We have a new single out with Haap 🙂
The powerful “Far Away”. Let me just get the links out of the way so that I can write about all the nerdy techincal bits.
on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/far-away-single/id619359630
in Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/track/2WHmARPrwfOyNFhMK4e8vs
youtube preview: http://youtu.be/wzpW1n9XrvA
“Far Away” is a song about the desperate feeling of “not being where I am supposed to be in my life”, but it also encourages you to hold on to what you know is right. Big feelings in a very dramatic song. Just the way we like it!
Heidi holds nothing back in her performance in this song. You’ll notice that we’ve kept a lot of her breath noises etc. between her lines. It is kept there for the drama. Overall there isn’t much polishing or sweetening done to the vocal track. It’s raw and rough.
I also want to mention the very high note she sings at 3:04. It is an F above high C. That’s very high 😉 But it is not stuck in there just because Heidi can sing that high. It makes sense both in the musical structure of the song, and also lyrically and dramatically. Listen to how she sings “awaaaay” right before the high note (at 3:00). You can hear so many overtones in her voice, so for me it feels like she is almost already up there on that high note. And story-wise she is at her most desperate point in the song. Endre (who runs the neighbour studio to ours), said it best: “It makes no sense to hold back in this song, go all the way”.
There’s a crescendo through the entire song. The song starts very soft, and the overall sound is very “thin” in the beginning. It keeps growing in intensity and depth right up until the very end. This might make the song a little less … radio-friendly…? or ear-bud-friendly? There are dynamics! But again, it makes perfect sense for the story in the song to arrange it this way. Thankfully, the mastering engineer at Abbey Road picked up on this, and kept the song very dynamic. So listen to “Far Away” on a good sound system as well, and you will be sonically rewarded for it 😉
We compose and work in Nuendo. Why Nuendo? We do sound and music for big projects for TV and similar also in this studio, and Nuendo is very stable and reliable… so that’s why 🙂 It just works.
I can’t remember the specific plugins we used, but there’s definitely some UAD plugins used. Certainly the 1176, Harrison EQ and Lexicon 224 reverb. And for the more sound-design bits, I usually reach for CamelSpace, CamelPhat or the Uhbiks. And Altiverb… and maybe some Cooper Time-Cube on the lead voice.
Camelspace is probably a very old plugin by now, but it is so … dependable 🙂 For those that are not familiar with it. It is a multi-fx plugin. It has a filter unit, an echo machine, a reverb, a panner, a flanger, a distortion unit etc etc. And most importantly, right in the middle of it, there is a sequencer, which means you can add movement and expression to an otherwise “flat” sound. Listen for the “helicopter/guitar” sound that appears a couple of time in Far Away, for example at 2:18 or 2:39. That is originally just a long note, a straightforward synth sound, But CamelSpace is chopping it up and throwing it around, and the result is something completely new and rhythmically interesting.
CamelPhat is one of my “secret weapons”. It is the tool I use for the huge growly bass sound that appears in so many of our tracks.
Try this at home:
Feed a normal bass sound into CamelPhat. Turn the tube saturation way up, and the mechanical saturation up ca half of that. Slide the lo-pass filter way down. Add modulation to taste. What you get is a wild bass sound that sounds like a trapped monster trying to escape from a cage. That’s perfect for the Haap sound. A constant danger lurking in the deep darkness, and Heidi’s beautiful voice soars high above it.
Enough rambling for now 🙂 Remember you can always stop by our facebook page and ask a question: https://www.facebook.com/musichaap