Band MMMBops its way to the Fillmore for stop on national tour

By | June 10, 2013

Maryland Gazette

It was the mid-1990s when boy band sensation Hanson burst onto the scene with the undeniable earworm, “MMMBop.” Sixteen years and eight albums later, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac are gearing up for a nationwide tour, including a stop at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Saturday, on the heels of their latest record, “Anthem,” out June 18.

“No matter how many times you’ve done it, the thing you’re trying to accomplish is still the same …” said Zac Hanson, 27, the youngest of the trio. “You’re striving to really make something that is authentic and special … something that you feel like wow, we haven’t really done that yet.”

With a career spanning three decades, it’s hard to imagine what Hanson hasn’t done yet. And while the hairstyles may have changed since their first album, “Middle of Nowhere” was released in 1997, Hanson said the band’s approach to making music has not.

“In so many ways, it doesn’t feel like it’s changed for us because every album and every song is just a baby step from another,” said Hanson. “It’s been really natural and in that respect it just hasn’t been a hard thing … the idea of staying the same or changing just wasn’t a factor.”

Like with all of their albums, Hanson said the band was “deeply involved” in the writing and production of “Anthem.” This involvement over the years has allowed the brothers to produce music that they would want to listen to themselves.

“ … Our sound, what we sound like has never been something that was trying to be a part of anything else but what we like,” said Hanson. “The people we’ve always been inspired by — Paul Simon, The Beatles — have done that so naturally. What matters is your own taste … I think for us, we’ve always just taken that approach.”

Hanson’s sound has always ebbed between pop and rock, and “Anthem” is no exception. But this album also had a very specific purpose.

“There is a boldness to this music,” said Hanson. “It’s called ‘Anthem’ for a reason … any song can be someone’s anthem and that’s what’s so powerful about music. It’s interesting the way people look at music … people say, ‘that’s my song.’ You don’t say that about a lot of other art forms … music has an ability to be a part of other people’s experiences …”

But the record isn’t just an anthem for Hanson fans, it’s one for the band, too.

“It represents our anthem as well,” said Hanson. “Really for us, the whole record there was a fighting process to make sure the record happened …”

He said the brothers took a hiatus from recording in the summer of 2012 after the three had a hard time seeing eye-to-eye on the direction of the album.

“There’s a perception that we must get along all of the time,” said Hanson. “We definitely have our arguments and we started making the record and then stopped because we were kind of tired of working together. There was sort of this process like, this has never happened before, we just need some time off to recharge.”

Hanson said the time apart paid off. The brothers reunited later in the summer and finished recording an album they are proud of.

The first single off the album, “Get the Girl Back,” is classic Hanson; a little bit rock and a little bit pop.

“It has a 1960s vibe but it’s a little harder and a little faster,” said Hanson.

The song’s video is a narrative following two couples during a night out in a club.

“The concept, what we wanted to do was … represent the Hanson experience,” said Hanson. “ … Not that Hanson always plays in sweaty clubs, but the feeling of being at the show everyone wants to get into.”

The video features a few of the band’s friends including actress Kat Dennings from “2 Broke Girls” and Drake Bell from “Drake and Josh.”

“It’s cool to have people who are talented actors playing those roles and representing our band,” said Hanson. “The main thing I think was seeing that it was so cool to have people like that represent our fanbase.”

Hanson’s fanbase, teenyboppers in the 1990s, are now in their early to mid-twenties and likely interested in the band’s latest venture, a craft beer called MMMHops, available in the fall as a part of the band’s 21st anniversary.

Hanson originally brewed a batch of MMMHops for promotional purposes. “MMMBop” is featured in “The Hangover III” and the beer was served at the movie’s premiere.

“The music is really important to the movie,” said Hanson. “When you play MMMBop, you’re just like, it’s perfect … [We] love being a part of something that people are taking real care to use what you’ve done … [Now] you can actually taste Hanson.”