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Hanson evolves from boys to men
Zac Hanson talks about their new album
By Luke Smucker, Assistant A&E Editor

Zac Hanson and his two brothers Isaac and Taylor have been very busy lately. Besides going on a journey to South Africa and Mozambique, the band has also been recording their fourth studio album The Walk on their own record label, 3CG Records. The album, which continues their new found indie music style, is the follow-up to their 2004 album, Underneath. The band is currently touring in support of the new album and is going to play two shows at the House of Blues in Chicago on Sept. 29 and 30.

The Chronicle: You have two shows in Chicago for this tour, is there something you like about Chicago’s fans?

Zac Hanson: Chicago has always been a really good city to us, and we’ve had really good reactions there. So we just have been able to play more shows there than other places. In some ways Chicago, is big city mid-America, and we’re guys from Oklahoma so it’s always received us really well.

When people think Hanson, they think “MMMBop.” Do you ever wish you hadn’t written that song?

Well, no. We’ve had lots of songs that have been popular songs that have done really well. I think that song, more than others, was a combination of something that became cultural and not about music. I think the people you’re talking about, the people that when they think of Hanson they think of “MMMBop,” they’re the type of people who got into Hanson because it became cultural, not because it was music that they heard and then went out and bought the record.

People dance while they listen to music, they sing while they listen to music, they even run while they listen to music. Why did you decide to name your album ‘The Walk’?

There’s a title song on the record called “The Walk” and it came from that song. So much of life is when you conquer your own fear and the decisions people make to either be in the spotlight and try to do something great or stay in the shadows with the crowd. In a lot of ways there were a lot of messages behind that song that represented what we’ve been doing with our label and the choices you make as a band to put yourself out there.

How does the album title relate to your career?

I don’t think anything we’ve been doing has been running. We steadily just take a step forward with every record. We never try to rush to be something we’re not. We’re going to let our music evolve naturally.

With fewer people buying music these days, where does the desire to create new content come from?

If you let yourself think about the fact that you’ve probably not sold enough, you’ll stop making music. You have to believe at some level that whoever steals your record, it’s going to make them a fan. They’ll buy concert tickets or a T-shirt or go buy the next album. You have to believe there’s that kind of effect that will make people want to purchase it.

How do you build a relationship with your fan base?

You have to build the connection more and more so that they know they’re getting something great. They’re going to get something quality. We’re willing to spend six times as much on a lot of things instead of a great song you can listen to for the rest of your life. I think music needs to become a part of people’s everyday life. It can be part of everything you do. Who knows, the music industry is changing so much right now I don’t think anyone’s figured it out yet.