102 JAMZ interviewed Paramore in Orlando, FL. The band talks about touring, love songs, tattoos and Hayley’s recent music collaboration with Zedd. Watch the interview below.
Hayley is taking over Seventeen Magazine’s Instagram today! Below first photo from Hayley, follow @seventeenmag to see all the upcoming photos.
Hi It’s Hayley from #Paramore and I’m takin’ over Seventeen’s Instagram today! Taylor, me and Jeremy. At a radio station…signing posters of ourselves while talking about ourselves. Total divas. #paratour #hayleytakeover
Lehigh Valley Music’s John J. Moser interviewed Hayley on the phone during Paramore’s European tour. Hayley talks about the new album, The Self-Titled Tour, Paramore’s future and other things. Read the interview below.
Hayley Williams, the super-spunky, flaming-haired singer of alt-pop group Paramore, freely admits the band was nervous about making its newest album.
After all, it’s been nearly four years since its last disc, 2009’s “Brand New Eyes,” which hit No. 2 on Billboard’s albums chart, sold gold and had perhaps the group’s biggest hit, the platinum “The Only Exception.”
But far more than that, Paramore lost two of its founding members when brothers Josh Farro, its founding guitarist and key songwriter, and Zac Farro, its drummer, quit.
Williams says she felt like the band had a lot to prove.
Consider it proven. The group’s self-titled disc, released in April, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard, with its single “Still Into You” breaking the Top 10 on the Pop chart (it was still there this week after 16 weeks.)
The group is supporting the album on a tour of arenas that brings it to Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, tonight, Nov. 8, and to Sands Bethlehem Event Center on Nov. 11.
In a recent telephone call from “a little town called Melford-On-Sea” in England, “way off the beaten path and right on the beach at the English Channel,” during a European tour, Williams spoke about the band’s unsettled period, how the new album came together, and the future.
Here’s a transcript of the call:
LEHIGH VALLEY MUSIC: Hi Hayley, how are you?
HAYLEY WILLIAMS: “I’m great. How are you doing?”
Good. Hey, I read that you guys have a sold-out show coming up at Wembly Arena.
“Yeah, we do. It’s going to be our second time back to Wembley, so we’re all really, really excited to play there again. It’s been a little while – we haven’t done a proper U.K. tour in a few years. It’s exciting that we sold it out. I think that we all feel really good our fans, seriously, have stuck with us through everything and we’re just having a big party – a big celebration.”
I read in Rolling Stone magazine that you said that the self-titled tour was going to be a bigger production, a bigger show. So tell me a little bit about it.
“Oh, we have been planning a tour for a long time. It’s the one that, ever since we were in the studio, making the record, we’ve been sort of dreaming it up, and thinking about what it might be like. And I feel like it’s going to be exactly like what we hoped that it would be. And it’s not like – like I’ve been surprised at how not simple it is to put together an arena tour. Like it really isn’t simple. We really have to work super-hard at it and there’s a lot of layers that you just don’t think about when you’re in theaters or even clubs, you know?
“So we’re just really excited, ‘cause there is a bigger production, the set list is much longer. I guess I really don’ know even half of what to expect. I just know that we’re going to bring every single thing we have and try to kill it every night.”
Great. Let’s talk a little bit about the new record. What were you looking to do when you put it together – specifically, music-wise, message-wise. And how do you think it turned out?
“Um, we didn’t hardly know what we were going to do ourselves [laughs], so we were kind of nervous. It’s like, we’re coming out of losing two band members. [Guitarist] Taylor [York] and [bassist] Jeremy [Davis] are looking at each other like, ‘Well, I hope you can do this.’ [Laughs] Like, we really didn’t know what was going to happen.
“But I think we felt more motivation than ever because there was just this fire in us that we needed to prove ourselves and we also needed to prove it to our fans and people that we felt like were watching. And it was nerve-wracking, you know? It was, like, the first time that we’ve ever been in that position. We’ve probably been through band members leaving the band in the way past, like before [its breakthrough 2007 album] ‘Riot’ and stuff, but it never felt as, like, shaky, you know? We built up so much before Taylor and I wrote this record that it was like so much was riding on this and there was a lot of pressure, but I think most of the pressure was coming from ourselves.
“By the time we had demoed four or five songs and then we got into the studio, we gained a little bit of confidence back and we decided, like, ‘Who cares?’ You know? Who cares who’s watching or listening? We have to be happy with, like, what we’re doing, what we want. And we have to be sure of what we want and just go for it and not apologize for it.
“And we found ourselves taking a lot of risks, and it was exciting. It kind of felt like we were making Album One all over again.”
And I was going to ask about the name of it – with the self-titled name. I mean, is that the reason? Because you felt like you were making Album 1 all over again?
“Yeah, it just felt like we were starting over. I mean, the cool thing is we get to feel that feeling but still be experiencing what we have that brought us to this point. So I feel like we’ve got the best of both worlds.
“And by the time we had all 17 songs that we knew we wanted to be on the record, and we were sort of there, we were, like, ‘There’s not anything else we could call this record.’ ‘Cause we want to show people who we are with these songs, with all the riffs. We want to reintroduce ourselves to our fans who already know us, we want to introduce ourselves to people who have never heard us before.
“And I think it was more about us showing how confident we felt about it, you know?”
And talk about the writing process – the fact that the Farro brothers [Guitarist Josh Farro and drummer Zac Farro, who left the group] were no longer there. Did it change how you approached the music or the type of music?
“Yeah, totally. ‘Cause you can’t, like … when you’re a five-piece band, you have, like, one band member for every instrument – every core instrument you need, like drums, and bass and guitar and vocals, and you can sit there all day and jam out ideas for hours and hours and hours, and that’s what we used to do, you know? And Josh would write music and bring it to me and I would sort of fiddle around with the guitar and written things over it.
“But this time around, it was just me, Taylor and Jeremy, and it was weird for us. We couldn’t go into a room and just jam like any band. We couldn’t just be sure of ideas that happened like that, you know? And that was strange. I think that’s part of the reason we were so nervous, ‘cause it was really, really, uh, uncomfortable in the beginning.
“The good thing is Taylor’s really comfortable and really into, like, working and building tracks and sort of working in the studio with song ideas that way. And that was something we’d never done before, which I think is crazy, because a lot of bands – a lot of our friends who were think are great artists, that’s how they do it. They just sit with the computer and kind of do it all out of the box at first, you know?
“And that was new for us, and it was so exciting. I would take home little tracks and demos and little guitar lines and beats that Taylor would build and write to those and come back and have other ideas and Taylor would build around those ideas. It just felt a lot more … honestly, it just felt like a more creative process. It just felt like, once we let go, we were really liberated by the whole thing, you know?”
I detect, as a listener, I detect certainly a more pop influence in some of the songs: “Still Into You,” “Moving On,” “Holiday, “I’m Not Angry Anymore” …
Sound very poppy to me. Am I misreading that?
“No, not at all. Like, we really like pop music. There’s a lot of genres that we are really into that I don’t think showed up on the last three albums. I think … for one, I think we were all very afraid of some of our influences – like we didn’t know what that would mean, if we said we liked this, or if we said we like that, or if we showed this side of who we are artistically. Like, what would people say? And that just comes back to what I said before – we just stopped caring, because we didn’t have the time to care. We knew that there was a lot riding on the record, and it just was, like, time to let go. And, um, that’s what we did.
“The coolest part was the fact that the pop influences showed up, because that’s something that we pushed so far to the back in those past albums. And it was also cool for me, because a lot of – I felt like a lot of … I’m really into new wave music, and sort of dark wave and stuff, and I feel like some of that showed up, too, for the first time. And, of course, like, ‘Ain’t It Fun,’ like Jeremy’s playing flat bass and it’s got, like, the funky beat to it and there’s a gospel choir. And I think that shows we’re Jeremy and I have come from — we both grew up on funk and R&B and soul.
“And it was cool to show – to show off, you know – all of that.”
And I will say this: “Still Into You” is doing extremely well. The album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard. So that’s got to be confirmation that what you were thinking – people like it.
“Yeah. It feels really good, you know? It feels, um, it’s just really humbling. ‘Cause we – after all we’ve been through as friends and as a band, we were able to just see through it. Like, ‘Why are we afraid to fail? Who’s gonna care? And what if we fail?’ And when everything was said and done, the album came out, people were really into it and we started getting reviews back, it was the first time we’d gotten, like, pretty much mostly good reviews. I don’t really see a lot of bad stuff on the Internet, as far as, like, bad reviews, and honestly, that’s the first time in our career.
“Parts of that you can’t care – you have to just ignore it and keep going and do what you love. But I’m not gonna lie – it feels amazing. It feels good to have our fans’ acceptance of it and their excitement and enthusiasm. And also people who, their job is literally to sit in a room and listen to thousands of records a day – the fact that ours stood out in some way, that makes us feel awesome.”
Hey, I’m going to get this question out of the way: Is there anything more you want to say about the split, or why it happened, or anything about that?
“I mean, not really. I think, beside the big blog that got posted on the Internet, our fans know the story and they’ve heard it a thousand times, and that’s the people that we care about knowing, sort of the background of, like, all the crap that doesn’t matter. They know that … they know where we’re coming from, they know exactly what happened, and that’s just it, you know? It just doesn’t matter.
“I think, if anything, the three of us that are still here, we look back and we say, ‘We never would have chosen the stuff that happened; we never would have wanted it to happen. But it did, and we made the best of it and I think we’re all happier.’
“That’s what’s crazy: It’s nuts that I feel like we have to go through a thousand things before we truly ever learn that we don’t always know what’s best for ourselves. Sometimes we just have to let life happen to us.”
Yeah. Is the expectation that you guys are going to stay a trio? And use touring members for the other parts?
“I mean, right now it’s working. And the guys that are playing with us and going on stage with us are some of our greatest friends. They’re really close with us. Taylor’s brother’s on stage with us. So, I mean, it just works. And the three of us – Jeremy, Taylor and I – we know our fans, we know our history and we’ve been doing this together for, like, 10 years. So it just feels right.
“And if it ever just feels right to add somebody, then I guess we will. But until then, it’s like the saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Yeah, yeah. Hey, I’ve got to ask how you ended up on Zedd’s song ‘Stay The Night.’ What was the story behind that?
“Uh, I actually got an e-mail with the track in it from John Janick, who, you probably know, headed up Fueled By Raman [Records], which is the label that we’re on and we got signed to when we were kids. And, like, anything he e-mails me about anything, I pretty much trust him and listen to him.
“He was like, ‘We have a really great song, and I know that as a fan of yours, I would like to [consider it]. And I heard it, and I was, like, ‘Yes! I’m down.’ It didn’t take me two seconds. I heard the first couple lines, and there still needed some writing to be done and I said, ‘I can write to this for sure. I can do this.’
“And it felt so good to sing it, too. Just there’s certain songs that you hear, and you sort of feel like a part of you could have written that. Like, a part of you was already thinking those thoughts, and feeling those feelings. And I feel that way about a lot of my favorite bands, a lot of my favorite songs. Like almost there’s a part of me that’s already in them before I even hear them, and that was the cases with the Zedd song. And the fact that I got to write some of it, too, and the lyrics, just makes it mean even more.
“I didn’t write on [B.O.B’s hit] ‘Airplanes’ [on which she sang]. That song was already so special to me. But I can’t imagine if I had written some of those lyrics, how much more I would have felt invested in it. It’s cool to get that chance again, but go a little bit further.”
Is there anything else you’d like to see in my story?
“We’re just really excited for the tour. I can’t wait to get up there. We have a lot of amazing fans. It’s going to be nice to just be able to show the people. And hopefully a lot of new friends will come around and discover our music and what we do. It’s going to be a good time.”
Paramore will be on Good Morning America today! The live stream has started but Paramore isn’t performing yet, if you live in the US, you can watch GMA on ABC News, but if not, check out one of the live streams to see Paramore perform Still Into You soon!