The Story Behind Prince Harvey At The Apple Store: SoHo
Soundproof walls, expensive microphones and complicated-looking sound desks dominate the spaces often used to record albums. Display computers, phones and sales assistants? Not so much.
For New York artist and rapper Prince Harvey, the latter features were the defining characteristic of his main recording location: the Apple Store in SoHo. Harvey spent four months at this store, and a couple of others, recording parts of his album and storing them in the “Trash” can of display computers so they wouldn’t get wiped out at the end of the day.
The result is his debut album, PHATASS, a name that pays homage to his recording location (it stands for Prince Harvey At The Apple Store: SoHo).
But Harvey didn’t plan to record his album like this. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Harvey explains that the creative approach only came about after serious tech issues of his own.
“First, my computer died. Then my external [hard drive] died,” he says.
“New York is expensive. I couldn’t just buy another laptop. I just thought, ‘I’m going to die before anyone knows I’m hot.’”
So that’s how he ended up at Apple, hoping he wouldn’t be caught. He spent five days a week in Apple stores, for a total of sixteen weeks, recording with only his voice, display equipment and a little help from some friends.
“I’ve always felt the need to express myself,” Harvey says in an interview with Noisey by Vice.
“The album I’m putting out, ‘PHATASS’, is completely a cappella. People can’t tell because the beats are highly processed and don’t sound vocal. Most people just think they’re regular beats made in some program.”
“With this album I sought to emphasize the voice as our most important instrument.”
Throughout his weeks at the Apple Store, Harvey became friends with two (unnamed) team members who bent corporate rules to help him produce the album, but there were still times when unexpected challenges arose.
“One time there was a fire drill and I was trying to save my work, and this lady came over and disconnected the thumb drive while it was saving,” he tells The Daily Beast.
The remarkable way Harvey has recorded this album is now helping him get a lot of media attention, with publications praising his initiative and resourcefulness.
Harvey’s personal life may have also been inspiration for his actions. He grew up in Dominica, but moved between LA and New York, where he’s spent most of his time since he was 14. He’s also experienced homelessness at different times, and knows firsthand how the housing crisis is affecting people in New York.
But through it all, Harvey’s managed to sustain an overall positive view of the world and his life. PHATASS, which is released on 27th July 2015, is a testament to his passion and drive to create – no matter what obstacles are thrown in the way, or how little money he may have.
“I don’t think I’m poor. Poor is a mentality. I mean, I can be broke—no money in my pocket—but I’ve never been poor. I’ve been rich my whole life,” he says.
“But I do want money. I want to tour. I want to perform for different people,” Prince says. “Shit, I’ll go to Antarctica for the penguins if they’re feeling it.”
Images: Screenshots from Prince Harvey’s website.