Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks have been collaborating their entire lives. Both were born into exceptional musical lineages — Dhani is the son of the Beatles’ George Harrison while Paul calls the Hollies’ Tony Hicks dad — the two used to mess around while their fathers were recording at London’s famed Abbey Road Studios. Later in life, they both found themselves working at the place, Dhani recording with Paul behind the mixing console. They play together in the band thenewno2, and in 2013 they scored their first film together, Beautiful Creatures.
In the time since, they’ve composed for another film (2014’s Learning to Drive), the TV series The Divide, and the WGN TV series Outsiders. This week they return with the soundtrack to Seattle Road out Friday, and EW is excited to premiere the sprawling “The Sharp Knife” off the set.
Hear the tune below and read on for more from Harrison.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you get involved in the Seattle Road project?
DHANI HARRISON: A couple of years back, I was just finishing up George Fest: A Night to Celebrate The Music of George Harrison, the re-release of my father’s first seven albums, a week of television on Conan, and the Fest itself. About a week later, just after the come down from all this, I received a call from Tracy McKnight, a music supervisor that [Paul and I] had worked with previously and a good friend. She introduced us to the director Ryan David who we got on with instantly. He was very interested in a forward-thinking, abstract soundtrack and we were really interested in doing one, so we said yes almost immediately.
Tell me about penning “The Sharp Knife.”
That was one of the last things we wrote. It ends up as the end credit song over the final montage, which is kind of an interesting thing after the gravity of the [movie’s] ending. It’s a fun moment, actually, quite unlike the rest of the score. It uses a lot of the sounds and similar chaotic loops and beats that feature throughout cues in the film, but it’s a lot happier [despite] the quite dark lyrics.
Is the video all footage from the film?
Ryan cut this from excerpts of the movie, a lot of B roll, a lot of alternative takes, and a lot of stuff which ended up on the cutting room floor but all told the narrative of the story — all kind of alternate perspective. I think it was a little bit influenced by the Smashing Pumpkins “1979” video, a feel good, Northern California, love story, romp.
You’ve worked with Paul for most of your career. Aside from your own music, you’ve done three soundtracks together as well — Beautiful Creatures, Learning to Drive, and Outsiders — what about your partnership works so well?
Well we grew up together. Our parents are friends, obviously our dads recorded at Abbey Road a lot, and saw each other a lot when they were young. Paul worked at Abbey Road for so many years and became one of the best engineers there. I went more the Traveling Wilbury-route of education of music. When I was making some of my first records and working with my father, Paul would always be around — we made my first record together, which he engineered in 2003, another in 2004, then Fistful of Mercy we worked on together. That was before we decided to start composing together. That started with Beautiful Creatures.
We have quite a different way of looking at things. Paul is an incredible mix engineer and programmer. I’ve recently become better at programming but I tend to usually write a lot of the stuff, now Paul is writing a lot of the stuff. So we work well off each other, we’re the different sides of the music that we make. We’re also both only children and OCD so we know how to share, but only with each other.