Hanson are 25 years in and they want to be here for many more to come with their upcoming release String Theory.
Hanson are a band that everyone will know when they hear the catchy chorus of the famous “Mmmbop.” Taylor sat down with Loud Hailer to talk about their new project String Theory which will be released this November, backgrounds to a few songs, and just the craft of music. With the help of the amazing David Campbell, Hanson are once again, able to show that they will always be relevant in the music scene. String Theory isn’t just a new composition of their songs, it’s a story, it’s a craft, and way of life and Hanson put every ounce of theirs in this brand new project that Taylor Hanson is kind enough to talk to us about.
LH: How are you doing? The fall is on the horizon and it feels amazing. You’re from Tulsa, right? How’s the weather over there and are you enjoying it?
Taylor: The fall has begun! We are actually in Florida right now. The tour has kind of begun already. We are in Ft. Lauderdale. We have definitely felt the weather change. This is a great season and a lot of times when we are out in the fall, it just feels like tour season and it feels good.
LH: I just want to point out that the feel of this album and the timing of String Theory’s release, it just felt like the perfect time of year to release it.
Taylor: Right! I totally agree.
LH: That probably wasn’t a coincidence right?
Taylor: (Laughs) You know, I think it feels a little more like a fall project rather than the summer for sure. It really goes back to several different things. Last year we had a real extensive world tour as it was for the anniversary of playing for 25 years. It was just enough time between that and this to let people breath and be excited about something new. It’s great to have it coming out at the end of the year because most people are getting nuzzled in to their routines after summer. It’s also kind of cool because the project picks up where we left musically on the last record. It really carries a narrative about our whole career and it incorporates older music with brand new music in the context of this really new work. String Theory project is that, it’s new arrangements, completely new pieces of music, but it lets a little bit of our history squeeze in there. We have really been trying hard to communicate the reason that we are still together and doing what we do is because each time we come out on a new day, new tour, it’s really about making music that we are excited about and projects we are really excited about. That is what makes us tick. It’s never been about rockstar status, but we’ve been blessed with connections and an audience and getting to do it all the time. It felt like a new season for the band, to do something really different, really musical, and for us just something inspired. It’s really special to be responded to the way we have playing in all the places we have played. We get to play with a beautiful orchestra too. It’s a total treat for us.
LR: One thing I’d love to touch on with String Theory is the idea of revisiting songs that you may not have played live and just going back and tweaking some good memories.
Taylor: That’s a really good question! There are several different things. One of the coolest things about this project is putting songs that are known and songs that are unknown and putting them right next to each other and when you watch the show, the audience always has certain songs they know. So, they respond a little differently to it, but when you put them together everything is fresh and everything is new. It’s about the commitment to have with a song that was just written. There are songs that stand out. There are songs from the very first record that are in the show. “Yearbook” which originally had an orchestra on it just comes to life, like full spectrum. That was really fun. There is a song that we rarely play. It’s moody and it just fits for that, it’s right for this show. A little background on the song is that it is full orchestration on it. We wanted to make it as triumphant and moody as possible. That song always felt like it was for this show. Some of the older songs, “Mmmbop” is in this show and people know us mostly for that song and it’s the most dominate song, obviously, in our history and what’s cool about that one, as an example, is that we brought that one back to its core on this show. Us with an acoustic guitar wrapped in a symphony. We sort of tell this building story through the project. That song was always written as kind of a campfire song like almost a melancholy song believe it or not and it really brings what we are saying into focus on the verses. It has just been a joy to do it because the fans know the quality of the songs that people have really been invested. There is a lot of the old and the new and they’ve all had challenges and have gotten some bright spots to them.
LH: You guys are music nerds. I feel like String Theory has to resonate with you guys quite a bit. Being family oriented and playing with a group of brothers, that probably had an impact on you guys because you were always able to collaborate as a team. Do you think having a bond with your band and family helped you collaborate with others on projects like this one?
Taylor: That’s a really good point! We have always collaborated within our own band. We are the writers, the players, and the singers. We are very connected with the music from top to bottom. So, yeah I think it does prepare us to collaborate with others well. For one, to do anything well you have to buckle down because there is work involved. A lot of artists shy away from stepping out of their comfort zone and for us we know what we are best at, but we have always tried to go the other way like this project. We always wonder “will we be better at this or will we be the same?” There’s no question that after this whole project and just by having to do it and play these songs every night is just really amazing because everyone is reading a chart and everyone is playing an exact part. You have to be at your best. You can’t just play a bar or a beat because everyone else is going to follow what’s on their chart and what they walked in with that day.
LH: Was there ever a moment in the making of this project that you just wanted to sit back and enjoy the power that the orchestra brought to the good tunes?
Taylor: Oh absolutely! We comment at each other about getting choked up. Especially on the first show we played, you turn to the left and turn to the right and see that there is an entire symphony with you.
LH: If you had to give one message that you want fans to gather from String Theory, what would that be?
Taylor: Two things: One is, this is music dedicated to the love of the craft. We are still here and hope to still be here many years from now because music is healing and it is transcendent. It crosses barriers. We are playing music for people in China, Brazil, Australia, UK, and all over the US. Music moves people and it moves us. We just want people to come in ready to enjoy a pure musical experience. The second part, which is the story, it is kind of almost a play. What it’s talking about is, reaching for something that seems impossible. You’re going to face challenges and any journey means you’re going to face highs and lows. In this experience of life, those struggles and those pains are what is required of living a full life. It’s worth aspiring to something because that’s really where life is rigid. By the end of the show, we summarize by saying “Tonight is all you have, tomorrow is all you have, and the future”. What’s come before it’s who you are, but the struggle is a part of doing anything great.
String Theory is set for release on November 9.