×

APM Custom Music Offers Made-to-Order Tunes

Whether it’s a series theme or Mexican banda for a needle drop, when clients want something exclusive they come to APM Custom Music. Launched in 2012, APM Custom operates out of the recording studio formerly known as Lion Share. “We want to be a one-stop shop for clients,” says director of custom music development Connie Red. “APM has a library that’s very extensive, but sometimes they’re looking for an original piece. We do it all.”

Recent projects range from remixing the “Overwatch League” e-sports music for game giant Blizzard, which wanted a hipped-up version of their lush orchestral scores that could be used in promotional efforts, to creating a Chechnian folk tune for HBO’s Bill Hader hitman drama series “Barry.” “We had to find not only someone who could write but also someone who could sing in Chechnian. It was crazy,” Red says, laughing. “We’ve never done the same job twice, because clients will come to us and ask for a song sung in Mandarin by a female pop artist, and we make that happen. We have an amazing group of composers who can write in any genre.”

For ESPN, APM Custom re-recorded the “Monday Night Football” theme, “Heavy Action” – a meaningful assignment as the late APM composer Johnny Pearson originated the tune in 1970. “‘Heavy Action’ is part of the KPM Library, but we were asked to re-record it in a Hollywood grand premiere red carpet vibe,” Red explains.

While electric guitar, bass and drums were added “to give it that extra edge,” the tune was re-created with an 87-piece orchestra recorded at Abbey Road in London.

It was one of the rare times Red has ventured outside her historic home site, created in 1981 by singer Kenny Rogers, who refurbished an old ABC studio as a recording hub. “It’s a gorgeous room, large enough for us to record a full choir, to have brass sessions,” he says. “Everyone from Cat Stevens to the Ramones to Barbra Streisand has recorded here.” Perhaps most famously: Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson wrote and recorded “We Are the World” at Lion Share, and Jackson liked the place so much he ended up buying it.

In addition to the live room, “we can compose in the box because we have great samples,” Red explains. If clients like an APM library track but want a few adjustments, APM Custom accommodates that too. “We’ll tweak until it’s perfect.”

What sometimes happens is someone will love a library tune, but once they’re in the final cut “maybe the library track doesn’t hit the emotional notes it needs to hit at the right time. So we’ll come in and supply a string swell or something, add instrumentation, and layer it up, to give it the build.”

A recent project for the advertising agency McCann lifted the end notes to a an otherwise suitable library track. “We were able to provide that upbeat ending they were looking for,” Red says, noting a similar forecast for APM Custom. “We continue to grow. Last year was our best year ever.”

More Film

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

  • Cameron Crowe, David Crosby, A.J. Eaton.

    Cameron Crowe on Why He Loved Leaving David Crosby Doc on a CSNY Question Mark

    David Crosby may or may not have stuck a joint in Cameron Crowe’s mouth the first time he ever met the future filmmaker, when Crosby was peaking with Crosby Stills Nash & Young and his interviewer was a precocious 15-year-old Rolling Stone correspondent. As Crowe said to Jimmy Kimmel the other night, “I remember it [...]

  • Mokalik

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • The Lion King

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Roars Overseas With Mighty $269 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” certainly felt the love this weekend, generating $269 million at the international box office. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the classic Disney cartoon now holds the eighth-biggest debut of all time overseas, and that’s not including the film’s early opening in China last weekend. Combined with a stellar $185 million start [...]

  • Scarlett JohanssonMarvel Studios panel, Comic-Con International,

    Scarlett Johansson Reveals What We'll Learn About Black Widow in Stand-Alone Movie

    Scarlett Johansson can finally talk about her upcoming “Black Widow” movie. While she can’t divulge spoilers, she let out a big sigh of relief after the film was officially announced on Saturday during the Marvel Studios presentation at Comic-Con. Related APM Working to Increase the Presence of Female Musicmakers Disney Makes Big Play to Stay [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content