SXSW 2018 with Hanson (but they weren’t really there)
At SXSW last week, Hanson made several appearances, despite not really being there.
They made a stop at KGSR Radio Austin and talked briefly about why they were in Austin. Here they demonstrated a familiar confidence and satisfaction with their present status, 26 years into a career, while underlining the fact that they are moving forward, challenging themselves to do things they haven’t done yet.
Hanson at KGSR Radio Austin
Chiefly, Hanson were at SXSX, to take part in the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus event, performing and talking about their songwriting and experiences as young, independent musicians. Taylor Hanson’s Instagram picture referenced the iconic Lennon and Ono “Bed In” of 1969, with a guitar, flowers, telephone and words, Love, Peace, Activism, Equality and Truth strewn across the covers. This was no selfie moment for the band but rather one for serious connections to the past and the future to be emphasised.
Hanson The Belmont Austin
Hanson also revisited the soft ball field that was the site of the meeting with Christopher Sabec, the encounter that led to their signing with Mercury records. This time it was to meet with Jo Whiley, music presenter with BBC Radio 2. Listen to the interview with Hanson at just an hour in to the piece. Hanson spoke about how the SXSW experience is an opportunity to find music outside of the official showcases. Hanson’s own story demonstrates the lucky moments of being outside the SXSW schedule and they spoke passionately about being there to support the idea of inspiring young people to play music. They spoke with affection for the little gigs, the unknowns, the next group of buskers who would find a spot on the streets of Austin to show their talents and start a journey. As Jo Whiley asked how young musicians could embrace the opportunities of SXSW, Taylor Hanson reminded listeners of the heart of his band, “internalise what you are fighting for, know yourself”.
Hanson with Jo Whiley
This piece from Billboard SXSW: Hanson Deliver the Hits, Hint at ‘Next Big Project’, includes interview with Hanson where they spill at least a few beans about what is up next for them.
“Taylor Hanson — who turned 35 on Wednesday — teased that at the beginning of the show, telling the Fansons in front of him that the group was “quietly plotting the rest of our year.” That will include a tour Hanson plans to announce in April, as well as the group’s “next big project” that the brothers were being circumspect about on Thursday. “It’s very musical,” Taylor said. And though Zac said the group is “in the studio right now recording new music,” Taylor added that “we don’t really think about our music under the terms of, like, records anymore. Some of it’s a product of 2018 and some of it is a product of being a band that tries to think about the bigger picture, the idea of long-term, of songs living past your lifetime.”
The song that made Hanson famous, MMMBop, talks of planting and growing things. It seems that however it is presented, that is still the passion of this band.
“Hanson’s 2018 may also include more partnerships with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and, according to Taylor, “making our project an opportunity to talk about the importance of supporting music in every school and in every community. The whole idea of creativity is so important to American culture, so important to our future.” And, Zac, added, “it’s really about our love of seeing music education grow for kids. We all have kids. We started as kids. One of the first things we did as a band was playing in schools. So if we can help that keep going and grow, we want to.”
Creating, planting, growing, supporting, making connections and loving the story that evolves, is the Hanson way. Whether they are at SXSW, on tour or writing songs at home in Tulsa, that way is a fine way to travel.