We talk to Taylor Hanson about the group’s evolution since ‘MMMBop’
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
By Hunter Hauk, firstname.lastname@example.org
Folks who haven’t paid attention to Oklahoma trio Hanson since the ’90s have missed out on a little bit of music-biz drama and quite a few solid pop-rock tunes.
Two major-label albums followed the hugely successful 1997 single “MMMBop,” which made Tulsa brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson child stars. But as the songwriting siblings went from boys to men, they began to find themselves at odds with their label’s expectations.
“I don’t think they knew what exactly they wanted us to sound like or be, but they wanted us to be a guarantee,” Taylor, the 27-year-old middle brother and primary singer, told us in a recent phone chat. “We reached a point where we just had to grab it by the horns and embrace all the qualities that defined us as a band. Despite the fact that we don’t sleep a lot now, I feel proud of the last seven or eight years.”
What the Hansons have done with those years is impressive: They negotiated their way out of their contract with Island Def Jam, started an indie label called 3CG and went on to self-release three well-received albums. The latest is this year’s soulful, R&B-tinged disc Shout It Out.
You may have seen the brothers and several hometown friends doing silly Blues Brothers-style choreography in the recent video for the infectious single “Thinkin’ Bout Something.”
“The song and the video – there’s no question we were making a statement with it,” Taylor said. “We like to take risks. We’ve never been accused of being offensive or anything. [Laughs.] But we’re always into doing something that nobody else is doing.”
Taylor and his bros will be playing many of the tunes from Shout It Out when their tour comes to House of Blues on Monday.
“This record was recorded live off the floor – the last three records we’ve made have been going in that direction,” Taylor said. “So this show is the most true to the recording itself that we’ve done, probably.
“That said, we change up the show a lot. We’ve always pulled from older records and never shied away from playing classics.”
For anyone who still has trouble considering the Hanson brothers grownups, it might help to know that they’re all husbands and fathers now. Taylor has four young children.
“I’d like to say that I am a super parent, but my wife is an extraordinary person who allows me to be gone and be committed to our business,” he said. “We try to have our cake and eat it too. It’s a little crazy, though.”