5 Questions With Nic Hanson

Photography // Nic Hanson by Isaiah Alan
Words by Josh Abraham

You’re from Philadelphia, U.S, what’s the music scene like there?

Philadelphia’s music scene is always changing – it’s a very musical town. Historically there has been a lot of soul music centered there, with people like Gamble & Huff anchoring it in the 70s. When I was growing up Philly played a super integral role in neo-soul music, with artists like Jill Scott, Musiq, The Roots, Bilal, etc. I grew up listening to a lot of that, as well as hip-hop, which has always been a huge part of Philly’s culture. The cool thing about Philly is that it’s very “DIY” – you don’t necessarily need a lot of money to put together an event or concert or project. There are a lot of basement shows/parties, a lot of dope experimental art happening there right now, both visually and musically. The punk scene is also really cool right now.

Listen to Nic Hanson’s “Crush On You” while reading the feature:

Am I right in saying you’ve learnt seven languages? What was the inspiration behind that?

Aww man it’s tough to put a definite number on it but yes, I study and speak a bunch of languages, some much better than others! I really just like communicating with people, and languages have always really fascinated me because when you speak with someone in their language, perhaps particularly as an English speaker, they open up in a different way. It sounds kind of corny but especially in New York, where I live now, there are so many opportunities to practice and study that I always feel like there’s something to work on.

You’ve had a lot of love for soul and gospel music since you were a kid – what was it about those genres that created that love?

I’m not really sure what exactly it was that created that love, but soul was always something that my parents played a lot of, and I heard it everywhere. I think I fell in love with gospel initially because of the sheer energy of it – I don’t think there are many other genres that have the kind of force gospel has. I later learned to appreciate it even more once I started realizing how insane the musicianship of gospel players is. It’s some of the most sophisticated music in terms of theory, and being able to communicate and express it in such a way that anyone can understand it is rare in most art forms. 

How excited are you to jump back into the studio when the pandemic is over?

Oh man I can’t wait! I have still been working a bunch, just writing and getting ideas down at home with a small kind of setup, but what I miss most is being in the studio with different people and feeling that sense of collaboration. Collaborating remotely is cool, but nothing can really take the place of physically being in a room with people – it’s like you can actually feel the creativity in the air. 

Finally, with the current climate in mind, what are you binge-watching right now?

I’m super late on this and I know it’s crazy but I had never seen The Sopranos before! I can’t believe it took me this long to start watching it. I feel like an idiot for never having checked this show out before. It’s all I can think about these days. I love The Sopranos and it is probably my favorite show ever.

More Nic Hanson here