Oh, Brothers!

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The babely Hanson boys are back-and their new sound is anything but boppy.

1 May 2000

By Alyssa Vitrano

It’s been almost three years since Hanson’s happy-pop debut rocketed them from the Middle of Nowhere to the middle of everywhere with smash hits like “MMMBop” and “Where’s the Love?” And This Time Around, they’re wowing everyone with an incredibly accomplished follow-up, out this month. Billboard raves that “This Time Around,” the album’s first single, “will simply make your mouth drop open”-and that’s certainly what’s happening to tons of fans. Here, the blond brothers-Isaac, 19, on guitar, Taylor, 17, on keyboards, and 14-year-old Zac, on drums-spill some family secrets.

YM: So, how does it feel to be back on top?
Taylor: We’ve grown up some and experienced different things. That’s inspired different kinds of songs. Our songs are absolutely still tunes you can remember-and that’s pop music. But it’s also rock ‘n’ roll.
Isaac: We also wanted it to be about not losing your roots, and about connecting to the real soul music that has influenced us.

YM: What do you consider real soul music?
Isaac: Rock from the ’50s and ’60s, like Chuck Berry. What’s so great about musicians from those eras is that they were coming up with something new. Rock’n’ roll first came on the scene and people were like, “Oh my gosh, they’re dancing!” It was an exciting era and everybody was so real. Nobody was telling them what to do.

YM: When your first album came out, the musical landscape was packed with grunge acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. What’s it like being on the charts with all the boy bands now?
Taylor: It’s kind of weird, because the last time we came out, the music scene was much more rock-oriented. Now everything’s gone really pop, and our record is a little more rock ‘n’ roll.

YM: So, do you follow the beat of your won drummer-no pun intended, Zac-on purpose?
Taylor: It’s never been a conscious choice of ours to produce something different. We just act like ourselves and think of music we feel good about.

YM: What kind of process do you guys go through when you write your songs?
Isaac: It’s very much a collaborative effort. It happens in all kinds of different ways, but everybody always gets involved somewhere. Sometimes we’ll just sit down and start playing the guitar or the keyboard, and stuff comes. Most of the time we have active imaginations, so while we aren’t writing songs about things that necessarily happened, they’re still emotions everybody feels. We just start telling a story.

YM: In addition to writing all the music on your album, you invited some cool collaborators, like blues guitarist Jonny Lang, Blues Traveler’s John Popper, and DJ Swamp, to jam with you. How’d you hook up with them?
Taylor: We’re fans of theirs, and I think it really added great texture and flavor to the album. A third party can look at it from a different perspective. When you are producing an album on your own, you can get completely locked in and lose track of what you really are.

YM: What did you guys do after you finished the nonstop touring for your last album?
Zac: We took a break for a couple of months to just chill. We spent some time at home, sleeping 12 hours a day, stuff like that.
YM: No downtime activities?
Zac: We all have dirt bikes. There are a lot of fields in Oklahoma where we ride.

YM: Have you ever gotten hurt?
Zac: Once I hit a rock and my bike flipped. I blacked out and my friend was like, “Dude, are you okay?” I was like, “What just happened?” My shoulder was a little sore, but it’s okay.

YM: In what ways have you changed since the world last saw you?
Zac: My voice is lower and I’m four or five inches taller! My shoe size has changed, like, three sizes.
Taylor: Musically, our songwriting has evolved and our chord structure has changed. We’re growing, and we’re getting better at our instruments.

YM: What’s the most interesting thing about being in a band with your brothers?
Zac: We’ve been together for our whole lives, which helps in decision-making. I think we trust each other a little more than if we were just friends.

YM: How do you deal if the three of you are fighting?
Zac: Well, we’re an odd number, so it’s always two against one. And if you’re that one perosn, you’ve gotta look at the other side a little more, and then you figure out that there’s something stupid about what you’re doing.

YM: And what’s up on the romance front?
Zac: I haven’t found anybody in particular. I don’t think any of us really has a girlfriend right now.

YM: Well, if someone wanted to apply for the position, what qualities would you look for?
Zac: Understanding would be the most important quality in a girlfriend. I might be 14, but I actually have a job!
YM: We understand, Zac!

Source: YM Magazine

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