Music producer The ATG discusses new soundtrack “Paranoid” and his perspectives on the entertainment business

Having been working in the entertainment business for the last few years, The ATG is renowned for his instrumental compositions and beats that can apply to multiple genres of music. Working on several movies including “Devil’s Night” and upcoming Kyyba Films release “Trap City,” The ATG has been working behind the scenes to develop new songs that can touch on important social themes and tell a vivid story.

Working with the likes of D12’s Swifty McVay on “Strong Enough” and with Indian composer G.V. Prakash Kumar, rappers Sa-Roc and Omar Gooding on “Paranoid,” the music producer has been defining his musical style, and in turn, bringing a new kind of musical genre to the forefront, blending hip hop with cinematic melodies.

Learn more about The ATG’s perspective on the business, his recent collaborations in this exclusive interview. And discover what he wants to put across to the music fans with his latest single “Paranoid” from the upcoming film release of Trap City.

With your experiences and perspectives in the music industry, what would you say makes ‘the making’ of a good movie soundtrack? Something that’s going to inspire or empower people when they’re listening? What would you say are the qualities needed to make one?

I think it’s very simple. I think it’s about the music soundtrack’s goal, which is to help tell the story. It doesn’t need to be too complex if it’s not needed. What I’m saying is, really it needs to be a presentation of the concepts and thematic values of a movie. Let’s say it’s a comedy, it doesn’t have to be epic. It needs to be more lighthearted obviously. I think an example of that is Jack Sparrow’s theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” It’s not like it’s trying too hard to be an operatic masterpiece. It’s whimsical, it’s kind of fun, so I think it’s all about telling the story. Not about trying to impress the listeners. It’s also to transport you to the realm of the film.

I actually read a study recently that highlighted how music is one of the most emotional experiences. It’s very intense, even compared to reading, a test or seeing something. Hearing through your auditory senses creates the most intense emotion. It basically helps to create the emotion in a movie.

What message do you want to tell with “Paranoid” to the music fans?

Obviously aside from the fact that there is definitely discrimination against a certain group of people in the United States, I think it’s basically my own ‘manifesto’ in a way. I basically think that a lot of music these days, they all sound kind of the same to me. They are kind of disposable, so I wanted to make something that sounded a little different to what people are used to. I use swelling, orchestral elements in a trapped context, so what I mean by that is this lost, orchestral production that’s kind of slow but is then combined with the musical elements of “Trap City," which I think that in itself is pretty interesting. Personally, I haven’t seen that combination work quite as effectively but I would like to think that I pulled it off.

Also I think that a lot of detail went into it, and a lot of production value. Aside from me personally trying to give the audience what I consider to be of higher quality in terms of the care and innovation - I don’t have too much to add.

Having collaborated with many renowned artists, what has been your process in bringing together musicians to create those songs?

I was told these artists would use the beat and I sent in the beat. I basically had to think on my feet to see how I could make this work. “Paranoid” is an uncommon pairing. G.V. Prakash, a singer-composer and Omar Gooding, a West Coast rapper and actor of course - I had to think of a way to make this more cohesive. And I can’t of course forget Sa-Roc. I had to figure out how to make all these parts work together. I would like to think I did a decent job.

In the context of “Trap City” and the entertainment business in general, what have been some of the challenges of making these stories come to life? What’s it like to be working in the business?

What’s challenging about these songs is it’s really not as simple as it looks. It takes much more time than one would imagine. When you enter this industry, you have to realize that things don’t always go the way you expect them to. And you have to think quick.

There are also a lot of factors outside of music that you have to consider. Your social media, your branding, your strategy for the future. These are a lot of things that can be a little grainy for someone yet when you join this industry you have to realize that it’s not going to be as straightforward as you think. And it’s a people’s industry. You have to talk to a lot of people and you have to know how to manage your relationships with people if you really want to get the best product out there. You should expect that there are going to be some difficulties on the way.

What would be your advice to upcoming musicians, filmmakers that want to get in the door?

I would say a few things. One is, a lot of people like to say that “inspiration just comes to me, out of the blue” but I find that’s very ‘glamorous’ but not quite true. What you really have to do is strategize how you’re going to pitch this idea to whoever you may have to pitch it to. Even before that you need to think about who you’re going to sell this idea to. And before you even sell the idea you need to come up with the idea. So the secret there is you have to take some time to think about “What am I trying to say?” Or “What am I trying to do with this concept” whether it’s a song or a movie.

Unless you know that you do want to make something, you have to be aware of what you’re doing. I would say that’s the most important thing. I’m not saying you need to create a masterpiece but I’m saying if you want to make a comedy, you’ve got to plan on making it a comedy. Don’t do it by accident. Of course there are happy accidents but it’s better to go in with a plan. I’d say that’s the best tip I can give.

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