Q&A: Hayley Williams on Paramore's Next Chapter
Hayley Williams of Paramore
It's been a rocky couple years for Paramore: original members Josh Farro (guitar) and Zac Farro (drums) left in December 2010 with a bitter note online, claiming the band was the "manufactured product of a major label." Singer Hayley Williams pressed on, heading to L.A. with a lean lineup of guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis, with producer Justin Meldal-Johnson (Beck, Garbage), for their fourth LP, Paramore (out April 9th), their first songs since 2009's Brand New Eyes.
In this new Q&A, Williams and guitarist Taylor York tell Rolling Stone the band almost ended entirely. "There were definitely days I would wake up and think it would be so easy to put up some sort of letter saying we've had a good run," Williams says. "And then there were days that you would wake up and you would have a song in your head and know that there is purpose."
Musically, where did you want to go after Brand New Eyes?
Hayley Williams: That whole time for our band was such a dark season. It was emotionally exhausting, and by the time we got around to the point where we were going to start writing, we just really wanted to enjoy the process of making an album, really just enjoy the reality that we're in a band and our dreams have come true. You know, we should be happy about all this. So I think that's what was most important to us, and we didn't really know how that would manifest itself through the music, but it just happened.
Did you think at any point that Paramore was going to end?
HW: There were days for me. I always wanted to be a part of Paramore, but I just didn't know – "Is this a reality? Am I kidding myself?" It was just tiring, I guess. We were all friends, we grew up together, and that was the most disappointing . . . That sucked more than any of the band-professional career stuff. I mean, of course that sucked, but when everything sort of started falling to pieces between Brand New Eyes and making this album, there were definitely days I would wake up and think it would be so easy to put up some sort of letter saying it's just too hard, we've had a good run, and go, like, get a job serving coffee or doing something normal. Maybe that would be less stressful.
And then there were days that you would wake up and you would have a song in your head and know that there is purpose and there's freedom in being a musician and an artist, and you're really thankful. Just like in everybody's life, there are ups and downs and there were doubtful moments, but there was something in the back of our minds that never let us give up.
Did it surprise you in the way that the two guys you grew up with, started the band with, just walked away?
Taylor York: I think it did in a sense. [They] knew that the end of that season was coming, but I think the way it happened was a surprise. I don't think that that kind of separation or that kind of breaking off is ever an easy thing or ever comes without messiness of some form, but I don't think we knew it was going to get that crazy and that dramatic. So that was a surprise. But it kind of just was what it was. I think for a long time that really affected us, and it felt like we could not get away from it, and it was what everyone wanted to talk about. As time went on, we were able to just kind of separate from that and leave it in the past and be like, "You know, that really sucked." But I think there's a future waiting for us. Let's walk towards that instead of staying in this sort of high school drama.