Interview with Paramore

Posted on Jul 14, 2006 by cathyreay

With the recently overwhelming influx of handsome, young Fueled By Ramen boys taking over our airwaves and daydreams, it’s all too easy to toss aside a band that is fronted by quite possibly one of the strongest-sounding 17 year old girls to exist. Hayley Williams holds plenty of vintage Avril Lavigne boyish charm in her pint-size exterior, but this girl is oh so different from the afore-mentioned Canadian star- for one, she can sing and hey, at least she’s realistic about the music she’s making.

I caught up with Hayley and guitarists Jeremy Davis (bassist) and Josh Farro (lead guitar/backing vox) right before they were about to hit the stage for their debut UK show as part of the Give It A Name Introduces… tour. Having spoken to the multitude of fans queuing outside beforehand, it’s safe to say that although Paramore are not top of the bill tonight, they’re definitely the most anticipated act.

Again thanks to Matt @ Hyperlaunch for organising this!

Q: Let’s start from the beginning with quite possibly the most mundane question you get asked: where’s the name from?

Hayley: One of our friend’s mom’s maiden name was Paramore, and we really liked the way it sounded. We looked it up about a year later and found out that it means “secret lover” and “for love” which we thought was really cool and represented us well.

Q: How did you all meet?

Josh: Zac and I went to this one-day-a-week homeschool, which we met Hayley at. Hayley was at the time in another band. We met the others through friends.

Q: Why did you decide to let Hayley have the vocal reign? Were you aware at the time that this might be a dangerous thing to do, given that critics are usually quite sceptical of male groups fronted by a girl, especially one so young?

Hayley: I grew up singing. When I moved to Nashville, I found a cover band who were looking for a vocalist so I tried out and it worked. So I started singing for them and then when I met [what was to become] the rest of Paramore, they were looking for a singer. They were edgy about the whole female thing as they’d never done that before but we’re really good friends so when I started writing for them, it just kinda worked out.

Q. Tell us of your evolvement and involvement with Fueled By Ramen, leading to that ultimate contract.

Hayley: We had managers in Nashville and they had friends out in Orlando that were managers and they got to know us and wanted to manage us as well. So we ended up with a really big management team. Between them, they all had connections and one of them was John at Fueled By Ramen. He got a hold of our demos and wanted to see us play. He saw us perform live and said he really wanted to put our record out, so that was that!

Q. What were your influences at the time of making your record? Being so young, do you find music that artists of your genre usually list in answer to this question less accessible?

Hayley: Well... obviously we were too young at the time to appreciate the rock legends that most people talk about, so in that way yes. But I think we grew up on the newer generation of those bands – Underoath, Failure, Days Away etc. At the time of recording we were listening to a lot of The Academy Is… as we’d been given their record by the label.

Jeremy: We’re very influenced by Slipknot!

Q. From what I’ve read, you seem quite detached from the whole “Pete Wentz protégé” notion that seems to tag most of your labelmates – would you agree with that and does it affect you at all to not be such a part of that movement?

Hayley: Our first ever tour was the Fueled By Ramen and Friends tour, where we played some of the dates acoustically. FOB were also on it, as well as Gym Class Heroes and The Academy Is… Fall Out Boy were really cool to us then and always have been. We haven’t crossed paths in a while. I would say we are detached from that whole thing that’s going on right now with all of them, but we still respect it fully. We’re just different.

Q. How have you managed to grasp the concept of living your life on the road, being so young?

Jeremy: There’s not a lot we can do about it, you know, this is our dream and our job mixed in one. Everything we do is a blast and we’ve gotten to meet a lot of cool people. Other than having to leave home, it isn’t that hard.

Hayley: Today is pretty tiring. We played in LA last night and flew straight here, and now we have this show in London and we’ve not had any sleep! Apparently this year is going to be really busy for us – we haven’t really had to deal with being non-stop on-the-go yet because our tours in the States are so frequent that they’re quite laid back. In the near future I think we’re going to have to start grasping the fact that we’re not going to have much time to relax anymore; it’s going to be pretty crazy.

Q. Your tour with Simple Plan in the US recently put you guys on the map as far as fan attention goes, how did you find the tour and the bands you shared the bill with?

Jeremy: To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything from Simple Plan…we didn’t even think we’d meet them. But on the first night Jeff came up to us and introduced himself and told us what a big fan he was. It was really cool.

Hayley: Yeah the tour went really well, we had a lot of fun hanging out with all the bands on it. We would absolutely love to get to the level of fame that Simple Plan are at – they’re so lucky and talented.

Q. Are you nervous about playing tonight [first show on their UK tour preceding GIAN fest], and in the UK generally?

Hayley: Nope, I’m just excited.

Josh: I’m anxious to see how the fans react. When we first got here these three girls rushed to our van and weren’t afraid to come in… it was awesome. In America they tend to just stand back and whisper to each other.

Q: What comes after this?

Josh: We’re going on tour with The Rocket Summer and Nightmare of You. Then we’re going to Japan – it’s our first time there, we’re so excited! It’s crazy just being in England but here at least you speak the same language. Although it seems like everybody thinks we’re weird…

Jeremy: We’re like “where can I go to the bathroom?” and everyone just looks at us!

Josh: We were in a pub earlier on and they asked us “chips or potatoes?”…we said potato chips!

Hayley: We’re coming back here real soon for some summer festivals which we’re really excited about. If we have time I think we’ll try to record the next record. We really want to find a producer that will push us to our absolute limit to get the best out of us, so that we can come back with a record that we know we’ve put everything we have into.

Interview Information

Taken At:

Islington Academy, London

Taken On:

April 30th, 2006


Hayley Williams
Josh Farro
Jeremy Davis

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