Focused Hanson won't 'chase trends'

By | July 23, 2010

PhillyBurbs.com

Zac Hanson doesn’t get annoyed easily.

The mannered and friendly Hanson drummer is usually a positive guy, except when the subject turns to contemporary music.

“What recording artists are making today is very mockable,” Hanson says. “The music made today is very forgettable. I really believe that what’s coming out today is like disco was during the ’70s.

“You have some really stupid songs out there. How about that song ‘You Look Better When I’m Drunk’ (by White Tie Affair)? You really couldn’t think of anything better to write? We’re in a really dumb era.”

Well, perhaps that’s why Hanson, which sounds like a retro pop act, stepped back when crafting “Shout it Out,” its latest album.

The sonic influence of Motown and the lyrical impact of Billy Joel are all over the disc.

“We love the classic sounds,” Hanson says while calling from Buffalo. “It’s a good thing to go back to. Our intent wasn’t to go back to a certain era. We just wanted to make a fun, breezy, summery album. We wanted to make a pop record.

“We didn’t have an approach, but we never try to do things that way. We believe that you can never chase trends. We’ve never done that. We’ve made it to where we are despite ourselves.”

When Hanson exploded during the mid-’90s, the trio of brothers, which also includes vocalist-keyboardist Taylor and vocalist-guitarist Isaac, crashed the post-grunge scene with pure unadulterated pop.

“We certainly weren’t following what was happening at that moment,” Hanson says. “We just try to play the best music we can – music that inspires us.”

There have never been any technical questions when it comes to the former boy band that came out of Oklahoma.

Unlike just about every other act that has been labeled a boy band, Hanson, which appears Sunday at the Theatre of the Living Arts, has always been an actual band – with serious skills.

“We’ve always been about generating our sound,” Hanson says. “We write and play our songs. We’re not about gimmicks. We don’t use a vocoder or anything that will enhance what we do. It’s all us, and that’s never going to change.”

Zac, 24, Taylor, 27, and Isaac, 29, have accomplished a great deal considering each has yet to hit 30. The group has recorded eight studio albums and enjoyed enormous commercial success during the ’90s.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Hanson says. “We get to do what we love, which is to make music. That’s all we ever wanted to do. I think some people were skeptical in the beginning. You saw these three kids singing pop songs. But we were never about being around for a short time.

“The pop success was great, but it was always about doing this for a long time. I see us doing just that. Music may change, but we won’t. We’ll play our style of music, and you’ll see us out together for years to come.”

Hanson appears Sunday at the Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St., Philadelphia. Show time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $30; show is listed as sold out. Information: 800-745-3000.