Recently I was given the opportunity to chat with Cody Hanson the drummer from Hinder. As we are about to find out, he is so much more than just a drummer…
ToddStar: Hey Cody, how are you doing today?
Cody: I’m doing good thanks.
ToddStar: Good, good. Well first off let me thank you man, we really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule for us here at 100% Rock.
Cody: Yeah man, thank you, appreciate it.
ToddStar: We love Hinder. We love everything you guys have done, but we really love the new album, Welcome to the Freakshow, that dropped last December. It’s still the new album because you are still getting a lot of road time out of it and stuff, but what can you tell us about the album that somebody might not know listening to it once or twice?
Cody: I don’t know, that’s a very good question. This album was really cool for me, you know, because I got a chance to be a co-producer on it, along with Marshall Dutton and the two of us started a production company a while back, after doing All American Nightmare called Back Lounge Productions, and so this is the first Hinder album that we’ve been able to do as a company. So for me it’s pretty special.
ToddStar: Very cool. Going through and listening to the songs, some of them are so strong, I mean you’ve got the opener, “Save Me,” which is a rocker out of the gate. One of my personal favorites, “Ladies Come First,” which is just dripping with that sexuality that Hinder is known for. Are there any songs that you’re finding yourself going back to and saying ‘Yep, that’s a great song’?
Cody: Yeah, actually, my favorite from the album right now is our next single, called “Should Have Known Better.” Yeah I can go back and listen to that song, I love that.
ToddStar: Okay. You guys did a little touring ahead of the album, the Bare Bones Tour, how did that thing come to be, and any plans to do that again?
Cody: Um, yeah, that was just something that we’d always wanted to do and we never had the chance. So we found ourselves with a big gap in our schedule and we weren’t really booking full shows, so we wanted to go out and kind of give the fans a chance to hear some of the new material, kind of stripped down and bare. Kind of how it was written. Yeah, just so they could really focus on the song itself. And it gave us a good warm up chance to get to learn how to play all the material live. It was just something we always wanted to do and we were lucky to get the chance to do it. We had a blast too, it was a lot of fun. So I think we are definitely going to plan to do some more stuff.
ToddStar: Cool. Another thing I thought about, because I was able to witness a show here in Detroit at the Hard Rock, is not only was it a stripped back approach, but it put you guys a lot closer. You guys play the Machine Shop and things like that, and you’re right down there with the audience, but this really put you almost in the mix. Did it feel different on stage being in that intimate setting?
Cody: Yeah, it was completely different. It was almost like you could just have a conversation with people in the audience. It was really awesome actually. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we loved it.
ToddStar: Are there any songs you think looking back, these sound better acoustic than they do with the amps cranked?
Cody: I think a lot of them actually. I can’t really pick which.
ToddStar: Again, the album’s been out a little while. Are there songs that you’re thinking, again you’ve got a favorite which is the upcoming single, Should Have Known Better, are there any that you may be done something different with from a production stand point, maybe wished it had come out a little different than it did?
Cody: No, not really. There’s one song, Anyone But You, that is a really broken down song, and Marshall and I discussed taking that song a few different directions. So I think it definitely could have gone in a different direction, but I definitely don’t wish that it would’ve. I think the song is a great song regardless. A good song can go in a million different directions and still be a good song.
ToddStar: Well listening to the catalog, and I’ve been a fan since the beginning, sonically you guys are the same from album to album. You’re so consistent, but you’re getting some growth. Is that something you pick up on when you guys are writing or playing together, you see that growth, even twelve years into this?
Cody: Yeah, it’s something that I guess we are a little aware of. But it’s so natural, it just kind of happens. You do something for a long period of time you tend to get a little bit better at it. So you know, we’re sort of, kind of aware of it I guess.
ToddStar: It’s a weird position with you in the band, you write so much of the material, not something you often see from a drummer in a band typically. Is that something you enjoy? If you had to pick something would you rather write or perform, from a personal stand point?
Cody: Definitely I would rather write than perform. Writing to me is, I don’t know, it’s a good creative relief I guess, more than anything. I still get nervous. Writing and producing is what I really love to do.
ToddStar: And you’ve written a bulk of material with the Warren brothers. How did you guys get hooked up with them?
Cody: For All American Nightmare we were just kind of trying to branch out and go and write with, you know, as many people as we could, and as soon as we hooked up with those guys it was just an amazing chemistry. We’d just pop out songs so fast and so easy, and it’s so much fun. I don’t know, it just kind of worked out. So with that album and this one the majority of the songs were written with those guys. I don’t think we’ll ever stop writing with them, they’re incredible. We were pretty lucky to have stumbled upon that relationship.
ToddStar: Cool. You also wrote with one of my favorites, going back to 1987, Richard Marx. That’s not a name you would align Hinder with. How did that come about?
Cody: We were in Nashville making the rounds, like I said, writing with another one of our favorites Josh Kear, and he just happened to be in the session. He goes around Nashville and does a lot of co-writes. Yeah, but that was a trip man. It was awesome to write with him. He’s a super talented guy. Just to sit in a room and listen to him sing as he writes is really impressive.
ToddStar: Now you can say you’ve written with a co-writer of an N-Sync song.
Cody: Yeah, I guess!
ToddStar: Again, something else no one would align with Hinder. So you guys are hitting the road, you’re doing some dates. I can’t wait to see you here, as I mentioned, at the Machine Shop. Can’t wait to see you in a couple weeks at The Shop. You guys are getting ready to load up a big summer full of dates, or…?
Cody: Yeah we have several big fairs, festival type dates booked. So now we’re just kind of looking to fill in the holes.
ToddStar: You guys thinking next album yet, or is it still too close?
Cody: Yeah, it’s still way too early to tell. We’re not really sure what’s going to happen. We’re getting ready to release our second single, “Should Have Known Better,” so yeah. A lot of stuff is riding on that. It kind of depends what happens with the single.
ToddStar: Other than your own music, Cody, what’s the last CD or MP3 you listened to?
Cody: Oh man, that’s a good question. I don’t know, I don’t really listen to much outside of country music these days. When I’m at home I listen to country radio more than anything. I don’t really listen to much just because I’m constantly writing music and producing music in the studio at home. So it’s more just stuff that we’ve written.
ToddStar: Speaking of the country part, I’m a rocker, but the number one button on my Sirius is The Highway, actually. So…
Cody: Oh really?
ToddStar: I’m really digging the new Luke Bryan Spring Break album.
Cody: Yeah, he’s good.
ToddStar: Okay, it takes a long time to figure things out and figure out where you’re going, but again, like I said, Hinder has kind of stayed the path, stayed true to the songs now, other than some growth, Hinder today sounds like Hinder ten years ago. What has been the secret to not letting a studio or a label twist you guys and create you into something you’re not?
Cody: Just having the balls to stand up to them to be honest. They’re always trying to get us to do something, to go in some direction that we don’t want to go. But you know, we are who we are, and we’re not going to change that for anybody.
ToddStar: Well Cody, again, you love to write. If there was one piece of music in the history of time that you wish you could say you had a hand in writing, what would it be?
Cody: Oh that’s so difficult to answer. There are a lot, a lot of songs. There is a Jamey Johnson song called “In Color,” and I think that song is incredible. I wish I had written that song I think.
ToddStar: Who made you want to pick up a set of sticks and beat the shit out of a drum?
Cody: You know it wasn’t ever really one guy, I don’t think, that I would look up to as a drummer, but every time I would go to a show as a kid I would find myself staring at the drummer. I don’t know. They were just really impressive to me.
ToddStar: Okay, I’ve got two more for you if you don’t mind, and I’ll let you get back to the rest of your day. First, what happened to the big mane? We were so used to seeing just that big puff of red hair behind the kit, and on the Bare Bones tour you went short?
Cody: Yeah, I don’t know, it was just time to make a change. I was tired of having to wash it a couple of times a day just to fix it up. It was like an hour out of my day. It was time to get rid of it.
ToddStar: Cool, I can appreciate that. And the final question for you today, what’s the meaning of life?
Cody: The meaning of life? Wow… I’d say just to be good, you know, and grow as a person, as a soul. Just always better yourself and be kind and good to other people.
ToddStar: Cool, great answer. Well other than the website and the Facebook, is there anything else you would like us to point the fans to, any other websites or causes you’d like to bring up?
Cody: No, just check us out on the Facebook, I guess, and if you don’t have the album Welcome to the Freakshow, go check it out.
ToddStar: Certainly. Go to Amazon, and if you go to Best Buy you even get the bonus tracks.
Cody: That’s right.
ToddStar: Awesome, again, good luck on the stretch of road dates you’ve got coming up, and we’ll see you at the Machine Shop in Flint on the 25th, and until then have a good one.
Cody: Thanks buddy, you too.
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