Latest posts ‘Interviews’
Paramore recently gave an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered. You can check out the interview along with the transcript of the interview below!
LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:
The Tennessee band Paramore has been described as emo, pop punk, grunge, punk and rock.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “BRICK BY BORING BRICK”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) But she lives in the fairytale somewhere too far for us to find.
SINGH: However you want to categorize Paramore, there’s no denying they know how to write a catchy song.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TOLD YOU SO”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) For all I know the best is over and the worst is yet to come.
SINGH: “Told You So” is one of the many synth pop and peppy sounding songs taken from Paramore’s latest album “After Laughter.”
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “TOLD YOU SO”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) I hate to say I told you so. I love to say…
SINGH: Since the band formed in 2004, it’s faced some struggles. There have been public breakups, a lawsuit. Band members have come and gone, and even come back again. Paramore’s current lineup is Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro. I caught up with the band a few weeks ago, and we started our conversation by talking about the sound of the new album. Taylor York is the band’s lead guitarist who told me this new album draws from the sounds and music of the 1980s.
TAYLOR YORK: We were listening like a lot of new wave. and The Cure and Talking Heads. And I think very rhythmically and I think that in the ’80s, you know, especially like the early ’80s there was so much like Pawley rhythm and some cool beats, you know, and kind of the way that the melodies would kind of dance with each other. I think that emotionally that is really inspiring.
SINGH: Although most of the album sounds upbeat, the lyrics are not.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HARD TIMES”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) All that I want is to wake up fine. Tell me that I’m all right…
HAYLEY WILLIAMS: I don’t think that we could have finished an album at least lyrically that matched the tone of the music.
SINGH: That’s Hayley Williams, Paramore’s fierce front woman who has spoken openly about her battle with depression.
WILLIAMS: But I also think that being able to speak out some of these feelings and emotions, like, it added even more depth. I mean, there’s obviously so much going on in the music, and that was really interesting to put some of these words, too. But now that we listen back, it’s like, oh, man, thank God because I don’t really want to sing those words over sad sounding stuff. I think we would all be miserable.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “HARD TIMES”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) Hard times. Going to make you wonder why you even try. Hard times. Going to take you down and laugh when you cry. These lives. And I still don’t know how I even survive hard times. Hard times.
SINGH: And, no, the band has not hit rock bottom but as we mentioned earlier there’s been turnover with band members over the years, including with band members Zac Farro. He and his brother Josh split with the band in 2010. Josh Farro is out on his own musically right now.
But shortly after the breakup, Josh wrote a scathing public blog post complaining about his differences with Hayley Williams, even calling Paramore a manufactured product of a major label. I asked Zac Farro why he originally chose to leave the band and why now it was the right time to come back.
ZAC FARRO: The main reason for me was that we’d started this when we were so young. I was 13 when we really started playing and then 14 when we started touring, you know, full time. It felt kind of like there is no light at the end of the tunnel for me as far as like being my own person. And I started feeling like I was just going to bring the band down with my attitude and the way I was going about dealing with that.
And so I thought the best thing would be to remove myself. So a lot of time passed, and I got to live a lot of life that I needed to. And I moved over to New Zealand for a couple of years, and I just had a few like life-changing moments and then everything collided again when Taylor and I started becoming, you know, we’ve always been best friends, but we’ve had these weird pockets in our lives where we go back a few years with not talking. And it’s been this weird consistent thing, so I can’t wait for the next few years because we won’t talk ever…
WILLIAMS: Hey, apparently there’s a blessing in distance, in a little distance.
YORK: Yeah, totally. A lot of blessings everywhere if you look around.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “GRUDGES”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) Strange how we found ourselves exactly where we left off. I know you’re shaking my hand like it is the first time. Are we alright? Are you recounting all my faults? Are you racking your brain just to find them all? Could it be that I’ve changed or did you?
SINGH: So over the years mention of your faith has come up and you’ve said that you’re not a Christian band, but you have faith. Taylor, talk to me about that. How do you think your faith is actually helped all of you sort of keep all of you together?
YORK: I think when we were younger, we used to have a bit more of a unified voice in terms of outwardly how we would talk about faith. And I don’t know if we have that as much now, but I think that we have a bit more of confidence and unity like within our band and more of a private kind of way of discussing that.
And for us, I think our faith is a part of our purpose and kind of the motor that keeps us going and sometimes that’s subconscious, sometimes that’s conscious. But, yeah, I don’t know. I mean, we’re still just kind of we’re always trying to figure out how to talk about it, figure out what we actually believe about it and that’s a big thing.
SINGH: Especially through this journey, you know, that also includes – depression is so prominent in the lyrics and in this album. But faith feels central in this album as well. Hayley, Zac, talk to me about that, what does that mean for you personally?
WILLIAMS: You know, I think what we have to remember is that we are just human beings. And with that comes a lot of just crap you know?
And that might mean depression for me in the past couple of years and that might mean something for Zac or something for Taylor that’s different, but we just all have our mountains and our valleys. And, you know, sometimes you wake up and you’re at the very bottom of the lowest point and other days you work your ass off to get to the peak of the mountain, and you’re able to look out and see everything that you’ve survived.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “26”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) Man you really know how to get someone down. Everything was fine until you came around.
WILLIAMS: But I think the important thing for me is remembering that I didn’t get to that peak alone, and some of that’s due to my own choice and faith in God and some of that is beyond me and I’ll never understand it.
You know, we’re at a point now between the three of us as friends where we’re OK with having individual experiences of God and of life and music and interactions and whatever it is. You know, we experience our faith in each other in our own way.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “26”)
PARAMORE: (Singing) Hold onto hope if you’ve got it. Don’t let it go. They say that dreaming is……
SINGH: That was Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro of the band Paramore. They joined me from Spotland Productions in Nashville.
Entertainment Weekly’s Ariana Bacle interviewed Hayley about After Laughter, Zac’s return and why did she change her hair color from neon to blonde. You can read the interview below. A version of this interview also appears in the newest issue of the magazine, out today.
Hayley Williams explains how Paramore stayed together after band turmoil
Paramore’s last album cycle was a good one. After releasing a self-titled record — their fourth total — in 2013, single “Ain’t It Fun” topped the charts in a way no previous Paramore song had done prior. It broke the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and later won the band a Grammy for Best Rock Song. But soon after, things went south when bassist Jeremy Davis left the band in 2015.
Instead of saying goodbye to Paramore, though, frontwoman Hayley Williams and guitarist Taylor York rallied. Along with founding member Zac Farro, who rejoined the band after seven years away, they used everything they had been through as fodder for After Laughter, a fierce comeback album that includes ’80s-inspired tracks that still retain Paramore’s emo-pop sound like “Hard Times” and “Told You So.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First things first: Can you explain the album title, After Laughter?
HAYLEY WILLIAMS: It means that look on a person’s face when they laugh really hard and then there’s this moment where they come back to reality — I like watching for it. Maybe I’m a little bit of a creep. [Laughs]
It’s been four years since Paramore released an album, and a lot has changed — this is the first record without cofounding bassist Jeremy Davis, who left in 2015. What’s it been like?
Anytime you grow up in a group of friends, you’re going to fight about things, and that’s really no different than our situation. We have to live some of that stuff out, and unfortunately, there’s no way to do that gracefully. It was embarrassing, you know? It still sucks. It’s life, though, and sometimes life is really painful.
The single “Hard Times” is an uptempo rocker. But there’s a dark undertone, with lyrical allusions to the band’s struggles. How did it come together?
I realized I didn’t have to match every feeling I have to the music. Maybe the fact that I can put some of my sadness to these sounds that make me want to dance and move a lot is a good thing. Maybe that’s going to help me get through it. And it was true for all of us. We needed a place to put the feelings that are hard to talk about. These songs helped us. I think they were a musical therapist, in a way. [Laughs]
At any point did you consider calling it quits?
There were many talks over coffee with [bandmate Taylor York]. We thought, “Maybe we should start something new.” But Taylor said to me, “If we start another band and people call it Paramore, you’re gonna be so mad. So you might as well just be Paramore.” I actually think I could have been happy if we kept creating together and never put out a record, but the fact that we created an album and people can hear it — I’m still pinching myself.
On a happier note, drummer Zac Farro, who left Paramore in 2010, recently rejoined.
It feels like I’ve gotten a part of myself back! I’ve got one of my best friends in the world back, and I can’t wait to be on stage in front of people and turn around and see him again.
You and the band were just teenagers when Paramore’s debut album came out in 2005. What’s it like to grow up in the spotlight?
It’s like that scene in Bridesmaids: “I think if you’re growing, then you’re changing.” [Laughs] I always think about that scene, but I also still feel so much like that 16-year-old who got in the van and took off with my dad at the wheel. We were babies.
You’ve changed your trademark orange hair to platinum blond. Why the switch?
The hair thing is so emotional for me. About a year ago, I called my colorist and was like, “I’m going through so much emotionally. I need a reset. I need you to bleach my hair.” This has been really important for me, as a 27- and 28-year-old, to show myself every morning when I get up that I’m not someone who is going to live in the past. When it’s time for Neon Hayley to come back to life, she will. But right now, this is me.
Paramore did their first on-camera interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe at Taylor’s house in Nashville earlier this year. The second part of the interview is available now and you can watch it below. In this one the band talks about the new album track by track.
Paramore visited 107.5 The River in Nashville earlier today. You can watch their interview from the videos below, the band talks about tonight’s show at the Exit/In, the new album and their influences and the Nashville Predators game they attended last Sunday.
— 1075 The River (@1075theriver) May 10, 2017
— 1075 The River (@1075theriver) May 10, 2017
New photos from the visit available in our gallery.
Paramore are on the cover of the May issue of DIY Magazine, which is out today. The magazine includes an interview based article of the band and also lots of new photos taken by Pooneh Ghana. You can read the full article below and see the new HQ photos in our gallery.
The magazine can be read online here, you pick it up for free from all of DIY’s regular stockists in the UK or order yourself a physical copy at DIY’s shop, if you subscribe to the magazine today you get a free Paramore poster with the newest issue!
TIME FOR MOVING ON: PARAMORE
There have always been arrows flying at Paramore, but over the past two years, the band found themselves faced with their worst period of uncertainty. Now they’ve reached the other side.
Over the last fifteen years, Paramore have come up against their fair share of hurdles. That much is no secret; with each of their past four albums, the group have been forced to face new challenges, and stare into new unknowns. It was with their previous, self-titled full-length, though, that it was all set to change: they had finally cast off their demons and stepped into a new light. Or had they?
Back in 2013 when the band released their fourth album, the pieces felt as though they’d finally fallen into place. With ‘Paramore’, they threw out the creative rulebook and offered up a seventeen-track record brimming with ambition and energy. Packing in more musical styles than you can shake a stick at, the trio found themselves deviating from the punk-pop sound they’d mastered previously, choosing instead to stack the album with pop hooks, funky rhythms and a gospel choir for good measure. It was bold, it was brave and above all, it gave the group a new lease of life.
It wasn’t set to last. As the band drew their ‘Paramore’ chapter to a close with a final run of intimate US shows and a second Parahoy! cruise scheduled for early 2016, things soon went very quiet. By the end of 2015, a message from the band broke the news that bassist Jeremy Davis had departed in what they called a “painful” split, the reasons for which still remain a private matter. It was then the remaining two members – Hayley Williams and Taylor York – were faced with another big decision to make. They chose to, once again, pick themselves up and continue.
Almost eighteen months later, the three current members of Paramore – Williams and York are re-joined by original drummer Zac Farro – are sat together in the corner of a lofty Nashville photo studio. It’s a Friday afternoon and the trio are in the middle of planning a trip to see Radiohead in Atlanta this weekend. It’s also just a little over a month until their fifth album ‘After Laughter’ will be released and, as of the time of writing, only a handful of people in the world have any idea what’s coming.
“It’s weird,” ponders Hayley, on how it feels to be five albums deep and over ten years into their career. “I still feel like we’re really green, especially with this record. It felt like there were so many new things to try and so many new feelings about life – you’re finally all the way over the hump of being able to deny that you’re an adult now. Yeah, this was a crazy record to make.”
Unsurprisingly, the sense of anticipation surrounding the band’s next move has been palpable. In March 2016, the then-duo of Hayley and Taylor set sail on their second Parahoy! but fans remained uncertain of what would come next. And while their performances on board – their first after Jeremy’s departure – were fraught with emotion and honesty, with wounds still open, the four-day cruise would go on to be much more significant than they’d anticipated.
“I’ve never really wanted to cry on a cruise…” Hayley laughs, looking back at the rather emotional experience. “That wasn’t a selling point for certain!” It did, however, provide some much-needed catharsis for the then-two members. “Taylor and I talked about that right after it happened. It was really tough, and a lot had changed. All of a sudden, I felt very naked up there.
“[Parahoy!’s] supposed to be this fun thing; it’s meant to be a place where we all leave the world behind and we do our own thing, connect over music, play games and none of it matters, because who even knows how to find us? It’s this really beautiful community and feeling, yet I was really sad. There was this – I dunno – cloud that felt like it wouldn’t get off our backs for a moment there.
“Then we did this meet and greet that was about three hours long,” she explains. “People were coming up and looking us very deeply in the eyes and genuinely telling us things like, ‘Oh man, we’re so proud of you guys’ or ‘We’re so happy we get to be a part of this music’. These really incredibly genuine sentiments. There are always these really nice reminders with Paramore that it’s not just about us. I think that’s why we’ve been able to survive all of this shit: because it’s not really about us. When you’re looking into people’s eyes and you know they’re going through something probably worse than you, it just gives you a fresh perspective. We came home from that with a little bit of extra energy to get going with writing again. It was a good thing.”
By the time June rolled around, the band – who had invited Farro back into the fold by this point – were gearing up to head into the studio. “I mean, I never feel prepared, but I was scared,” confirms Taylor, on how they were feeling in the lead up. “I did feel like we had all the pieces, but it’s always a bit terrifying.” After the ambition of their previous full-length, the bar was set high, and that sentiment wasn’t lost on them. “Music is one of the only mediums of art where you do something and that is what you exist with for years.” An artist can create a piece and move on, a director finishes a film then continues with their next project. “For us,” Taylor continues, “we make a record and we live it. There’s a lot of pressure from both outside and within, because you want it to be great, you want to believe in it. That was where the fear came in; it was about making something that we all loved and that – even if it didn’t work out – we could all still stand behind it and be proud.”
The first step in making their fifth record was to build themselves a support network. Alongside Zac, who originally left the band in 2010 and has most recently been working on his own project HalfNoise, the group recruited ‘Self-Titled’ producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen to co-produce with Taylor. “When me and Hayley went into the studio,” adds Taylor, “we were a duo, so it was about putting people around us that we had history with and confidence in.” Rebuilding their bridges, they tried to create something that felt much more like a band. They were able to move forward, and more importantly, be themselves.
That’s an element that has ultimately shaped ‘After Laughter’ itself. While their previous record saw them giving anything a go, this time around they knew the path they needed to tread. Building upon the high octane energy of the likes of ‘Ain’t It Fun’ and ‘Still Into You’, it takes the bubbly vibrancy of those tracks and cranks it up to eleven.
“We intentionally didn’t look back at all,” Taylor is quick to assure. They now finally felt liberated enough to pursue the sounds they’d played with last time, but in a bigger way. “I really wanted this album to be different, but I didn’t really know what that would be like. I knew I didn’t want a ton of high lead guitars and I was getting kinda sick of head banging – our necks just always hurt!” While ‘Ain’t It Fun’ represented one of the most distinctly different sounds they explored last time around, now it was about calling upon the attitude and the mentality that had allowed for that song to be birthed in the first place. “We definitely just wanted to be honest with where we’re at,” he adds, “and be excited to listen to [the music] ourselves.”
Honesty was also the key component within Hayley’s lyrics. While Paramore have never been a band to shy away from pain or hardship in years before, this set of songs shout the message loud and clear. Unabashed and open, raw to the last, with titles like ‘Hard Times’, ‘Forgiveness’ and ‘Fake Happy’, the album shows that it’s clear the pain they’ve felt over the past two years hasn’t dimmed. Now, they’re unafraid to show it. “You can say it, it’s alright!” laughs Hayley, at the suggestion that these lyrics are much more forthright in their, well, sadness. “Honestly, we don’t even have the energy…” she admits, trailing off a little.
After almost a decade of dealing with issues – whether they be the departures of band members, the band’s portrayal in the media or simply the mechanics of the industry – it’s no shock to learn that Paramore are often exhausted. “We went through enough shit, man,” she goes on. “It’s not a selling point; life can be so hard. It’s funny to think that there’s anybody in the world that would look at us and think that our lives aren’t really hard just because we played Wembley or something. That’s cool but we still go home at the end of the tour.
“We’ve been playing shows for years and have been around so many people and parts of the world, and you just reach a certain point where you’re like, ‘I’m done.’ We don’t ever wanna be rude or unprofessional, but we’re just people,” she continues, tapping into one of the album’s main sentiments. “If we’re all faking it or being phoney, when do we ever get to connect? I don’t want to live in that mindset anymore, where I have to perform, not on stage but, as a human. It’s just tiring!”
Sometimes, you have to be pushed to the edge to discover your fighting instinct. For Paramore, it took the loss of another band member to hit that brink. Now, they’ve reached the other side and for that, they’re stronger. Not only is this record their most cohesive and bold, it’s also undoubtedly their most definitive, their most creative. It’s an album that makes perfect sense and now, as a unit, they’re finally at their most comfortable. “This is the least we’ve ever tried to prove to people that we’re doing good, but everybody’s saying that to us [regardless],” confirms Zac, before Taylor continues his sentiment. “We’ve always been trying to let people know – because there have been so many changes – ‘This is us now!’ ‘No, this is us now!’
“But one of the things that’s strange to me is that this doesn’t feel strange,” he goes on, looking to his two bandmates. “When I first started playing in Paramore in 2007, if you had told me at a certain point it would be Zac and Hayley and I… To try and get there in my head, there’s just no way!” Over the last ten years, a lot of things have changed, “but it feels like we’ve been in this form of our band for a long time,” he continues, “and it feels so comfortable. We’re still just as broken, but it’s just bizarre how good it feels right now. In the past when things felt good, we would hold onto them so tightly, and we wanted everyone to see and we forced them to see it, but this time, like they’ve been saying,” he gestures to his bandmates, “it’s cool to not feel like we have to be presentable when we’re broken, just to be ourselves and let people draw whatever conclusion they want.”
At the time of writing, knowledge of their fifth album is still scarce. Hayley herself has only given one short update on the band’s progress this year, which came back in early January, when a sense of anxiousness had begun to creep in. It was a message that reflected on the band’s past – and how it could’ve come to define them – and the challenge that was presented in following up ‘Self-Titled’. Now, with the gift of hindsight, the journey – and the struggles – finally seem worth it.
“It’s refreshing now,” she begins, “that I can hear what we made out of some of our own issues that we were going through, and how we came together to create something bigger.” Despite being ready to walk away from the band, they seem a happier unit than ever before. “We’ve all wanted to quit at different times, or go away and disappear – there have always been arrows flying at Paramore – but I had never actually felt that until this time. Now that we’re sitting here, and we have the songs we have, it doesn’t mean that my life’s perfect by any means, or that I’m even over some of the stuff we talk about on the record, but it’s so great to know that we didn’t give up.”
“For us, to be in the spot that we’re at, it’s just so rad for the three of us to want to be together and love being together genuinely,” continues Taylor. “To be proud of what we did. I would like to hope that one day we can make a record without having to go through something like that, but that’s just been our reality so far. Every time we actually get through it, it’s just that much sweeter. Life doesn’t stop,” he concludes, “but I think we got over a big hurdle and it’s great to be on the other side of that.”
Nylon Magazine’s Marissa R. Moss interviewed Paramore in Nashville last month. The interview was held only a day after the titles of Paramore’s upcoming album were leaked online. The interview can be found in the May issue of the magazine and you can read it from the scan in our gallery, or below (click to enlarge). The band talks about new music, Zac’s return and other things.
The interview includes a new photo taken by Lindsey Byrnes. The photo was taken in February already and the band shared a photo from the photoshoot in their instagram account.