For the 50th anniversary, George Harrison's classic "All Things Must Pass" will be remixed and released in various deluxe editions - albeit with a one-year delay due to corona. Responsible for the remix was British sound engineer Paul Hicks, who had previously been involved in the arrangement of the tracks for the John Lennon retrospective "Gimme Some Truth", among others. On top of that, Hicks is good friends with Harrison's son Dhani, with whom he played in a band for a long time. We talked to him about the sense and nonsense of remixing a classic and the disadvantages of Phil Spector's production method.
eclipsed: Do you remember your first encounter with George Harrison's album "All Things Must Pass"?
Paul Hicks: That's not so easy to answer, because the album has been with me all my life. I remember that it was on my parents' shelf, it's hard to miss - the thick box that immediately captivated me. And at some point, of course, it was also put on, although I can no longer remember the exact time.
eclipsed: How did it come about that you were commissioned to do the remix? You've been friends with Dhani Harrison for a long time. Do you sit down together and say "Let's do this now!
Hicks: Oh, it was more of a longer process, where one thing led to another. I worked on the Beatles stuff, I did the Lennon remixes for the compilation "Gimme Some Truth" as well as for "Plastic Ono Band", which were very praised, and so it just happened that I could deal with "All Things Must Pass" when it was clear that something should happen for the 50th anniversary
eclipsed: Unlike the 30th anniversary edition, which was just a remastered version, today there is a tendency to remix, after all. On the one hand, this development is celebrated, but on the other hand it is also viewed very sceptically. Especially in the case of the Beatles there is quite some controversy ..
Hicks: At some point you just reached the limits of what a remastering is capable of, even with this album. There's simply no point in making another attempt, that would really be a rip-off. But today we are technically capable of so much more than we were, for example, 20 years ago with the reissue you mentioned. We can isolate instruments and thus completely remix the whole thing, correct mistakes and create a sound that sounds contemporary. But you have to ask yourself if that's the right thing to do or if the album wasn't meant to sound the way it originally did. George Harrison had been a bit unhappy with all the reverb, I had supported him many years ago when he did the remastering. So we tried to take it back a bit without taking away from the original shape of the work. We didn't want to change too much, but we wanted to freshen it up a bit ...