An interview with the dreamy one, Taylor Hanson
by Monte Holman
The eyebrows are back! Former boy sensations, Hanson, are storming the music industry with the passion of proselytizers for the cause of independent music. A struggle to survive in the pick-of-the-day major label system in which bands are discarded like non-recyclable take-out boxes drove Hanson to drop Geffen and start their own label. They now fervently preach the Good News of independence.
But their Starbuckian jargon sounds awfully suspicious. Discussing the band using terms like entrepreneurship, brands, markets and models seems to transplant the evil concerns of the big labels into a new setting. An increasing familiar setting in which indie bands capitalize off the OC and Target.
Thing is, Hanson are likable kids, er, young adults, who obviously love music but grew up under the thumbs of soul-sucking record execs. It’s impossible to stoop to the usual cynicism directed toward commercial bands when these three brothers are trying so earnestly to do something about it. Like really earnestly, man. So their upcoming album, The Best of Hanson, Live and Electric (3CG), may not be your cup of tea. But I’ll be damned if you could talk shit about these guys after hearing them out for a few minutes.
We were recently offered the opportunity to speak with Taylor. The dreamy one. How could we refuse? Via phone, Taylor explained the band’s philosophy, which when his awkward industry lingo was boiled away, amounted to keeping two things sacred: the music and the fans.
Hanson is Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson.
FREEwilliamsburg: The title of the new record is The Best of Hanson, Live and Electric. Why go with a “best of” at this point? What spurred the desire to put out a live album?
Taylor: It’s become really trendy to put out a “greatest hits” or “best of” too early. It’s spawned by a major label idea to try to put out hits. But for us, it’s more about the “live and electric” part. And it’s a “best of” because when you play shows and you’ve been a band for like 13 years and have released multiple albums, you’ve got a certain amount of songs that are the best of songs, the ones people know and react to live. It’s not as much a greatest hits package as a reinterpretation of what we’ve done for the last decade or so. It’s about framing who we’ve always been.