Happy Birthday

To celebrate my Mum’s birthday I decided that it would be a nice idea for Wanda and I to record a version of the Happy Birthday song for her.

My brother was putting together a compilation of video messages and clips sent by a variety of family and friends from all around the world to show at her surprise birthday party, so we thought it would be nice to record a video for the song so it could be shown at the party.

You can watch the video here (complete with cheesy introduction):

You can also have a listen to just the audio track here:

It was great fun to record and make a video, although I must say that I found the music side a great deal easier than editing video. Next time I might leave it in my brother’s capable hands.

I started off the song by recording some Shruti Box, which I have written about before. I then started recording more and more layers of instruments.

First came the piano which is the Braunschweig Upright Piano that comes from a fantastic sample library by Imperfect Samples. Often I find that sample libraries can be a little too perfect despite the incredible lengths people can go to to record them and as a result they can actually start to sound a little but boring lifeless.

I really like this piano library because Imperfect Samples have gone out of their way to capture all the little flaws, creaks and buzzes from the piano that actually give it all it’s character.

Braunschweig Upright Piano

We then added some percussion with a couple of shakers, a tambourine and some hand claps. I then added some simple chords with my small harmonium.

Small Harmonium

Wanda then added some finger picking on my Lowden O23 acoustic guitar, which I have found always records beautifully.

Lowden O23

I added a few different electric guitar parts on my Fender Telecaster.

Fender Telecaster

I used Native InstrumentsGuitar Rig 4 as a virtual amp as I find it very quick and easy to use, as well as being very versatile and sounding great.

Guitar Rig 4 – Christal

The drums came from a great sample library for Native InstrumentsKore 2 platform called True Strike Tension. I have actually used this soundpack on quite a few of my own songs, it’s great for big timpani style percussion and drumming.

I then added some bass using the fantastic Tillian by Spectrasonics, which I now use for pretty much all of my bass sounds.

Spectraonics – Trilian

For the vocals I recorded two different parts, one an octave higher than the other. Wanda then added a vocal that doubled the higher octave part. Finally we then added a couple of harmony parts to further fill out the last part of the song.

And that was that, it was finished. My Mum certainly seemed to like it and it got a round of applause when it was played at the party which made me very happy.

I hope you enjoy it too,

Stephen.

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