Latest posts ‘Hayley’
Hayley is currently at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA. She will be attending a private party hosted by the NYLON Magazine and Hugo Boss. We have a few pictures of her at the festival, more will pop up soon!
Nylon April issue cover star/Paramore frontwoman (Williams) hosts as the magazine and luxury fashion brand present private party to celebrate the annual music festival. Others perform. Strictly invitation only.
The Tennessee pop-punk band Paramore, fronted by Hayley Williams, is attempting a reintroduction. It has to. Its self-titled fourth album, just released on Fueled by Ramen, follows two years of turmoil in which the brothers Josh and Zac Farro, the nine-year-old band’s founding guitarist and drummer, quit. On his blog Josh Farro called Paramore “a manufactured product of a major label” and accused Ms. Williams of hogging the spotlight. She stood up for her band and its authenticity on MTV. (Zac Farro later said his brother had regrets about the post.)
Now the remaining members — Ms. Williams, the Tang-haired singer and songwriter; the guitarist and songwriter Taylor York; and the bassist Jeremy Davis — have regrouped as a trio, working with the producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who has recorded with Beck and M83. “He let us be the band that we needed to be, and kind of weather our own storms,” Ms. Williams said. “And we found when we pushed ourselves and were a little bit less afraid of our influences as musicians, the boundaries were a lot farther.”
“If you haven’t heard any Paramore albums,” she added, “start with this one and not the first one.”
In the last year Ms. Williams, 24, also moved away from home in Nashville, renting an apartment in Los Angeles, partly so she can be closer to her boyfriend, Chad Gilbert, guitarist of the rock band New Found Glory. But she’s eager to be on the road again, even on the smaller stages where she began.
“Obviously it wasn’t roses going in a van for a lot of years; it was hard work,” she said. “I remember my butt just being numb all the time from just sitting in the van. But I’m a supernostalgic person. It’s an old energy that’s really great to feel.”
She spoke with Melena Ryzik from a tour stop in London, about the near-split and a family run-in with Elvis Presley. These are excerpts from the conversation.
How was writing without Josh and Zac?
We started writing, and we were doing things that we had done before, and it was so boring. There was no inspiration. I remember bringing Taylor a random melody that I had saved in my voice memos, and we turned it into this song called “True.” And it was like, this kind of sounds like Paramore. We had 23 songs that all sounded like they came from different parents. We’re two men down, and something unpredicted [had to happen].
What do you listen to for inspiration?
I usually like a lot of older music. If I’m listening to a new hit band, it’s because of Taylor. I’m not really a Pitchfork [the music Web site] sort of gal. I was listening to the Shirelles and the Angels, who are my favorites, and even Blondie and the Ramones and that period of punk rock. They were writing pop songs, but they were played by punk bands. Every day in the car it was like, why can’t I play “Heart of Glass”? We finally wrote a song called “Daydreaming,” which is a total rip of “Dreaming” by Blondie, because I couldn’t think of a better title.
How did you deal with the band splintering?
I was trying superhard to deny it for a while. The first song we demo’d was “Proof,” a love song. I just wanted to go completely away from the situation. I realized that all three of us were dealing with it. We realized very quickly that we each needed each other to pull through. I was trying to be intentional about not being bitter and not being angry, but using the hope that I felt that we did have a future, as a fuel, and to light me up from the inside.
Did you grow up a lot in this period?
It catapulted me into adulthood. Everything that happened, starting with those guys leaving the band. It was the final break from that “Goonies” theme that I had as a kid: We were going to be a band, it was going to be called Paramore, and we were going to go out in the world and take it over. I related to that story line of the Lost Boys. I look back on it now, and it’s like, would I ever have grown up if I were following this broken-down dream that I had? I look at pictures of us from three months after the split happened, and I’m like, we look like babies. And now I look at pictures, and I’m like, Taylor looks like a man. I don’t know if I look older, but I feel older. You have a choice: You let it make you bitter and tarnish you, or it polishes you into something more refined.
You have a powerful style as a frontwoman. Do you have any performance role models?
Growing up watching a lot of heavier bands play, some hardcore bands and some metal-y bands, I liked that energy — singers like Josh Scogin of Norma Jean. Now I look at people like Freddie Mercury, and I’m like, how can one person do that? Karen O I think is rad. I’m very inspired by even Elvis. I kind of grew up on him. My granddad, his aunt or great-aunt, she took Elvis in when his mom died. My granddad was completely obsessed. He has a whole curio of Elvis memorabilia. I remember YouTubing Elvis and Johnny Cash when I couldn’t sleep. How cool would it have been to play shows like that? It takes a lot to grow up in a time where people aren’t shaking their hips on TV and then have the audacity to do it.
What do you think of being called emo?
At 16, 17, I hated it. Now I’m 24, I’m trying to bring it back. Emo for me, growing up, was bands like Sunny Day Real Estate. Most of those bands were gone by the time I got ahold of their records. I just think of it as emotional, and I want to write emotional music. I say, let’s bring it back.
Let’s get one thing out of the way now: Paramore is a trio that, despite all odds (line-up changes, highly publicized rumors of inner-circle turmoil), will likely persevere. And it’s because they are constantly finding new ways to elevate their sound: from the teen-punk angst of their 2007 breakthrough Riot! to folkier terrain on 2009′s Brand New Eyes to, well, now. Leading the charge is Paramore’s tenacious, citrus-haired 24-year-old frontwoman, Hayley Williams. Their new self-titled album is out now, and let’s just say it bears the mark of tenacity I just mentioned. I got the chance to catch Hayley a month ago while she was en route to South by Southwest, where she and the guys would be performing along the likes of Tegan & Sara and newcomers Kitten and Twenty One Pilots. We chatted about life on the road, girl power, and of course, Hayley’s pop culture obsessions. Tune in!
As a band, you’ve been through a lot of changes in your career and you’ve all experienced success from a young age. What holds you together?
Hayley: One of the only constants in our lives has been the three of us. This process of making this new album was really a test of patience with ourselves and endurance as artists. It was quite telling; by the end of it, I felt like we’d won some marathon. It was tough, but it was worth it.
And what’s the first single “Now” about?
Hayley: “Now” was the first song we worked on where I could see where we were going. It was as if we’d turned a corner and could ultimately see the light at the end of the tunnel. The song gave me a lot of strength as a person and as a writer because I was kind of forcing myself to believe in something before I could actually see it. It was an important message for myself, really, but it’s a great song to kick off the record. This message is the first thing we’re telling fans about our new album.
I know you are usually at the helm of writing lyrics. When you were writing this album, did you feel more inspired by real-life events or stories of other people?
Hayley: I always write from personal experience or things that I see. I don’t ever try to write about things I don’t know. If asked, I want to speak from a place of knowledge and experience. Or at the very least, I’m learning and I’m interested. This album really reflects where the guys and I have been lately. It’s one of the happiest things we’ve ever been a part of. The sound is a lot more upbeat this time around. I don’t think our fans have gotten to hear this side of us, where not everything is so heavy and so detrimental.
You’ve always had an honest relationship with your fans and have been vocal in the past about how success can affect people. How do you maintain this especially when you’re young and in the spotlight?
Hayley: Having friends around us all the time. On a good year, we’re on tour all the time, so we’re not around family as much. Family’s such an important part of keeping my feet as firmly planted in the ground as possible. Our crew is like family. We’ve had the same crew since Riot!. It’s an accountability thing, too. If I came in and acted like a total diva, someone would put me in check. Even if they were too nice to do it, I have to remember that these are my friends. And you know what else? I don’t feel like a person people see on MTV. I wake up inside of my own skin everyday, and I have just as many self-esteem issues as any other girl my age. I don’t feel not normal. I have lived this life, and this is normal for me.
You’re based in Nashville. (Any Taylor Swift run-ins there?) What do you think the difference is there versus say, New York or Los Angeles?
Hayley: Growing up in Nashville has a huge effect on who we are. I spent quite a lot of time in L.A.—lots of friends there, my boyfriend’s there too. But I’m not one who goes out to Hollywood theme parties. It feels like Nashville to me because I stay in my little bubble of friends. But Nashville’s still a small town for me, even though it’s growing, and it’s increasingly known as a music capital. We run into people all of the time that we know. Even those we don’t, who are migrating to Nashville to start their music careers, we form fast friendships with them. It feels like a kinship. L.A. and New York have their reputations, but at the end of the day, I’m still a Southern girl, and I’m like, this is where I grew up. Oh! And I don’t see Taylor Swift as much, but sometimes when I’m just lounging at the movies, I see Brad Paisley and his wife.
I have to ask: Have you seen the show Nashville?
Hayley: I’ve only watched the first two episodes, and it’s crazy to see all these bars and places you recognize that are landmarks or places where you regularly hang out with friends. I’m used to seeing Orange County replicas on TV. And Sex in the City is clearly New York City. So I think this show is refreshing—it represents the city well from the little I’ve seen, especially the country music business, which of course is a huge part of Nashville.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you on the road?
Hayley: We were in Tokyo and went to this Korean BBQ restaurant in our sweatpants. They had the open flames and cook your food in front of you. This must have been a massive design flaw because they had this clock lantern hanging over the open flames! So one of the guys turned on the flame up on accident, and the clock went whoosh! The piping was also out of whack or something because there was smoke everywhere—it started coming out of the windows and doors. The building began shaking and the alarm was going off. Within five minutes there were nine fire trucks there but everyone got out okay. Naturally, the restaurant got shut down after that—sorry!
What was it like when your song “Airplanes” with B.o.B. blew up a few years ago? Was that different from the success you’d experienced with Paramore?
Hayley: I never thought I’d be a part of something so big, especially something that wasn’t Paramore. I did it because I liked B.o.B. and thought that it was a cool song. I flew in his private jet from Scotland to Spain to meet him and play on the European Music Awards. How crazy is that? I was like, “Whoa, this it what it’s like to be Jay-Z and Beyonce. I love this, I’ll do this every night.” I way more prefer playing shows with Paramore and see stuff like that blow up. But I was so happy to have experienced that. But even if the song didn’t get such a big reception or do anything at all, B.o.B. and our entire band became so close because of it. Music brings people together.
Any dream collaborations down the road?
Hayley: Our band is so schizophrenic in our musical tastes. When we made this record, we wondered if there would be guest vocals. Alas, it was just us. But I mean, if Beyonce’s down, she can call us up!
What are your pop-culture obsessions, old or new?
Hayley: I am re-obsessed with the Spice Girls and their Spice World movie. I grew up on that, and I love that right now the ’90s are an influence on young people. It seems like six years ago, a lot of us were looking back more into the ’80s. But the Spice Girls mean so much to people my age and people younger than me. I love the sense of girl power they give young women. You know, I didn’t have that when I was 16 when Paramore started. I wish it was something that I more fully understood. So I’m loving that young women are embracing their femininity, their power, and their strength. I look at my younger sister, and she’s so strong and self-aware. I just feel that it’s so important, whether it’s feminism or feeling powerful for just one day, I’m happy that’s back in pop culture. I hope it stays. I’m happy to see strong women.
Love her! What do you think of the new album?
Entertainment Weekly interviewed Hayley and talked about her moving to LA, the writing process for “Paramore”, writer’s block and so on. Read the full interview here.
Entertainment Weekly: What was the first song that came together for Paramore?
Hayley Williams: “Proof” was the first song that we came up with. It was one of the first sets of lyrics I came up with, and I had this melody idea for it and I took it to Taylor, and like the next day we had the song. So that one came really easily, but then we had two and a half months of the worst writers’ block you could possibly imagine. That’s when we wrote the interludes. We needed something to laugh about and soften the blow that we couldn’t write any songs that we loved. And it was weird, because as soon as those interludes were done, the songs started happening. We realized we don’t need to take ourselves so seriously.