Interview: Hanson

A&E sat down with their former darlings of teen pop before their Sunday night First Ave. show.

History isnâÄôt usually kind to bands like Hanson. Despite the demise of most of their pre-millennia contemporaries, the three bright-eyed wonder boys from Oklahoma never stopped making records.

Isaac, Taylor and Zac might all be married now, but the three brothers still exude some of that youthful exuberance after all these years âÄî both musically and personally.

A&E sat down with the former teen-pop darlings to talk about their newest album, The Jonas Brothers and why thereâÄôs no room left for cynicism.


ItâÄôs been 15 years since you were first considered a âÄúboy band.âÄù What do you think about more contemporary teen pop like The Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus?

Zac: ThereâÄôs some amazing contemporary pop, but I donâÄôt know if theyâÄôd fall under that. So much of their success has been driven by their public persona, not by the quality. IâÄôm sure some of those artists are talented, but itâÄôs so driven by things like Disney, the movies, the TV shows, and it really isnâÄôt based on this great world-changing music.


Well, do you think marketing becoming more crucial to success is just a result of how the music industry has changed?

Zac: Well itâÄôs not just music âĦ EverythingâÄôs wrapped up into that. From Chiquita bananas to music to selling USB drives, whatever it is; thatâÄôs just the way the world works now. Because weâÄôre holding little computers in our hands, you know, smart phones, laptops, wifi proliferation, 4G âĦ itâÄôs just like, youâÄôre constantly being marketed to and as a musician thatâÄôs selling culture. You have to find a way to fight that battle as well. You have to find a way to know that youâÄôre marketing yourself and find a way to represent yourself in a real way that will connect with people.


Does that ever make you cynical?

Isaac: I think itâÄôs a very cynical business in many cases âĦ because itâÄôs very complicated. And I think youâÄôll feel that, and that will happen in any artistsâÄô career. But the truth of the matter is we were always in this because we loved what we did. We loved writing songs, we loved making music and making records we feel like we could play 15 years from now. And thereâÄôs no room for cynicism in that.


Plenty of fans that come to your shows are still from the âÄúMMbopâÄù generation. When you first made it big did you think youâÄôd have that kind of staying power today?

Zac: I mean, we hoped we would, but I think what we knew was that we would be doing it until we were old and gray. You know, when we were younger people would ask us âÄòWhat are you going to do in 10 years?âÄô and itâÄôs like âÄòAre you an idiot? WeâÄôre doing our job.âÄô We always felt that way and being able to do it and seeing it realized, thatâÄôs always surprising.


When you were younger did you ever have any anxiety about being pigeonholed into one-hit wonder status?

Taylor: When you start to worry about things like that, you pigeonhole yourself sometimes because you make the kind of choices that are based on not wanting to be a one-hit wonder instead of the kind of choices that gave you those hits in the first place. So weâÄôve always tried to just keep doing that: say to ourselves âÄòwhen we wrote âÄúMMMbop,âÄù what were we trying to achieve?âÄô When you make your records itâÄôs not in order to be a hit, youâÄôre looking at your own feelings about the record youâÄôre making and youâÄôre going, âÄòDoes this live up to my standards?âÄô And if you continually do that, youâÄôll achieve all those other things.


If you would name your band anything besides Hanson, what would it be?

Zac: Greatest band of all time? Is that too long?

Taylor: The Hanson

Isaac: I donâÄôt know âĦ Three-Headed Hydra?