Published on December 11th, 2017 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Isaac Hanson On Hanson’s Collaborations With Other Songwriters, Favorite New Albums, And Upcoming Touring
With over 16 million records sold worldwide of their 8 Top 40-charting albums, the members of Hanson have been a big deal for over 20 years. In addition to a new album every few years and at least one sold-out tour nearly every year, the Hanson brothers have kept busy with a variety of projects. In 2013, Hanson launched a beer in collaboration with Mustang Brewing under the name “Mmmhops.” Mmmhops — which won a gold metal at 2013’s World Beer Championships — led to the creation of the Hop Jam Craft Beer and Music Festival in the band’s hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The group has been part of numerous philanthropic efforts, including a high-profile 2007 collaboration with TOMS Shoes. Singer/keyboardist Taylor was part of the supergroup Tinted Windows alongside members of Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins and Fountains Of Wayne. Other projects have been done over the years related to Katy Perry, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Blues Traveler, and Owl City.
Late 2017 finds the trio of Taylor, Zac and Isaac Hanson touring in support of their new Christmas album, Finally, It’s Christmas, their second holiday full-length. The dates of Finally, It’s Christmas Live kicked off on November 24th at Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre and wrap with a December 10th show at Manchester, England’s O2 Ritz. I spoke with Isaac Hanson by phone, and below are some of the highlights. More on all things Hanson can be found online at www.hanson.net.
I’ve heard that Hanson holds songwriter camps where you invite songwriters to record at your compound. Do you guys still do that?
Isaac Hanson: We didn’t do it last year, but we have done it other years, and we should be doing in the beginning of this coming year as well. This last year was really busy in the beginning part of the year, which is when we normally and we just couldn’t, there was a little bit more than we could bite off.
But yes, we have consistently done, going back to our very first record Middle Of Nowhere. We have had the pleasure of working with some really wonderful and talented people along the way. As a young band you do the obvious thing, which is you write and record your own stuff and you collaborate with each other. We also had the opportunity on that first record, excluding songs like “MMMBop” and “Thinking Of You” and “With You In Your Dreams,” which were songs that we had written ourselves. We also had a chance to work with people like Mark Hudson who, very famously worked with Aerosmith on songs like “Living On The Edge.”
I have had the pleasure of interviewing Mark, yeah.
Isaac Hanson: He is a great musician and a good friend… In fact we worked with him on our latest Christmas record which is coming out on October 27th, which obviously is a little early but that is just the nature of Christmas records; getting them out in the market before Christmas season actually starts. So we worked with Mark, and people like Desmond Child, who we wrote our song “Weird” with, who is a fantastic songwriter, countless massive hits. We kind of were introduced to collaboration with other songwriters in a very kind of constructive and fun environment.
We have also over the years kind of done a variety of different gatherings where artists and songwriters likely kind of get-together. Shall we say, high-speed high-pressure songwriting? It is really fun, and we said to ourselves, “You know what will be really fun is if actually we just got all of our friends together and did this?” And so we have done that for 10 years and it has produced a handful of songs on our records as well as on other people’s records. But more than anything it has just been about getting friends together and being creative for the sake of being creative.
I think that over the next few years you will see a lot more about that because we have got a very large back catalog of what I will consider to be really high-quality, really fun music, and really diverse interesting stuff that I hope in the near future will really get its day in the sun.
When you are not busy with music or craft beer, what do you like to do as hobby or with your free time?
Isaac Hanson: I would say I am a reader, that is probably the thing that I spend most kind of free time doing, besides quality time with kids or friends or things like that. That is probably the thing I spend the most time doing besides music. I tend to like psychology, philosophy, and kind of shall we say marketing strategy-type books. I am not much of a fiction reader, even though, I think it is maybe just the creative nature of my brain. I tend to see or like things that are a little bit more analytical because I spend so much time doing the kind of more creative things, if you know what I mean.
Aside from your Christmas album, do you have a favorite album of 2017?
Isaac Hanson: Oh, do I have a favorite album of 2017? I wouldn’t say a favorite, give me just one second, I am trying to remember what year this record came out… I don’t want to inaccurately tell you a record that came out at the end of last year or something like that… Well, one of my favorites of the last year is a record by rayLand Baxter and the record is called Imaginary Man. That is a really great record, a classic singer/songwriter, kind of reminds me a little bit of James Taylor in a certain way.
And then also another friend too released a fantastic record. He makes very retro-kind-of-sounding records, stuff that is kind of very late 50s or early 60s-inspired but it is just a really great, he is guy named JD McPherson. He released a record just about a month ago called Undivided Heart, and it is really great. That is a few good records.
So, in closing, Isaac, any last words for the kids?
Isaac Hanson: Well, gosh, I don’t know, I don’t know how to quite answer that question. We are really excited about our new Christmas record, it is going to be a lot of fun. It is called Finally, It’s Christmas and it is kind of a rock & roll party Christmas record. I think it has a nice balance of sentimental stuff as well as good old rock & roll stuff that kind of gets the party going.
Honestly among other things, we have had a fantastic tour this year. The tour so far has just been absolutely stellar, the fans that have come out to see have been just really fun. We couldn’t be more grateful to all the folks that have come out and sung and clapped and jumped and everything with us at the shows. We plan to being out on the road next year hopefully with some more new music and a lot more fun.Tweet