Hanson have been hitting the charts for over 25 years now, but to many, they’re still that trio of long-haired tweens singing MmmBop. But even though they’re all in their thirties, with 11 albums under their belts and families over their own, they’re not trying to make you forget about their nineties pop classics. Isaac Hanson admitted that while the band is eager to reinvent themselves all the time, they’re not ‘running away’ from their earlier success. Speaking to Metro.co.uk ahead of their String Theory tour coming to the UK, the 38-year-old said: ‘Every band has their own unique set of challenges. In our case, we started off very very young, and made a strong impression because of that youth. You definitely want to encourage people to rediscover what you’re doing in different ways. You need to challenge yourself every time you make a record, and you need to make new statements and tell new stories every time, otherwise there’s no reason for anyone to pay attention. ‘We are in a constant place of telling new stories and reinvention in some way or another, but I would not say we’re running from our past. We feel very comfortable in what we have done in our lives and our musical careers, and what we’re doing on this show and our album is a good example of that – it’s very much something we’re excited to continually share and have a part of what we do.’
Hanson still have the classic in their String Theory tour, but with a twist – as this tour accompanied by a live orchestra. Isaac explained: ‘The idea for String Theory goes back a couple of years, when we were preparing for our 25th anniversary. We had originally planned to do a handful of shows with a symphony as a celebratory thing. Generally on your birthday you do exciting things with friends! But as we looked into it, we realised we needed more time to do what we were setting out to do, so we started planning something different. Rather than finding ourselves in a situation where we’re played singles familiar to people with an orchestra, we were able to basically write an album and show from top to bottom with an orchestra in mind. ‘There are absolutely differences and challenges [with performing with an orchestra]. It was really a process of stripping back the band. ‘In some cases, in MmmBop for example, you have almost exclusively orchestra, and the three of us with an acoustic guitar at the beginning. And one of the new tracks, Siren Call, has vocals, the rhythm track by Taylor, Zac and I, and then the orchestra. There are also multiple cases in various songs, like Where Is The Love, where there are orchestral breaks where the band dropped out and the orchestra just plays. You don’t want to do this sort of think and have them basically be background – even on a purely monetary level, it’s a waste of money, but on a musical level more importantly, it is a waste of emotional depth and opportunity.’ Isaac – the eldest of the band – says that the orchestra does lend a more mellow vibe to the tour, but promises that fans old and new will still be entertained.
The guitarist said: ‘It is definitely a show that any fan who has been around from the beginning until now can appreciate and enjoy. It’s definitely a show that’s a little bit more mellow, in the sense that it starts slower and ramps up. Hanson shows normally are pretty in your face and bombastic, we tend to start our shows with either a lot of energy or a bunch of loud guitars to get people in the mood. But in this case, the show starts with a ballad, which sets the tone for the whole show.’ Hanson are always on the road, having five tours in the past five years alone – something that’s even more impressive considering the guys’ family lives Isaac is a dad of three, Zac, 33, has four kids, and Taylor, 35, has just welcomed his sixth child.
‘That’s why we go on the road,’ Isaac laughed. ‘Nah, just kidding! Honestly, on a very personal note, my kids are my favourite thing about my life. One of the greatest things about being a parent is that they inject a positive amount of youthful exuberance and a hint of naivety into the world around you, which keeps you optimistic and young. As far as keeping sanity and coping with all that craziness – life is crazy, it’s just about what crazy you choose to live. ‘I don’t think that being single is any less exhausting than being a parent – it’s just a different type of exhaustion. It involves more hangovers. Parenting can involve hangovers too, it just may not be the same kind.’ The String Theory International Tour plays Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on 11 February, Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on 12 February, Nottingham’s Rock City on 14 February (non-symphony show), London’s Royal Festival Hall on 15 February, and Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on 17 February.