MSN Entertainment Canada interviews Jeremy

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Paramore survives and evolves after losing two members
By Sean Plummer

The publicist connecting my call with Paramore bassist Jeremy Davis does not explicitly ask me to not talk about the late 2011 departure of guitarist Josh Farro and his brother, drummer Zac Farro, from the Nashville-spawned band. Nor does she ask me to not bring up Josh’s subsequent blog posting accusing Paramore of having become “a manufactured product of a major label” designed to further singer Hayley Williams’ career. Nevertheless I infer both things when she asks me to keep my questions focused on “the music.”

But it would be difficult – nay, disingenuous – not to address the ways in which Paramore has evolved since the release of their third album, 2009’s Brand New Eyes. For one thing, they are a trio now, consisting of Williams, Davis, and guitarist Taylor York. For another, their eponymously-titled fourth album, released this past April, is considerably more sophisticated than their previous work, with gospel choirs, orchestral octets, and even bits of country spicing up their guitar-based pop-punk.

Indeed, Paramore’s diversity of sound – and the album’s very title – reflects a redefinition of the band, from emo flag-wavers to a group serious about making fun music.

“We really just had a good time making music,” says Davis. “And I really think that all of us really needed that in our own lives personally, and at the same time it was exactly what we wanted to come out on the record. It was really cool, and I’m really happy with the way that it turned out.”

The fact that the band was not only able to recover from the loss of the Farros but prosper artistically is a bit of a minor miracle, especially given that Josh Farro co-wrote their last album with Williams, his ex-girlfriend. But the Farros’ loss ultimately proved easier for the remaining members to weather than one might think.

“I think I thought it would be a lot harder than what it was,” says Davis. “Because when we started to re-establish our friendship with each other and really be open and just loving towards each other, I think we realized that we were all in the exact same boat about our feelings with regards to the departure of the other two members.

“I feel like the three of us – what we’ve learned and what we’ve gotten really good at is helping each other. Like if one person is feeling really down, the other two are lifting them up. And I really feel like we’re encouraging each other a lot more. Essentially I realize that we’re all in the same boat with that stuff: they were our friends, they were a part of our family, they told us they weren’t happy anymore. And it got sour online, which was all made-up stuff; nothing that you’d really expect.

“I think our steps of working through that together, it took quite a while, but I think right away we realized that we had something stronger in each other anyway. I think we realized that we had so much more in the three of us together, in our relationship and friendship, than we had with five of us. So for whatever reason the three of us all feel the same and have the same goals for the band.”

The band’s current goal is getting their “touring sea legs back” with a North American tour, before spending the summer in Europe and South America. Fortunately the new songs, including singles “Now” and “Still Into You,” are translating well live, despite their relative complexity.

“At first we were really curious how we were going to pull them off,” Davis admits. “We were in the studio for so long that we put so much into every song, and we really wanted it to all be there when we played live. Honestly I think it’s going better than we ever could have imagined, and they’re so much fun.”

With our time wrapping, I’m curious to know if the remaining members of Paramore, who famously started the band as teens and are still in their early to mid-twenties, feel like they missed out at all on their youth, despite the great opportunities their success has afforded them.

“Yeah, I feel like all of us feel that way,” Davis says. “I mean just before we made our last record it was the first time any of us had had time off since we were super young; since we were like sixteen-years-old, or even younger for some of the other people in the band.

“But I feel like when we were back home we were doing things like all of our friends who were going into college. Back home we were all going through the same things that all of our friends were going through a long time ago. So it’s just simple things.

“But who gets a chance to say that they’ve played a sold-out arena, or go to the Grammys several times and get nominated and win? So it’s very different, and you kind of have to look at it that way and appreciate every day for what it is. You never know what you’ll get, and I think that if you had the opportunity to do something special with your life and affect other people, then that’s more important than my childhood.”


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