‘Anthem’ is the band’s sixth studio offering and boasts arching melodies and epic guitar riffs – something Zac Hanson, the band’s youngest member, says is something the brothers made a strong focus throughout the new record. “It’s not something that I would say is necessarily different to our other albums, but the guitars really do make a big comeback on ‘Anthem’.
“A strong guitar presence is something that’s always been a part of every Hanson album but it’s a sound that you really do hear predominantly on the new tracks; it’s all about the guitar this time,” Zac says. “It’s always interesting starting a new project, because you really don’t know where it will end up – and that’s part of the artistry, part of the journey and part of why we love to do what we do. We’ve always tried to write songs that get stuck in your head… in a good way, songs with great melodies that have people singing along. I think you really hear that on this record and we just can’t wait to go live with it.”
The writing and recording of ‘Anthem’ was split between Texas – where the basics were laid – and finished in Oklahoma, Hanson’s home state. “I think that’s something that sets us apart from other bands; we’re not just another group from California. It is always really important for us to capture the individual sound of the three of us playing and that’s something we worked on and recorded in our studio back home in Oklahoma – it felt right to do it there,” Zac says.
“As a band, as brothers, we always have such a desire to go back home and soak it all up. When you spend so much time travelling and away from home it’s really nice to just go back to Oklahoma and be inspired by the real ‘heartland’ of America.”
Hanson find inspiration in the sounds of skilful musicians of generations past; in the soulful charm of Motown, the melodies of Paul McCartney and Simon & Garfunkel and also in rock and roll — bands like AC/DC and Queen. “We aspire to longevity. There is this great catalogue of music that we’ve always looked up to and that makes us want to keep creating and keep playing. This new record is really ‘50s and ‘60s inspired but also has a bit more of a rock influence,” Zac says.
The band’s infectious new single, ‘Get The Girl Back’, sounds well and truly like the Hanson we’ve all come to know and love, with a twist: Hanson are well and truly all grown up and their new music is testament to the experiences the three have had along the way. “I think the sound of Hanson is rejuvenated on this next album; it’s evolved. And that’s come from experience and life and learning new skills and working with great artists along the way. We still aim to excite ourselves and be inspired. At its heart, our music is the same but it’s in a whole different context now,” Zac says. “Yes, we’re still a garage band from Oklahoma, but with new tricks under our belt.”
Zac was just 11 years old when ‘MMMbop’ came out and the group shot to stardom, but unlike so many other bands, Hanson were no one-hit wonder.
Now 28, Zac is still in awe of the career he has had, the magnitude of success that followed ‘MMMbop’ and the fact that he is, still doing what he loves so many years on. “I think that’s been the biggest challenge for us. When you have this kind of success, of which we’re so grateful for of course, the lines can be blurred… between what’s real and what’s not and you become accustomed to certain things,” Zac says.
“I think the fact that we have survived hasn’t been luck, it’s been really hard work. And the other major success in my book is that we all still like each other. When you’re family, you know exactly which buttons to press and there are things that can be said in the heat of the moment that you can’t take back. It’s extraordinary to me that no-one has given up on anyone yet… there’s still way too much music to make.”
And so old and new fans can be reassured there will be many more Hanson albums to come. “We’re always writing and always creating… we’re not anywhere near done yet,” Zac says.
Tue Aug 5 – The Tivoli (Brisbane)
Wed Aug 6 – Coolangatta Hotel (Gold Coast)
Fri Aug 8 – Enmore Theatre (Sydney)
Sat Aug 9 – Palais Theatre (Melbourne)
Tue Aug 12 – HQ (Adelaide)
Fri Aug 15 – Metropolis (Fremantle)