get my music to a wide audience, and (c) collaborate with other up-and-coming MCs. I’ve also done a lot of other cool things – I just don’t feel like listing the whole alphabet here 🙂

However, the one thing that has eluded me is actually getting PAID to work with other people via my music. Oh sure, I’ve sold some albums and a LOT of copies of the “O-bama O-bama” single. But the whole point of this project is to get noticed enough to have OTHER people want to pay me for use on their projects.

And yet, it hasn’t happened… UNTIL NOW.

Imagine my surprise this week when, upon checking my hotmail account, I get a message from a guy (name withheld for now) telling me he wants to PAY me to come up with a theme song for his website! I won’t go into details until the entire project is complete, but I will say this: he is a multi-millionaire who is looking to help others find ways to make their fortune via his books and speeches, and – important to me – he wants to PAY me for my services!

As to how much I’ll get paid… well, we’re still negotiating that part. But regardless, it’s nice to think that someone out there actually thought enough of my music to say, “Hey, ya know what? Let me give this guy a shot!”

So, I’ve already completed the song… it’s weird doing songs for hire because it’s a completely different beast from a creative standpoint. I usually come up with my songs just out of the blue, and I can take as long as I want on them because… well, they’re MY songs. Having to write a song with a deadline is different – it’s almost like “forced creativity,” which isn’t a bad thing. However, it certainly does add a bit of pressure for a person to write something that, not only will they like, but the person they’re writing it for, as well as their audience of people AND your audience of people.

I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, this week’s video is going to be AWESOME!! I’ve actually had the idea in mind for the longest time, and it’s going to be EPIC. I try not to make my YouTube videos too long (people have short attention spans these days), but who knows what will happen once I start filming??

That’s all for now – see ya on Sunday!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT
Soundclick: www.soundclick.com/APT


Above: Video #26, “What Do I Do” – the official half-way point of my “One-Song-a-Week” Experiment!

This week’s music video is for the song, “What Do I Do,” from “The A.P.T. EP” – i.e. my very FIRST album!!

INSIGHT INTO A SONG:

Before I get into the song itself, let me give you some background on “The A.P.T. EP.” In short: it was a disc I made in college as a result of interest I had built in my music from some of the students around campus.

Much like I did with the “Obama Obama” song, I was known around campus for taking current songs, and changing them up for my voice message greeting. I did this over the span of 4 years, and people knew I was the guy to go to for parodies.

When I hit my senior year, I wanted to put out a whole CD of parody songs, along with a few of my own original songs as well. I bought myself a drum kit and a Pocketstudio, and, over the span of a few months, put together “The A.P.T. EP (This is ONLY a Demo)” I added the “demo” tag because I knew that, since I was sampling other people’s beats (and, in some cases, blatantly re-using them), I had to let people know it was strictly for demo purposes (just in case a big-wig record company guy ever came across it and said, “Hey… this guy used somebody else’s beats!”)

Anyway, I gave a few copies to my friends, as well as some people who didn’t know me too well but liked my music. This was 4 years ago, when I was still in college.

Since then, I’ve made other musical disc (see: “Check the Resume,” “The O-Bama Mixtape,” and “The A.P.T. LP”), and, in the hustle and bustle of life, I managed to misplace all the copies of “The A.P.T. EP” I had made all those years ago.

Then, I went back to my Mom’s house 2 weeks ago to help her pack up the house for her move. In the process of going through my things, I managed to come across two copies of “The A.P.T. EP,” still in good condition!

I was ecstatic! I went to run an errand in my Mom’s car (still don’t have one of my own yet) just so I could have an excuse to listen to the first disc I made so long ago.

Man… it’s weird to hear the first set of songs I made. I made it in 2004, so some of the references on the songs are outdated, and the songs I parodied aren’t relevant any more. As for how I sound on it, I think I was still going through my “trying to sound like Eminem” stage, as a lot of the songs and concepts I used were similar in style to what he would have done at the time.

Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty good listen, and, even in my recording infancy, there were some songs I made on there that stood out.

One of the songs is the one I chose to make a video for this week, “What Do I Do?” It’s a song where I talk about my realization that (a) girls have finally started to show interest in me, and (b) that it took so long for them to notice me that I had no idea what moves I needed to make to keep her interest.

Even though I wrote this song 4 years ago, I remember exactly how it came about. I was sitting in our school’s cafeteria one day, eating alone (which, for the record, was on PURPOSE – I like spending time alone because it allows me to think of creative things to do… like, for instance, build this website!). As I was eating, I saw this cute-looking girl sit about 4 seats to the left of me.

I’m quite an observant fellow, and I noticed that, as she was eating, she kept looking over at me. It was one of those looks that said, “I wish this guy would talk to me – he looks kind of cute!” (Note: that’s not me being vein, it’s me being observant.)

Little did she know, though, that my interaction with girls prior to her sitting down had not always gone the way I wanted them to go. There have been many times in my life where I’d try and go after a girl, only to be shot down with a “No,” or would end up in a situation where I thought a girl liked me, only to be fooled later when, after being the “friend” that was always there for her, she’d end up liking another guy instead.

Even when I finally was able to figure out if a girl was interested in me, I still didn’t know what moves I had to make to keep her interested. Of course, I know now that if a girl IS interested in you, you don’t really have to DO too much (other than respect her and spend time with her). But for the place I was at in my life at the time, I couldn’t think of anything interesting to say or think of a way to start up a conversation…

So, even though I thought she was cute and single… I did NOT make a move. I just continued to eat, staring straight ahead until she finally got up from the table, in a frustrated, “why didn’t he talk to me” type of way, and left.

After she was gone, I immediately took out my pencil and my writing journal, and started penning the words to the song. I basically wrote out what I would have liked to say to the girl about WHY I didn’t try to holler at her.

At the same time I wrote this song, though, I was still in recording mode for “The A.P.T. EP,” and knew that I wanted a sing-songy type of song, similar in vein to the song Emimen recorded for his daughter Hailey (from “The Eminem Show” – I can’t remember the song name now!). I just so happen to have downloaded a beat from soundclick.com that was perfect for this type of song – I could “harmonize” on the first two verses, then come in at the end with a rap verse that summarized the song.

Even to this day, this is one of my favorite songs that I’ve recorded. It’s an honest portrayal of where I was a that time in my life, but I’m sure the song’s sentiment is one that shy guys deal with all the time when it comes to handling the opposite sex!

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. When I download other people’s beats these days, I make a note to save the beat with the name of the producer – that way, if they take the beat down, I can still contact them and ask them for beat use. 4 years ago, that wasn‘t the case – I did not produce this record, but have no idea who did. And – seeing as it was 4 years ago – I don’t even know if that person is still on the soundclick website. However, to make sure I don’t get sued, I can’t sell the song – thus, this song, along with the rest of “The A.P.T. EP,” is a FREE download!

2. I recorded this track using a 4-track recording Pocketstudio 5, which, at the time, I thought was the best machine I could by to record songs, at an “affordable” price (I think the machine costs me $250 or more). Nowadays I use a computer program called Samplitude, which can definitely record more than 4 tracks. Still, it was a pretty cool machine, and the fact that I could double up my vocals for my songs blew my mind!

3. The second verse of the song is a musical retelling of the events that happened in the cafeteria that day that inspired the song. And, like the song says, I really did go out of my way to ignore her, but only because I didn’t know what I would say to her, and therefore found it pointless to say ANYTHING to her. For all I know, we could be getting hitched today had I made a move!

INSIGHT INTO A VIDEO SHOOT:

I knew I wanted to shoot a video for this song… EVENTUALLY. Just not this week.

I still have two more video shoots to go for songs off “The A.P.T. LP,” and the plan was to actually shoot a video for “Hooptie” this week.

However, I DO have a life outside of making these music videos, and sometimes things have to be rearranged.

I wanted to use other people in the last two videos I have for the album because I feel they are two of the stand-out songs that will be huge “hits,” and I didn’t want to have to stifle my visions for those videos simply because time schedules by either me or the people I want in the videos were out of wack.

At the same time, though, I knew I needed a video for this week, and I already had an idea for “What Do I Do” that was simplistic, easy to shoot, and would get my point across for the song.

The video shoot itself came about by accident. I had gone to a job interview that day, and had used my brother’s car. After the interview was over, I had one simple mission: drive the car back to where my brother works so he could drive me home during his lunch break.

One problem: I got lost! I haven’t been in D.C. that long, and most places I go involve me catching the bus/train. So, even though I had been to his office a few times, it was usually with map-blasted directions, which I didn’t think to print out this particular time.

Yada yada yada, I end up getting to his office an hour later than expected. Because of this lateness, I had to sit around in the cafeteria for 2 hours while he finished up his work day. After I ate some Chinese food, read a book, and called up another place for a job interview, I got bored.

So, I walked over to the lobby of the building, where there was a desk and a chair, propped up next to a wall that had a background with wallpaper containing green leafs in its design. Being bored, I started thinking: “hmm, it would be nice if I could shoot a music video of some kind here…”

And, of course, I had my laptop and camera with me (like I always do – well, most of the time). I didn’t know how much time I had to record something, but I figured I had at least a good 30 minutes before my brother would be done with his work.

The shoot itself was very, VERY simple. The idea was to simply record myself staring into the camera pensively while the song played, not mouthing a single word until the rap part of the song comes on. This was to give viewers the idea that the song itself was actually being thought by me rather than sung by me. The look I have on my face is one of distant disbelief: for the first 2 verses I don’t blink AT ALL, and when I finally start mouthing the words of the song, it’s still like I’m in a state of “why does this keep happening every time I meet a girl.”

I shot it with the green leaf backdrop because… well, it was better than using a non-decorative wall, that’s why!

Once the video was shot, I packed up my stuff, right around the same time my brother came out of his office and was ready to go!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. After a few pre-production shots, I shot the video itself in ONE take.

2. My original goal was to try and not blink for the ENTIRE video. However, the location of the lobby where I shot this thing had a vent over it, and was blowing into my eyes the whole time. Eventually, I HAD to blink.

3. This isn’t the first video I’ve made where I use ONE shot for the whole video. However, it IS the first video I’ve made where I didn’t use any cut-away shots combined with fast camera movement. (My video for “A.P.T. (What’s My Name)” came close, but there’s a cut with the censor bar in it midway through the video.) Again, I really wanted the emotions to read off my face, and felt that using extra cuts would take away from that.

4. After the 1st minute and a half of holding that camera, my arm started to hurt. That’s why camera looks shaky at times – its not even that heavy, but it takes a LOT of effort to hold something so awkward for such a “long” time!

5. After I shot the video, my brother got mad that I used his work place as a site to make videos. He was all like, “what if someone had come out and seen you?’ and blah, blah, blah. He cares very much about what people think about him – which is all good – but sometimes, I’m just like, “I could give a flying crap about that, I have a goal to accomplish.” Besides, I wasn’t even making noise in the lobby!

6. Estimated time for editing the video: well, the editing itself only took about 30 minutes. It was the publishing that took the longest. Since there’s only one section of the video where I mouth the words to the song, I kept having to republish the darn video because, once it was done, I’d find that the mouthing of words didn’t match up to where they were being said in the song. Estimated publishing time: about an hour and a half!!!

That’s all for now! By the way: This video represents the half-way mark of my little “One-Song-a-Week” experiment. Remember the goal, people: one music video every Sunday for ONE year – only 26 more videos to go!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT
Soundclick: http://www.soundclick.com/APT

This week’s music video is for the song, “What We Do,” produced by ME!

DOWNLOAD FOR .99: Click HERE to purchase (Automatically sent after payment!)

AVAILABLE ON “THE A.P.T. LP”: Click HERE for purchase info! (MP3 Download or Mail-Order CD options available!)

INSIGHT INTO THE SONG:

A good musician understands that they must please two audiences: themselves, and the (hopefully) millions of other  people they want to become fans of their music. 

Any good artist, therefore, will do their best to make songs that talk about real situations based on their life and/or other things that people can relate to.  At the same time, though, a good artist will also realize that not EVERY song they make need to necessarily have a story, a major point, or anything relating to something involving real life. 

Thus, the “filler” songs on albums.  I hate the word “filler” because, regardless of how a song was written or what it is about, they all take time to write, create, make/find a beat for, record, mix, master, and present to the public in a way that it will be received by a large group of people.

In short: filler songs should really be called “fun” records because it allows an artist full rights to be as creative as heck, say whatever they want to say, all the while having a good time doing it.

This song – “What We Do” – is one of those songs. 

The song is basically a meshing together of various freestyles I’ve written and saved.  In total, the verses of the song have a written history as far back as 4 years ago.  In other words, between my journal and hotmail site where I send songs to myself, I found verses I had saved over the years and clumped them together for this song.

This is one of those songs where I’m talking about how dope I am on the mic.  Pretty simple, right?  But the history of the song is a bit longer…

I originally wanted to do this as a posse song… but I don’t know a lot of people, and trying to find 3 random guys to rap on the track – people I’d consider to have “talent” at that – was hard.  So I decided to do all the verses by myself!

I also had another beat for this song that I found online.  Then, while tinkering around on my Fruity Loops one day, I made a beat that I thought would sound perfect for the song.  The beat was made around the time P. Diddy’s first “band,” Da Band (a now defunct rap group), had a song out that was popular as heck… but it had a beat that used minimal instruments.  I wanted to make a beat similar in sound, and once I did I figured “What We Do” would be a good song to attach to it.

Some Interesting Song Tidbits:

1. The second and third verse have been the same for some time now.  As for the first verse, I didn’t have it written for almost 2 years from the other verses.  Then, while I was freestyling to a Justin Timberlake beat (for his song “Summer Love”), I re-listened to it after it was done and said “This verse would make a GREAT first verse for this song!”

2. My favorite line in the song: “On the mic, I fight like Ali in his prime/Leave you shook like Ali since 1989.”  Yes, I came up with that on my own, and I’m very proud of it!

3. In the second verse, I say a line – “Leave you stripped, like Judy Winslow.”  She was the young but forgotten sister on the first 3 or 4 seasons of “Family Matters.”  A few years after being dropped from the show, she did a couple of porno movies.  So sad how the mighty fall…

INSIGHT INTO A MUSIC VIDEO:

I just moved to D.C. from Atlanta this past Sunday.  I devoted so much time to finding a place to live and starting work, I didn’t think I’d even HAVE a video this week. 

Luckily, I keep my camera on me at all times when I travel.  While catching the train back to my brother’s apartment (where I’m temporarily staying), this young-looking guy got on the train… and proceeded to hip-hop dance for almost 20 minutes straight!!

After the first 3 minutes of him doing this, I thought to myself: “OMG, get your camera out NOW and film this!!”  And so I did – and I got 6 minutes of footage of him doing all kinds of crazy dance moves that you just have to see to believe!

Some Interesting Video Tidbits:

1. Aside from the edits I made where he was standing around figuring out what to do next, there are NO tricks added to this video.  All the things you see him doing in the video – from the hanging on the pole to other various moves – were on his own accord.

2.  You’ll notice my book bag in the bottom left corner of the video.  I was doing my darndest to make sure he didn’t see me filming – I didn’t want him to stop, or suddenly get startled and ruin his groove!

3. Estimated editing time: about an hour and a half.  Also, since I still don’t have a place to live (not ‘til Monday!) I had to edit the video at a 24-hour laundry mat.  Why? Because I decided to stay out all night instead of going back to my brother’s apartment.  Now that I’m extremely tired (as I’m typing this it’s 4:02 AM), I wish I had gone home earlier.  Now I have to wait until at least 5 AM for the next trains to come.  But I digress…

That’s all for now – see ya next week!

-A.P.T.

I’m movin’, movin’, up, up, to D.C, D.C.!

Yes, people, I am moving.  Atlanta’s been fun, but opportunity knocks in other places, and that place would be our nation’s capitol.

It aaaaaall started back in July, when I went to visit my brother in Washington for his birthday.  He bought out a restaurant/bar and threw a big ol’ party for his 25th birthday, and – seeing as my “Obama Obama” song was getting more and more popular – he wanted me to perform it at the party.

So, I did what I had to do: I went to the party, DJed for part of it, then did a performance of the song that KILLED.  Everybody came up afterwards telling us what a great job we did, and it felt GOOD.

But what felt even better was when, a week later, I get a call from my brother saying basically the following:

“Hey man – I got a permanent DJing gig at the place I had my party.  By the way, there were some club promoters there asking about us… they asked if I was the guy who performed the ‘Obama’ song last week, and I said ‘no, that’s my brother, and he’s in Atlanta.'”

That’s AWESOME, I thought – club promoters were actually interested in me and my bro doing performances…

Then reality sank in: “But I’m STILL in Atlanta!!”

And so, an opportunity passed.  And it felt like CRAP.

But that’s not why I’m moving up there now.  I figure that opportunity has passed.  No, the reason I’m moving up there now is because my brother is starting to get more DJing gigs, which means he’s starting to get contacts in the ‘biz with people that are important – namely, club promoters, other DJs, etc. – and it will be easier for me to make moves being around these types of people, as opposed to here in Atlanta, where I don’t have access to those types of people directly.

Furthermore… life in Atlanta, while fun for me, can be lonely at times.  I moved down here knowing that there were a few people I’d be able to hang out with (i.e. friends from Hampton, family members)… yet, when I moved down here, the majority of them never seemed to make time for me.  Not that it’s a HUGE problem, since I don’t mind spending a good amount of time by myself… it’s just that, for those times where I DID want to hang out with people, there weren’t a lot of options, and even with those people, they were still fairly busy most of the time.

So, I’m off to D.C., where I’ll have a brother to hang with (who has a CAR ), a job that will pay a lil’ more than it pays down here, and friends from Hampton who will (hopefully) want to hang out with me.  And, most importantly, I hope to finally be able to accomplish my REAL dream of being a touring musician – or, at the very least, performing at clubs around the DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia – I just learned that nickname 2 days ago!)

As for this week’s video… well, last week’s video took me a whopping 9+ hours to edit, so for this week I’m keeping it as simple as possible.  Oh yeah – another advantage to moving is that I will, hopefully, have people helping me out with some of these videos, so they can be even more entertaining and extravagant!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

Another week, another video in the can…

Man. That’s 16 videos so far. I did 2 this week, one for a video called “Shine 4 Obama” which got taken down by YouTube because it featured Luther Vandross. I’m sure Sony probably caught wind of that one… I re-post it on a different site and then post it up on my MySpace page, so it’s now a “MySpace Exclusive.” I’d post it here, but this site doesn’t allow HTML.

Friggin’ sux.

Anyway, people really seemed to like the “Smooth Talker” video, and I couldn’t be happier. At the same time, while people are watching that video I’m already thinking of next week’s video – and, to be quite honest, thinking of a video every week can be straining at times.

Sometimes, these ideas will come to me waaaay early in advance. I had the idea for the filming of the “Smooth Talker” video as far back as July. For this week’s video, though, I’m still thinking up ideas of how I want it to come together.

I actually had another song in mind for this week’s upcoming video, but it requires one of my friends to film her part for me – from California – and then send me the footage to edit. I don’t know if she’ll have filmed it in time for Sunday, though, so I always have to have a “just in case things don’t come through” back-up plan video. Of course, I didn’t start thinking about that until Tuesday, so trying to pull an idea out of my ass is, as you can assume, quite painful (as would pulling anything out of your ass in general).

With that said, the video is for a song that’s on “The A.P.T. LP,” and over 4 years old. The song is quite hilarious, and the idea I have for the video it is semi-ambitious. If I can pull it off, though, it will be AWESOME. I start shooting for the video tomorrow – I don’t have to work tomorrow night, which will give me Friday night/Saturday afternoon to film it, then Saturday night to edit. I’m going to try and actually write out a plan for the video this time (usually I just film on the fly) so I can save myself some time.

That’s all for now – see you all on Sunday!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

 

Greetings, everybody!!

Here are the second and third promo videos for “The A.P.T. LP,” Out Sunday, August 24th!

Above: The second promo ad, where I talk about the ups and downs of signing to a major label.

Above: The third promo ad, where I give you all a sneak preview listening to some of the songs off the album!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com

MySpace: www.myspace.com/NotoriousAPT

I got a REAL studio microphone!!

To be fair, I’ve had one for quite a while.  Back in December 2007 when I was in eBay selling mode, I bought a complete recording studio off Craig’s List from some guy who was about to move, and couldn’t hold it in storage anymore.  He was trying to sell it for $1200, but I talked him into selling it for $900.  I sold most of the set on eBay for a total of $1300, but remembered to keep a few things that I could use later on.  One of them was the professional headphone set that allows me to hear beats as they really should sound, and the other one was a condenser mic.

The mic itself was studio-ready, but the plug at the end of it was too big to fit into my laptop’s input hole.  And, since I’m having to figure all this recording device stuff out myself, I didn’t know how to connect it to my laptop.  So, it went unused and I used my H2 Zoom mic, purchased for $200 at a music store, as my primary recording device.

Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago.  After I released “The O-Bama Mixtape,” I started telling people I was going to record an official A.P.T. album to sell.  People started writing me, saying they were actually looking forward to purchasing the album… at which point, I said to myself: “I have GOT to make this thing sound good!!  I need to figure out how to work this studio mic!”

Luckily, one of my friends that I went to Hampton University with is also a musician.  His name is D.T., and he was recording stuff way before I thought about it.  So, I asked him how he managed to connect his mic to his laptop, and I finally figured out the big mystery: an interface!  If you’re like I was 2 weeks ago and have no idea what that is, an interface is a device that acts as a connector between a studio mic with a big plug at the end, and a laptop.  The interface can be used to plug the mic in, and there’s a USB cord that connect the interface to the laptop, thus allowing the sound from the microphone to come through.

I’m so mad that I didn’t find this out sooner!! It makes me want to go back and re-record my entire mixtape!!

But eh, that won’t be happening – I’ll consider it a relic of days gone by when I didn’t know about how all this fancy recording stuff worked.  However, I AM happy that I figured this out before I started recording my album.  I tried to start recording it yesterday with my H2 Zoom mic, but somehow… well… it’s just that, since I’m charging people for the album, I want them to get their money’s worth.  The H2 Zoom was okay to use for a FREE album, but for something like this, I need to sound more professional, and my words need to be able to be heard with no problem.  Plus, some of the beats I’m using sound BIG, and I need to be on par with them!

As for this week’s video, I’m going to do one more song off “The O-Bama Mixtape.”  I know which one I want to do, but there are others on there that I think would make for good videos, too.  I may do them in the future; right now, it’s between one of two songs – then again, I might do one of those “double” videos, where the artist injects a snippet from one song before going into the “real” video for the other one.  I dunno – we’ll see come Sunday!

That’s it for me – only 10 more days until “The A.P.T. LP” drops!

-A.P.T.

E-mail: aptsongs@hotmail.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/notoriousapt