Interview with Hanson: Looking Into The Future

Hanson (Bryan Johnson)Touring has already brought the Hanson brothers around the world in their careers and now they’re on a mission to go that distance again, but by foot. Continuing this fall is their Walk Around The World tour, where along with fans, they take time before each show to walk a mile to help fight poverty in Africa. They hope to reach a tally of 24,902 miles—the distance around the world.

They have grown up since you may have last heard them back when boy bands ran rampant. Last year saw their fourth studio album released off their own label, 3CG, and a book showing photos of their travels in Africa titled Take The Walk is coming out.

Life has been busy for Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson with making music, partnering with organizations like TOMS Shoes to help provide African children with shoes and still maintaining a home life with their wives and children. Isaac took time to discuss a little about what they’re trying to accomplish, their fans and even, Bono.

You will be releasing a book with an EP accompaniment soon. How are all of your experiences and what you saw in your journeys in Africa translated in them?

One of the things that the EP is all about is not only describing some of the emotional things that are going on, but also to inspire people and give people a little lift. There’s songs like ‘Follow Your Lead’ and ‘Hope It Comes Soon’ that are motivational songs. Then there’s ‘Lay Me Down,’ which is about a very tragic subject that happens all the time in Africa—the thing that no parent wants to ever do is outlive their children. People that are born with HIV and AIDS, only have a three year life expectancy if they are untreated. This song talks about being a dad and trying to address the emotions and the subject and ultimately say that I’m not ready to go through this.

Then does ‘Lay Me Down’ hit home a bit harder for you guys because you all are fathers?

Well of course, having children and having that perspective.

Is it harder to do live then?

In some ways it makes it hard and in other ways it makes it closer to home. The thing that makes it hard is also the thing that makes it important or the thing that makes sense. Because you can only imagine how you would feel if your child you love, was this child. So, it helps to make the song more real. Sometimes it’s feeling something even though you don’t really go through it is as powerful as actually going through it.

How do you feel people can get inspired by the book and not feel overwhelmed by where to start?

First of all, the book comes from a point of view that all of us are having. Which is ‘Where do I start? Is it really an issue that I should deal with?’ No, it’s not necessarily your problem. But at the same time, the other side of it is nothing valuable is ever easy and sometimes a generation of people is called to be great.

Well, it’s somewhat similar to our grandparents who fought the World War. It was their time to prove themselves and luckily they prevailed. And I think in a similar way it’s a challenge for our generation today. Thirty five million people have died from this virus, 70-some-odd percent of cases of HIV/AIDS in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa. And it’s also overwhelming poverty and that’s what creating the problem as well. People aren’t getting educated, people don’t have a way to learn or understand what is going on. Thirty-five million people have died, 14 million kids are orphaned by the virus right now and it’s expected to be 24 million by 2010.