Mmmbopping Back!

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Hanson have matured, they’re better looking and they’ve got a new album

26 May 2004


In 1997, the impossibly young, impossibly cute boy band Hanson chirped their way into our brains with the impossibly catchy hit MmmBop and multi-million-selling album, Middle Of Nowhere. It’s the kind of story — a band of siblings who experience massive popularity at a young age — that usually ends in a rapid slide to obscurity, if not worse. I mean, what’s the likelihood that these boys could grow up without at least one DUI charge or rehab stint?

And yet, here they are seven years later, with a brand new Hanson album, Underneath, released on the brothers’ own record label, and no signs of family dysfunction. In fact, it seems that Hanson have earned the right to be taken seriously as pop songwriters — no mean feat for a grownup boy band.

Taylor, the now impossibly handsome 21-year-old middle Hanson, acknowledges that he and brothers Isaac, 23, and Zac, 18, have beaten the odds in sticking together and getting respect for their work.

“We never had any lack of confidence,” he says, “but let’s face it, most bands that young are not real. We were young and good-looking enough that you wouldn’t assume we would also be talented and know what we wanted. It seems weird, but it’s not.

“We’re just really normal people who care about what we do, and the music we make is what keeps us together. We like what happens when we play together.”

According to Taylor, the only way to deal with the expectations created by an MmmBop is to ignore them.

“You can’t chase your tail, or play to your audience,” he says.

“People that do that usually fail. MmmBop was turned down by 30 labels. People who say they have ears for a hit don’t know what they’re talking about. Audiences respond to passion, and they make a connection with you, I think. And then you have real fans. You never know if they’re going to be there or not, but I believe part of the reason we have devoted fans is that we care about them, because we care about our music. They trust that we’re going to give them something good.”

That kind of confidence helped the brothers bounce back from the record company conflicts that followed their not-quite-so-massive second album, This Time Around, and emerge on their own terms, with their own label.

“Our spirit has always been indie,” Taylor says. “We made three indie albums before we were signed. We were so young when we started that we had to have a very aggressive attitude. Whether it’s the artwork or T-shirts or mixing the album, we’ve always been passionate about it all.

“Over the past 15 years, the big labels have put less and less emphasis on artist relations. And I think when we saw everything changing and all these bands in weird situations with their labels, we realized that this was the time to do what we always wanted — start a record company and put stuff out on our own. What’s really cool about it is that we’re reaching so far — we’re involved with so many labels all over the world. It really has such an amazing spirit behind it. It’s like a rebirth.”

Source: Jam! Showbiz

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