November 17, 2015 Interview – Cody Hanson of Hinder
Life is full of difficult decisions, but sometimes there is no avoiding them. Rising to Rock-n-Roll stardom over a decade ago, American band Hinder attained platinum-selling success with their 2005 debut album Extreme Behavior. Showing they were not a one hit wonder, the band continued to build a name for themselves in the years to follow with hit single after hit single as well as consecutive chart-topping records. Then, to fans surprise, in the Summer of 2013, Vocalist Austin Winkler took a leave of absence from the band to work on overcoming personal issues. Moving along with stand-in vocalist Jared Weeks of Saving Abel fame for the time beginning, it was not before long Hinder had to make the decision to find a permanent vocalist or pack up and go home. Unwilling to let all their hard work be buried six feet under, Hinder enlisted long-time friend and producer Marshal Dutton as their new voice, and in 2015, returned with When The Smoke Clears. Proving they are as strong as ever, Hinder’s latest effort continues to impress listeners as they are set to hit the road for the final month of the year. Recently we caught up with founding member, key songwriter, and drummer Cody Hanson for a personal look a the history of Hinder, their will to carry on, working in the studio, and more.
CrypticRock.com – Hinder has achieved a great deal of success in the past decade or so following the release of your 2005 debut Extreme Behavior. Through all the touring, the hit singles, and the fanfare, like any other band, you’ have had your share of ups and downs. With that said, tell us what this ride has been like?
Cody Hanson – It has been crazy (laughs)! It has been a lot of highs and a lot of lows. It has been very emotional in both directions, that is kind of what life is about. You learn a lot about yourself, and when you are in a band, you learn a lot about your bandmates. You learn who really has your back through thick and thin. It has been good; a learning experience, but great.
CrypticRock.com – Yes, that goes with anything in life regardless of if it is a band or with family members and friends. That is just the way it is. As mentioned, the band has seen its share of tribulations like any other band does. Perhaps the most difficult decision, one would imagine, that the band had to make was moving on without Austin Winkler. After working together for well-over a decade, how hard was it for Hinder to move on?
Cody Hanson – It was very difficult in some ways, emotionally it was really tough on us. Parting ways with a band member is like losing a family member. It had to be done. We got to a point where we knew that if a change was not made, we would not be able to continue. We had to do what was best for ourselves and best for our fans.
CrypticRock.com – It worked out well. You had the stand-in vocalist in Austin’s absence for a little while. Now you have a full-time vocalist in Marshal Dutton taking over. He obviously had previous experience in other bands such as Faktion. What does his addition mean to Hinder?
Cody Hanson – Marshal is one of the most talented and humble guys that I have ever known. He has been a part of our band and family for a very long time. We have worked with him and he has worked about as a producer since the All American Nightmare album. It was a super easy transition. He is one of those guys that is always positive, always happy, and so talented that he just makes our band better every day. It has been a great experience.
CrypticRock.com – That is great to hear. As stated, he has definitely had that experience fronting other bands in the past and also producing. It has been a great fit.
Cody Hanson – Absolutely. It allows us to be more creative and enables to make more music in the future. We are constantly creating music and coming up with new ideas. It is just awesome!
CrypticRock.com – Very positive to hear. Fans had a chance to let Marshall sink in as the new vocalist for a little bit. You hit them with the new record When the Smoke Cleared. It seems to be titled very well, actually. What was the writing and recording process behind this new record?
Cody Hanson – It was very similar to every other record. Marshal and I actually started the writing process out of Nashville. Took a little writing trip, just hooked up with a bunch of guys there that we never worked with before. We all had to kind of mix it up and do something new and fresh. We hung out with a bunch of guys, made some new friends, and wrote some great tunes. We ended up coming back home with five songs after that one. Then the two of us got back down to the studio and finished out the record. It was a pretty great process.
CrypticRock.com – The end result is very good because it is a very solid Rock-n-Roll record from start to finish. As you said, you have had that relationship with Marshal through the years. It was not like he was someone new coming in that you had no familiarity with. With that said, he definitely helped a lot. He co-wrote most of the record with you and produced it with you. Seeing that this is your first studio record in three years, was it difficult to write again? Or were these kind of ideas that were festering for awhile?
Cody Hanson – It was not difficult at all. Marshal and I write together so often anyway. We had a production company that we do here at home. We are constantly writing all kinds of music in all types of different genres for other people. We produce stuff for other people. Anytime we feel like writing a song, it is usually a pretty easy process.
CrypticRock.com – That is good that the creative juices are always flowing. When you first went looking for a new lead singer to fill in and take over for the band, were there talks about bringing Marshall in right away?
Cody Hanson – It is funny, that we always kind of wanted Marshal to be a part of the band. We knew that Marshal was going to be part of our band in some way, whether it was being the lead vocalist, bringing him in as another musician, or whatever it was. It just so happened that when we were doing the search for the lead singer, we never could find that right fit. To come into a band that has been established as long as we have would be difficult for anybody. We were just at a point where we wanted to be happy, we wanted to be around people that we truly cared about. People that truly cared about us and Hinder. Marshal just kind of fit that. I do not know what took us so long to make that decision, but we were very relieved and happy when we did.
CrypticRock.com – Sometimes it takes a little while before you make the right decision. That is great that the band did make that decision. How do you find that the fans have taken to the change?
Cody Hanson – Actually, it has been great, we were not sure what to expect. There is always a handful of people that cannot get past a different vocalist. I think our real fans that are about music and the songs, those people have been great. They want to hear their favorite songs live from the past records and they have really kept an open mind to the new stuff. They really seemed to love it. We really could not be happier.
CrypticRock.com – That is all very positive. Obviously, as you said, there is always going to be a certain group of people which are not going to be satisfied. You cannot do anything about that, it is just the way it is.
Cody Hanson – Absolutely, we have always had that before. We were always one of those bands that it was kind of fun to hate on. It is nothing new to get criticism now.
CrypticRock.com – No one is immune to criticism, we are all used to it, right?
Cody Hanson – Especially now, it is just social media, everybody loves to hide behind the computer screen and talk trash.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely, and it has become worse; it has become so easy for people to do so. What is really something that has stood out for Hinder through all these years is the band crafted some really great Rock-n-Roll tunes. It seems that the Rock-n-Roll genre has so many sub-genres now that Rock has become cloudy. Good music is good music regardless. Although, it seems like Hinder really prides themselves on being a Rock band. Is that true?
Cody Hanson – Yes, absolutely. There is no reason to make things complicated. To be honest, there is no reason to complicate things with different titles. You might as well just be who you are, write the songs you want to write, and put it out for the people to decide if they like it or not. We like to keep things straightforward.
CrypticRock.com – That is what is great about the music, it is very straightforward. It is all about the songs themselves; if it is a well-written songs, that is what matters most.
Cody Hanson – Absolutely, that is the reason we do this! We love to hear people come back and tell us that our music has affected their lives or helped them through a tough time. In order to do that, you write relatable songs. You write music that is simple, straightforward, and about real issues.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly, and everyone can relate to that 100%. When The Smoke Clears was released back in May, you actually just said that you were just in the studio recently. Is there some new Hinder music possibly coming out sooner than later?
Cody Hanson – We are working on a few different things. We actually have an acoustic EP that we finished recording that we may or may not release. We are still working through that. Marshal and I were just talking about it the other day, it is probably time to go ahead and start kicking around ideas. We are about to go out on the road for five weeks now. I imagine we will probably start laying down some ideas before then.
CrypticRock.com – Well that is something to look forward to. As you mentioned you are about to hit the road for five weeks until the end of 2015. How excited are you to end the year on a high note?
Cody Hanson – It is going to be great; we love being on tour. It is kind of where we belong I guess. When we are all together playing music, that is when we are happiest. Hopefully we can take a small recording rig out there and while we have everybody together really get some ideas flowing. It might be a great time for that.
CrypticRock.com – That is cool. Some bands write on the road and some would rather wait until they get home. Do you find it easy to write on the road?
Cody Hanson – It is a little more difficult. When you are out on the road and you wake up, you are thinking about a show, from the time you wake up till you get to the stage. Then, after the stage or after the show, you kind of wind down, have some drinks, and enjoy the night. You never know when an idea might hit you, we are usually prepared. We have done writing and recording on the road in the past, and it worked out ok. Like I said, it is a little more difficult, but it can be done for sure.
CrypticRock.com – Whatever works, and if you have a great idea, then why would you want to let it pass when you have the opportunity to put it down on tape. What are some of your personal music influences yourself?
Cody Hanson – Honestly, I am kind of all over the map. Growing up, I was listening to anything from Metallica to Buddy Holly. I was a big Country fan for many years. I guess that is why there is a lot of story-telling in our songs. I really got into Buddy Holly, Bad Company, George Strait, and Garth Brooks. I was really into Gangsta Rap for a while, like NWA. I am all over the place.
CrypticRock.com – That is great to have such a broad range in taste of music. It is good not to limit yourself.
Cody Hanson – I think it is important. You never know when the writing on one type of music or one of your others influences may pop through and make something a little more interesting.
CrypticRock.com – You do not want to limit yourself, there is something to take from everything. There are certain aspects in different types of music, which are unique to that type of music, that you may find something that you use in a song you write. My last question for you is pertaining to movies because on CrypticRock.com we cover all types of music. We also cover films, particularly Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films, do you have any favorites?
Cody Hanson – I am not a huge Horror movie fan, but I would have to say House of 1,000 Corpses (2003), that one was a pretty good one. It kind of messed with my mind a little bit.
CrypticRock.com – It was a good one, did you enjoy the sequel to that? Did you happen to see The Devils Rejects (2005)?
Cody Hanson – I did, and those are pretty twisted movies, I like them. Another one I recently watched a few months ago that kind of messed with my head was a movie called Chained (2012). I saw it on satellite TV. There were not any big actors in it, it was a pretty twisted plot. The thing that really got to me was that it is something that could totally happen. Those are the scariest types of movies.
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like an interesting film to check out. Do you have a particular type of film that you enjoy?
Cody Hanson – I like Action movies. I liked the Bourne Identity series. I really liked the movie Shooter (2007), that was a really cool movie. I am really into Comedies, my favorite movie of all time is Major League (1989). I do not really find a ton of time to watch movies these days. Any extra time, we are usually down in the studio.