Yesterday, Absolute Punk released an interview that they conducted with Hayley about the new album, which made for a very interesting read. You can read the full interview below, or click on the link above to be taken to AP's website:
I think the best place to start is talking about your new single "Now." Why did this end up being your first choice for a single? How would you describe it in relation to singles of the past?
To be honest, I was surprised that everyone - speaking of the label - was so ready to release "Now" first. It's quite heavy compared to some of the other songs. The thing is anyone could have picked any of the songs as first single and I would've been alright with it. That's unusual for me, personally. With past albums, I've had a really strong conviction about one particular song from each. For instance, the guys and I convinced a lot of people that "Misery Business" had to be our first single off RIOT! We just knew. That's not to say that we don't have strong feelings about "Now"... We just happen to have those strong feelings for every song on the album!
With your new album you decided to go Self-Titled. Do you feel that's a big statement? Band's tend to name their albums self-titled when they feel it's indicative of the sound they've been trying to craft. Do you feel this is the sound you've been trying to achieve with the band?
It just wouldn't seem right to try and force a name when these songs hit us like lightning. I mean, we couldn't have forced this album if we tried. And we did try, on occasion. Even though I know the writing process was grueling at times, when I think back on it, all the songs just sort of ended up happening! They worked and it really felt natural. We called the record what it is. It's really us. I hope that that says something important to our fans.
How did the writing process differ this time around as opposed to the past? Without rehashing the past, it must have been a change of pace without two of the original members. Do you feel the change helped you, Jeremy, and Taylor grow as songwriters and artists?
Absolutely. I am so thankful for all that we have been through. You really do learn more from the bad... I believe that. It just does something to your perspective and I have never seen the three of us so clearly. Taylor and Jerm are so talented. We all really needed each other during this process because yes, at first, it was strange and uncharted territory. Then again, if we hadn't been forced into it, we might've never made a voluntary decision to open up ourselves up to all possibilities. Musically, I think the biggest growth has come from Taylor now being a primary songwriter for the band. You'll hear his mad-scientist personality come out a lot on this album, where before he didn't have quite the same opportunity. Jeremy, as usual, came up with some of the coolest bass lines. Until writing this album, I hadn't heard him play that way since the early days, when we met. I'm proud of my friends, they killed it.
Lyrically, do you think this album is going to have a different feel because of where you all are in this point in your life? You, of course, with your relationship with Chad Gilbert, Jeremy's marriage and everything else that has happened in the past four years.
For the last 2 years, I have finally gotten the time and the space I needed to grow up and become a woman. So, yeah... I'd say that my lyrics have an inherently different feel. Hopefully, they grew up with me. As far as love goes, I'm deeper in it than ever. Seeing one of my best friends so happily married does inspires me in a great way to keep believing in love. It's hard, man! I really have to fight the realist in me at times. Nonetheless, there are a couple of really fun love songs on this album. I'm sure there'll always be that pissed off, teenage angst inside me as long as I'm living in this crazy world. But geez, it felt extremely liberating to just feel everything for once.
I've heard through the grapevine that the sound of the new album could be compared to the likes of Metric, is this true at all and what were some of your influences when it came to writing and recording?
I'd be lying if I said we didn't collectively listen to more electronic music during this process than ever before. I think it's just because that genre is super hot right now. Even so, I wouldn't say we sound like any of those bands. It sounds more like someone let us loose in a blow up castle full of instruments and we just bounced around it in for a few days with... purpose? Taylor was listening to Alt-J a lot, I was listening to that Sirius XM channel called "1st Wave" every day just getting my gothy vibes on in the car, and Jeremy keeps us well versed in new hip-hop. No dubstep was jammed in the making of this album.
By the time the album is released it will be over 3 and a half years since you released your last full length, Brand New Eyes. This gap has been the longest break between albums for you as band (sans the Singles Club), do you feel that it has created a new kind of pressure for the album?
Actually, I feel it created the opposite. Even though we never really went anywhere, we needed to go away for a minute. The drama was boring for me so I can't imagine how boring it must've been for fans. Especially for people who weren't fans! I could almost hear them, "Ugh, there goes Paramore again acting like a bunch of schoolyard brats!" The time we had was a good way to let the dust settle and it feels like we're getting a second chance. Maybe now people can hear the music for what it is and not for the same old story that was on the cover of every little magazine.
As for album details, can you share any additional info about the record? Like song titles, album length, etc?
This is the longest album we've ever recorded. I'm proud of that. To be honest, when we started writing it, even completing 5 songs seemed like an impossibility! As for titles, I'm not sure why we still haven't released the track listing, but I should probably wait for that before I go ruining surprises like I always do!
You already have some international dates announced with mewithoutYou in February and then a few festival performances to follow after that. When can people expect to see Paramore and can you give us a hint of who will be joining you? Maybe another go with Tegan and Sara?
The dates overseas with mewithoutYou are just the beginning! We want to be everywhere as much as we can. I can't believe we are kicking everything off with my favorite band ever. Life is wild. We had the band Kitten open our show in Pomona, CA last year, and we'd like to play with them more. I love Candy Hearts so much and think our fans would love them live. Also, if we could play some shows with Shiny Toy Guns then my friend Carah and I could shred a few stages together. She is the best. Basically, there are a lot of incredible ladies in music who I am so excited about and 2013 is going to be a big year for all of them, with or without a Paramore tour.
Aside from the questions about the new album, the readers wanted to know if you have any plans to ever release any solo material? Or maybe even some form of side project with Chad?
Solo project? Who knows! I am even more into Paramore than I was before. Didn't think that was possible! So, I can't really think that far ahead. As far as projects with Chad go... I can barely keep up with him! He shows me like 10 new song ideas a day! It's actually so inspiring. We write and play together just for fun but no joint projects to speak of. Let the record show though, if he ever records an "Enter Sandman" cover on acoustic guitar, that it was I who taught him the correct way to play it.
You can just mark that down that as a joint project. You toured with No Doubt a few years, who have been one of the most iconic female fronted rock bands of all time. Did Gwen have any tricks of the trade or knowledge to share with you?
Gwen is amazing. She's down to earth and she works her ass off. I can't even stress how much she does on one single tour day. There was never one thing she said that stuck but there was always plenty to be encouraged by. The fact alone that that band is still together is motivation enough, right? I'm not sure if this will come off the right way, but by seeing her life and everything she does, I can say that I wish fame and success weren't things that go hand in hand with each other in the music business. The "fame" part of music is bogus anyway. I will be ecstatic if our album does well and people love it... but I'll still feel dumb every time we go to LA and some paparazzi guy - who doesn't even have a clue who I am - starts taking pictures of me and calling me "Kayley". I'll still be embarrassed if we're walking down a red carpet, all dressed up, and someone asks me what I think of Miley Cyrus' new haircut. Are you kidding me? That's really what it means to be called "famous" in this country and that stuff is meaningless. I like the work part, the creative part, and the connection I get to make with real people because of music. So when people tell me that I'm the next Gwen Stefani, I don't think about the Gwen that I see on the cover of a magazine. I think about the girl who wrote "Simple Kind Of Life" and now, years later, smiles every night on stage when she sings the line, "I always thought I'd be a mom". She has personal goals and dreams and she's reached a lot of them. I think she'd still want all of those things even if there was no one watching.
Can we expect you to lend guest vocals to any new music like you did with mewithoutYou? If not, is there anyone you would like to work with?
I'd love to work with Bruno Mars. Motown music and old R&B is some of my favorite stuff and he just reeks of it. It's not just an influence for him. I mean, like it seems to be running through his veins. Jeremy and Taylor love that stuff too, so it could be fun to sort of be his "backing band" for a song. There's also Glen Hansard of The Swell Season. When I wrote "In The Mourning" (from the Singles Club), his voice was in my head.
Even though you're playing huge shows now, you're still revered as one of "those" that made is from the scene like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and now Fun. and people respect your opinion when it comes to music. What are some of the smaller bands that you think people should be listening to?
Well, thank you. That really means a lot. I know I mentioned a couple of these bands before but they're worth mentioning again. I really think Kitten is going to make their mark soon. Chloe is a star and a dancing fool! People should get into them now while they are still a smaller band. Same goes for Candy Hearts. Opposite end of the musical spectrum. Mariel is a real storyteller. Her lyrics are the kind that young people, especially girls, can dig into and hopefully feel less alone. Diamond Youth is another band I'm really into at the moment. It's nice to hear a guy really really singing for a rock band. Lastly, some of our label mates, Twenty One Pilots. Good grief. If this band isn't huge in a year then there's no justice in the world.
Is there anything you want to say to the readers to close this up?
Thank you for reading all my long-winded answers. I'm just so excited to get back out there. If you've been a fan for a while, thank you for sticking with us through all the BS. If you're not a fan and you're just reading this cause you're bored or something… I hope we make a fan out of you with our new album. I fully believe it has the power!
Thank you so much Hayley!
You are welcome! Thank you!And if that isn't enough for you? Hayley and Taylor also did an interview together for Rolling Stone:
INTERVIEWER: Musically, where did you want to go after 'Brand New Eyes'?
HAYLEY: 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.
INTERVIEWER: Did you think at any point that Paramore was going to end?
HAYLEY: 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.
INTERVIEWER: Did it surprise you in the way that the two guys you grew up with, started the band with, just walked away?
TAYLOR: 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.
HAYLEY: I don't think Taylor could have said it any better. The fact that two guys left the band and then we decided not give up, but then a year later we wrote what to me is our best album yet? Everything happens for a reason so, as cliché as it sounds, I can't afford to look at it any differently.
INTERVIWER: How do you think everything the band went through came out in the new songs?
HAYLEY: I know how it came out musically, because I was there watching Taylor come up with all of these riffs and all these things that you'd never been able to hear him express fully, because as much as Taylor played leads onstage, you couldn't really hear his personality, because there were a lot of guitars on stage. So for me it was really fun to write this record with him, because I think before this record the last time we sat down in a room alone and wrote a song together was when we were 12 and 13 years old. All of a sudden I saw this mad scientist come out of him, and he just became really an incredible producer as well. He was doing all of our demos and all of our tracks for that, and it was great. And that inspired me so much to write the way that I wrote this time around. For the first time, I'm not angry on every song, I'm not spitting lyrics. I'm singing lyrics, and it's nice. It just feels good. And sure ,there's still songs where I dig into matters of pain, and matters of the heart and more introspective stuff, but I was able to look at that in a new way. I don't really feel like I'm standing there screaming at a wall anymore. It felt so healthy to write it.
INTERVIEWER: Was the huge success of 'Airplanes' [B.o.B.'s 2010 pop hit featuring Williams] a surprise for you?
HAYLEY: Yeah, that was a total surprise. When I heard the song I loved it. I felt like "Wow, this could really be something," and all the guys were like "Wow, you have to do that, that's rad." It just worked out. I love B.o.B., and that sort of partnership seemed to work perfectly, and the song was fun to sing. It couldn't have been a better first little soiree to that whole scene. I felt really loved and accepted. It was cool.
INTERVIEWER: Do you see yourself doing more of that stuff in the future, as a solo artist?
HAYLEY: Um, I don't know. It depends on what comes along. Especially with this album, I think we all started to see how versatile we are as a band, and maybe in areas we just weren't willing to open ourselves up to. We sort of – we let ourselves try these things. It depends on what comes along. I'm definitely open to anything that really inspires me, so it just depends on a few things. I definitely don't feel like it would cause a rift or anything with our band. I think we all support each other in those little adventures.
INTERVIEWER: I heard a lot more pop influences on this record.
TAYLOR: Yeah, we've talked about it a bunch recently, but it was funny going into this record, I think, realizing where we came from and why fans in the past have connected with us – I think we were so focused on that, so I would just try to write these kind of Paramore songs, just like I would use the Paramore formula and try to write, like, these heavy guitar riffs . . . I was really focused on writing like that, and I'd concept these songs and bring them to Hayley and she'd be like, "Eh, it's cool, but I just don't feel it," and it would be something random that I had kind of just written that I wrote for myself, so I told her "You'd never like this in a billion years," and that was what she'd connect to. I don't think we knew that we were going to write super poppy songs or dance-y songs, but it just kind of happened. It was really scary, but it was really cool.
INTERVIEWER: How long did it take to adjust to the new lineup?
HAYLEY: Well, one thing that was really good for us, we went on a mini tour. We went to South America. We did some stuff overseas and a few shows on Warped Tour. We kind of just threw ourselves into it. There wasn't a whole lot of time to sit around and sulk or be too scientific about too much. The three of us just fell into our roles and made it work. Not to say that there weren't the little awkward hang-ups now and then, because we had to get used to this new version of who we were as a band. Personally, it caused a little bit of an identity crisis for all three of us. It was just like, "Let's just go. Let's just move forward."
INTERVIEWER: I know Josh Freese has been touring with you. Have you guys settled on a drummer yet?
TAYLOR: After all the member changes and all the drama, we just want to make sure that at least the three of us can hold it together. For now, we're kind of going day by day and just trying to figure it out. We have friends who are going to play with us, but we don't have a solid lineup for a drummer. My brother plays guitar with us, and my friend John plays guitar and keys, so I think they're going to be hopefully more of a permanent fixture, but we're still trying to figure out the whole drummer thing.
INTERVIEWER: When are you guys thinking of doing a full tour?
HAYLEY: Honestly, we're still trying to figure that out. Our record comes out in April. I would assume we're going to start touring in early spring.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think you guys finally settled on a lineup that will be around for a while?
HAYLEY: Well, John and Justin have been playing with us for a few years now. I mean, you don't see them in the photos or whatnot, and who knows if that'll be something that we do in the future, but our fans know them, they're a part of our touring family. Literally for Taylor – it's his brother onstage with him. So they're definitely a permanent thing for us. As far as a drummer goes, I don't think that we have found the perfect fit yet, but when we do that'll be something that we have to figure out. For us, touring is already such a family lifestyle anyways – everyone that tours with us, our crew, most of them have been with us for years and years now. We like it to feel like that. We like that our fans know Riley, our guitar tech. We like that because we like those people to understand how much we appreciate them and how much we value them. So I don't know about the drummer, but everything else in Paramore camp, as far as the touring goes, is pretty permanent.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have any relationship with Josh and Zac now? Do you talk to them?
TAYLOR: Time is a beautiful thing, and we're letting that do its thing.I'm sure that there will be more interview coming your way soon (hopefully, one with the full band, or one with Jeremy, so we get the chance to hear every member's view!).
Watch this space.