[artist id="783"]Blink-182's[/artist] Mark Hoppus has done production work for Motion City Soundtrack and All Time Low and remixes for Fall Out Boy, so he's become more than adept at twiddling a knob or two. But when he was approached by the people at Motown Records about a new remix project, well, his hands were almost too shaky to twiddle anything.
"Motown reached out to a bunch of different artists and producers to remix Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 songs, and they're taking about 15 of those tracks and putting them out on iTunes, as kind of like a tribute," Hoppus told MTV News on Tuesday. "And I don't know how I was lucky enough to get involved in the project — it's a huge honor — because somehow they want me to remix 'ABC' by the Jackson 5."
After the initial shock wore off, Hoppus and production partner Chris Holmes got to work on an "ABC" remix, digging through the original Motown 16-track recordings, which was an experience in its own right.
"Just to hear those tracks was just amazing. I mean, Michael Jackson was 12 years old when he sang [the song]," Hoppus said. "And it's just incredible to hear that, and to hear all the individual tracks off that and to get to work off it. It was a huge, huge experience for me."
After listening at length to the original, Hoppus admits that his main focus for the "ABC" remix was basically "not to mess with too much." Which means that there aren't many bells or whistles on his version, just slight flourishes to the original tracks.
"When we listened back to the track, Michael's vocal is really the centerpiece of that whole thing," he said. "So what we did was we went back in, added a few small things here and there — like, I played bass over a few parts, mimicked the bass line and then added some bass overdubs on top of that with a little different melody line.
"We added some different organ sounds, kept it really organic because it was recorded back in the early '70s, so everything has that Motown sound to it," he continued. "We didn't want to try and make it all techno or weird or electronic or anything, it was really about that vocal, so we added some other things in and remixed it in a way that I think really highlights the vocals throughout the song and adds a little new flavor to it."
Hoppus and Holmes wrapped production on the track last week — while Blink-182 were in tour mode — and sent it off to Motown president Sylvia Rhone for final approval.
Hoppus said they got the official thumbs-up on Monday, which means that the remix will see the light of day, presumably alongside tracks by the Neptunes, Dallas Austin and more on the tribute project Michael Jackson: The Remix Suite, which will be released digitally — five songs at a time — starting on August 25, and then collected in a physical album due to hit stores on October 27, according to Universal Motown.