Hanson shows us how to “Shout It Out”
6 August 2010
By Abbey Khan
The new Hanson album may be called Shout It Out, but the boys didn’t have to scream to get our attention. We spoke to the soft-spoken and oldest brother, Isaac, who talks about their fifth studio album, which performer he would like to collaborate with, and their relationship with Weird Al.
FUSN: Is there any song you particularly favor on your new album Shout It Out?
IH: We always make the joke that picking songs that are your favorite is like picking children. You love them all equally because they’re all different. Give A Little is one of the ones that I can consistently listen to and really enjoy. I think the thing about Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’ is that I’ve been hearing it so much lately with all the stuff that we’ve been doing that I have less of a desire to listen to it over and over and over again.
FUSN: Are there any lyrics or certain lines that really stand out to you or have a special meaning to you?
IH: One of my favorite songs on the record is Voice in the Chorus. I like the groove of it. It’s a little bit more of a complex groove. The middle section of that song, it goes “I never really know til you…” and the drumbeat is kind of complicated and I really like it because when you’re listening to it, it doesn’t sound complicated. There’s some stuff like that I just appreciate. I also really like the horn arrangement on that. It’s kind of a tell-off song to a fair weathered friend or a fair weathered fan. It depends what your perspective is on it. But it basically says, “Well, things are not going so great for me right now, but when things start going great, you’re going to show back up and be like ‘hey remember me’ and I’ll be like ‘you’re just another voice in the chorus.’” I kind of like it because it’s snarky.
FUSN: A lot of times, musicians like to make a statement with their songs, is there a certain message you are trying to send out with this album?
IH: I think one of the biggest things this record says is that it’s perpetually optimistic. It’s an upbeat record but I don’t think it’s upbeat without lyrical content. It’s not just lightweight love songs. There are places for lightweight love songs—love them, but it’s hard to make an entire record out of it and feel like you’re making quality music. In general, the record is about not being afraid, and getting out there, and being the best you can be, and enjoying the moment, and seizing the day—Carpe Diem!
FUSN: All of you have kids now, have any of them demonstrated any musical talent or have they expressed any interest in the field?
IH: Yes and we try to scare it out of them. All of our kids are showing varying degrees of interest in music. For some of them it’s purely just an exercise of hitting things and for others it’s much more complex. In the case of Taylor’s kids in particular, I’ve noticed some really unusual complex understandings of music and his kids are the oldest so that’s part of it too. His four-year-old, well actually, he’s not quite four yet, but for the last six to nine months or so, it’s been really really noticeable his aptitude for rhythm and his understanding of drums. He’s actually really shockingly good at playing the drums, it’s kind of weird. Some people are just born with an aptitude for music. My oldest son who is now three has definitely started to pick up singing a lot more recently and he’ll just make up songs that are combinations of the ABC’s and ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and then next thing you know the beach somehow gets mixed in there or the backyard or his cars.
FUSN: Whose idea was it to get Weird Al in the video for Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin’?
IH: It was kind of a clutch decision. It stems from the fact that Taylor, in particular, has had a pretty close relationship with Al because Al’s daughter and Taylor’s oldest son are the same age, and they’ve hung out a good bit in non-professional situations. And we’ve known Al since 1998 and have kept in contact with him periodically. And we’ve always been big fans of what Al does and have just always found his humor to be really great and have always appreciated his records.
FUSN: By any chance, did he mention if he plans on mocking this song or any of the songs on the album?
IH: You never know. I don’t know whether or not if Al will do that and I’m not sure whether or not he’d tell us until he’s done it. I do know that there is an upcoming collaboration between Hanson and Al, so I’ll just kind of leave it as a mystery, and it is related to Al’s new record.
FUSN: Besides Weird Al, are there any other performers you would like to work with?
IH: Billy Joel is one that I have always wanted to talk to in a more in depth way. And more than that, I think I’d really like to sit down and work with him and write a few songs with him and understand his process and maybe just admire the brilliance of his brain. I think as a lyricist in particular, he’s so good! It blows me away how many great lyrics he has. He’s such a good storyteller in a very not abstract way. Like with Elton John, it was always a lot more poetic and metaphorical and mysterious. With Billy, there was always a story. It’s not just in motion, there’s a dialogue going and you find yourself inside of that person that he’s singing about or talking about. He just has a really unique capacity to tell stories in that way and I’ve always admired that and musically, he’s great. What’s really interesting about some of the stuff he does is that he’ll change keys for choruses. He does it pretty consistently and it’s always just seamless. There’s just a lot of things about his music that I’ve always admired.
FUSN: You guys were just kids when you hit it big with Middle of Nowhere, how do you think your music has evolved over the years?
IH: I think the essence of who we are as a band has really stayed surprisingly the same. For people who are unfamiliar with our music as a whole may only know something like MMMBop, Where’s the Love, or the early singles might be confused. If you’re listening to an early Hanson record, you’re going to think ‘Oh, wow, Hanson has changed a ton.’ I think it’s always been a blend of soulful, and kind of R&B inspired pop, and a little bit of gospel and blues, kind of rock’n’roll stuff. For the most part, I’ve been really proud of how our music has matured, meaning, I think our music now has all the necessary similarities to early music that people would be familiar from us in a way that they would feel like they could enjoy it but at the same time our music is continually evolving. I don’t think we’ve made the same record twice.
Source: Fushion Mag