MmmBack: Hanson promotes independent music, record labels at OSU

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Tulsa-based group Hanson promoted independent music and record labels during its visit to Stillwater on Tuesday.

11 October 2005

By Evan Black

“We are here to start the conversation about supporting music and independent labels in a time when it’s vitally important,” Zac Hanson, the youngest brother, said.

Hanson was at OSU to hold a screening of its new documentary in the Student Union Theater. The documentary, “Strong Enough to Break”, is a self-produced documentary that captures the creative music process of the band. The band said the ultimate goal of its visit was to empower and educate their peers about independent labels and the struggles many bands go through today.

Oklahoma State University is one of many college campuses Hanson is scheduled to visit this fall. The documentary will be shown at about 25 college campuses in conjunction with its “Live and Electric” tour as well as its opening band contest. Taylor Hanson said the documentary is being shown in the United States and in theaters in Europe and Mexico.

The band’s “Live and Electric” CD and DVD were available in stores Tuesday. The documentary will release as a DVD, but no release date is scheduled. Taylor Hanson said the documentary shows the band’s struggles with becoming independent.

The brothers have worked on a project to help other independent artists get started. The band said they view themselves as founding fathers in the creation of the “Are You Listening?” Web site, which is a community-based site that allows people to hear independent music.

The band has made two long-form videos in its career, and was approached in 2001 to make this documentary. In the beginning, Isaac said there was no target audience or overall vision for the documentary.

“We wanted people to see how intense the studio process was for the band,” Taylor Hanson said. “We thought it would be us versus each other and turned into us versus them, major record labels.”

A contest to find an opening band for Hanson is taking place at each university showing the documentary screenings. Local independent bands are encouraged to enter the contest by submitting MP3s, band information and band photos to or Three finalists at each university will be chosen, and local fans can vote online for their favorite band to open for Hanson.

Isaac said word of mouth is just as important as air play and that’s why the Web site and the open band contest is important for active music fans. OSU students can submit their band information and if they win the contest, they will open for Hanson Nov. 23 at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, which will conclude Hanson’s fall tour.

Stillwater Radio, Student Union Activities Board, Cain’s Ballroom and Stillwater Scene Magazine sponsored the documentary screening.

“The sponsors were really excited about the turnout for Hanson; the Student Union Little Theater was full,” said Danielle Toussiant, event coordinator for the “Strong Enough to Break” screening. “OSU students were really excited and a lot of people came to the three-song acoustical set as well as the screening. We can’t wait for them to come back again.”

Students who attended the screening and filled out a survey about the documentary received a free “Underneath” Hanson CD.

Source: The Daily O’Collegian

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