A more mature Paramore eyes longevity
For a band that often seemed as if it thrived on a certain amount of turmoil and angst in members’ personal and professional lives, critically acclaimed rock group Paramore now sits at the top of the charts, looking content.
“Yes, we are just really happy,” gushed Paramore front woman Hayley Williams, the fiery siren behind the Nashville, Tenn., trio. “Everything has changed for the better. I’m glad that we all get along and that, collectively, we know for a fact and without any doubt that the three of us want to be here more than anything.”
No longer reeling from the 2010 departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro, Williams seems to now be thriving alongside the talents of bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York. The recent release of the bad’s self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking the group’s first visit to the top spot. Throw in a wildly successful headlining tour and a new and much brighter-sounding single, “Still Into You,” into the mix, and Paramore’s members finds themselves as a drastically changed band from the one that first got together in Nashville back in 2004.
“I guess it’s the simple things that I am loving the most these days,” remarked Williams from a Phoenix, Ariz., tour stop. “Jeremy is now getting to take charge of more of the production and visual elements of our show, and he has never been able to do that before. Taylor has taken the role of our own musical wizard. I’m handling more of our merchandise sales. It’s really cool how everyone has moved into their own separate roles within the band and taking interest in things besides just the writing of the music. It’s actually been quite a liberating journey for all of us.”
Indeed, the journey of Paramore has never been more evident than within the range of styles on display on the band’s new release, effortlessly travelling from the ferocious and rocking energy of “Fast In My Car” to the touch of twang in “Hate to See Your Heart Break.”
“With this album, we wanted to be honest with ourselves about what made us tick as artists,” Williams said. “We didn’t know it at the time, but in the past, we were being very close-minded about the music we thought we were capable of. But whenever we pushed ourselves, we realized we could do more. We didn’t say no to any idea unless we tried it at least twice.”
The recent evolution of Paramore is evident not only in the band’s music and lyrics, but also in the venues on the current tour. “I know some fans are going to be bummed because there is no pit,” laughed Williams of Paramore’s tour stop at the Chicago Theatre on May 9.
“We are normally a band that plays at venues with zero seats so the fans can run around where they want. This time, when we were deciding on venues, we were intrigued by these beautiful theaters that were grand and timeless, so the Chicago Theatre was a no-brainer.”
Paramore is growing up. “Our priorities have changed, most definitely,” Williams said. “We want people to hear something in our music that they won’t forget. We want to sound like a great and timeless band.”
Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.