Interview: New Politics’ Søren Hansen opens up about his first guitar experience, the new album and songwriting

New Politics members Søren Hansen, David Boyd and Louis Vecchio have long established themselves as leaders in the rock world. Nearly a decade ago, the way the group began mixing punk, rock, pop and electronica, really helped redefine what the art of blending genres was all about. In October, the Danish rock band finally released the highly anticipated, Lost In Translation, and then followed it with news of an upcoming tour.

“The inspiration behind the album was to have fun, not overthink and overcomplicate things. We wanted to write an album where every song meant something and was about something personal,” Søren Hansen recently shared with AXS. Hansen is well known for his ability to master many instruments. On top of being a strong vocalist and incredible guitarist, he also plays the piano and the ukulele.

He recalled his first guitar experience and what it was like picking up a Fender. “My first guitar was a sunburst Mexican Jazzmaster. To be honest, I was clueless when it came to guitars. I didn’t even know what the knobs and switches did, but I just loved the way they looked. Even before New Politics was a real thing, Fender supported me because they saw the potential and that goes a very long way.”

These days, Hansen takes a special liking to their ukuleles. “I’ve always had an obsession with expressing the beauty in sadness and no chord, in my opinion, does that better than a major sixth chord. The standard tuning of a ukulele is, in theory, a C major six, so pretty much everything you do sounds very emotional. That makes it harmonically inspiring to write songs on a uke,” he explained.

“I believe you write the best songs when you don’t think about trying to write a song,” Hansen added. “It is easy to pick up a ukulele and noodle around - even if you’re just on the couch. It’s a very unique instrument with a very unique sound, and I am really excited about it becoming so popular. Also, it is not too difficult to play and the learning curve isn’t anywhere near as steep as most other instruments. That makes it great for new musicians, too.”

With new musicians emerging every day, Hansen says it can be hard living in a world where everyone is trying to fit in. “Social media constantly makes us compare who we are with others who are prettier, more successful, wealthier and all that. It’s probably always been like that but I think now, more than ever, we look to art for some sort of answers to where we belong. It really helps with understanding and accepting yourself when you know that you’re not alone with your feelings - we all share the same struggles. All of us. Music has a beautiful way of making you feel something and I think what we really need now is honest songs telling honest stories about how life really is.”

Honesty is exactly what New Politics brings to their latest work. It took them two years to create Lost In Translation. Hansen says he’s proud of all of the songs on the album. He conveyed that as both a writer and a listener, his personal favorite changes all the time. “Right now, I would say it is the song ‘Madeleine’ because it is an honest story about a real person I know and care about.”

“It is very easy to tell yourself ‘I can’t do that, this is too simple or this is too complicated,’ so it actually takes courage for me to write about the simplest thing - something real,” he expressed. “You are always subject to judgment from others but if you are writing about personal stuff and people don’t like what they hear, it hits a little harder because there is a bit of your soul at stake. That is equally exciting and terrifying.”

As 2017 comes to an end, the band has a few more shows lined up. They also recently announced they’ll be going on tour next year. “What I want our fans to see on the tour is how much we appreciate them,” Søren tells AXS. “I don’t think we have ever been more excited for a headline tour and I hope new and old fans are going to feel that.”

Grab tickets to upcoming New Politics show, including a stop at the Ogden Theatre in Denver right here on AXS.