Flash back to 1997 and there I am, 7 years old. My sister and I sit on our shared bunk beds, gazing at our bedroom walls plastered from top to bottom with posters of superstar musictrio,Hanson. Their hit album The Middle of Nowhere is blasting over our portable cassette tape/CD combo player, and we are fighting over who loves Zac Hanson the most.
If you are unfamiliar with Hanson, you were clearly living under a rock for a good portion of the late 90’s/early 2000’s. However, there is no doubt you know their massive 1997 hit MmmBop which had every young female of the time babbling at the top of their lungs over the lyrics that no one could ever seem to figure out. You know the one. ‘Mmm bop break a top, ah doo bop, doo be ah bup doo bop’…
The phone rang, and before the interview had even begun, 7 year old me was already fan-girling all over the place and embarrassing myself. But honestly, how often do you get to interview your child-hood heartthrob? I asked Zac Hanson everything I could want to know about back then, now and what’s next for the brothers.
You wouldn’t believe it, but some 17 years later (and with 11 children between them) Isaac, Taylor, and Zac are still making music and in my opinion, it is better then ever. Having just released their tenth studio album Anthem, Hanson are heading down under for the second time in 2 years for the Australian leg of their Anthem World Tour.
“We have been touring all over the world for this record and now we are coming back to Australia”, says Zac. “It feels good to be coming back so relatively quickly.”
Their adoring fans, myself included, will pile into The Cooly Hotel this August. While the Gold Coast still houses enough long-time loyal fans to keep them coming back so soon, he admitted that their US fans are even more diehard.
“In the US where we tour the most, we will see that people come to 15 to 20 shows on a tour. We have great great, great, great fans, there’s a small portion of crazy fans (laughs), but in general we have the kind of fans that every band wants. So many bands come and go and don’t have that”.
“They (our fans) really care about our music. Each show is a moment that you are sharing together and we try not to take that for granted.”
The new album offers the same Hanson sound that everyone remembers. It’s fun and it’s catchy however there is maturity in their sound and music that Zac says has come from years of songwriting experience, whether it be together or individually.
“Even though you might start the first chord with a personality, the thing each guy brings to the table really changes what the DNA of Hanson is. We never worry about whether we sound like Hanson. We are Hanson. It’s the three of us playing together, and whatever we do, no matter how far we go from square one because we are inspired by something new, we are still going to be Hanson.”
With Anthem tracked almost entirely live in the studio, Zac says that this has quickly become their ‘go to’ recording style over the last few albums.
“We want to share the identity of what it is when the three of us play together. Our live show is a huge part of not just what we think represents us as a band, but also what we want to be as band and we want that to be apart of our records too. The energy is really powerful. It’s something that is more felt than heard.”
While they have fresh songs from the new album to share on the tour, Zac was quick to reassure that crowd favourites from the good old days will sneak their way onto the set list.
“This is the Anthem World Tour, so there will be a lot of Anthem music, but we will go back to old stuff and covers because we know that someone is coming for the first time. We don’t shy away from songs like MmmBop or Where’s the Love because we know what it’s like to be a fan.”
If the new album wasn’t enough, to celebrate their 21st Anniversary as a band Hanson have also released their craft beer MmmHops for their US fans to enjoy at their shows. With the popularity of craft beer rising in America, I realised quickly that MmmHops is certainly not a marketing product. The boys just really love their beer and the culture it brings.
“There is such a great connection between having a great drink and listening to a great band and so we just figured why not complete the whole party package? We’ll bring the music and the beer.”
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Don’t miss the Gold Coast leg of Hanson’s Anthem World Tour at Cooly Hotel on 6 August.