The fourth and final day of the Parahoy! cruise combined a little bit of everything that made the voyage memorable. Aside from Paramore, every artist on board played a set, and even though the hosts didn’t perform, they still left a personal touch on the four-day journey.
Following a punchy New Found Glory pool deck show, Hayley Williams and Taylor York took the stage to answer questions from a handful of lucky fans. People repping Brooklyn, South Africa, Brazil, and more hit the pair with their pre-selected questions and a sprawling crowd — almost the size of the one that came out for Paramore’s show the previous night — learned a whole lot about their heroes’ personal lives. Hayley would have liked to study criminology had she gone to college, York geeks out on Radiohead and both of them seemed very warm to the idea of a third Parahoy! cruise. In fact, Williams said she’d love to have twenty one pilots join them. York stuck to Thom Yorke… and Enya and Kenny G.
When asked about her bucket list goals for the year, Williams replied, “Make a fifth record,” to a massive round of applause. This echoed the band’s words onstage the previous night; it certainly appears Paramore will ramp up work on their next studio album in 2016.
Prior to the Q&A, Williams joined her new husband Chad Gilbert and the rest of New Found Glory onstage for a performance of their collaborative track “Vicious Love.” This was towards the end of NFG’s third set on board, and fans who’d been patiently hoping for a Williams cameo (adorned in one of the band’s matching Hawaiian shirts) finally got their wish. NFG are veteran holdovers from the 2014 cruise, so by the time you’re playing your sixth lifetime Parahoy! set, you know how to get the pool deck going. The quartet mixed in newer cuts like the Hayley collab with old favorites like “My Friends Over You” and “All Downhill From Here,” along with some help from fans invited onstage. If you’re a hardcore dude like they are, you know how to share the mic.
The previous day, the entire band sat down with Billboard for a comprehensive Q&A about all things popping in New Found Glory land. Be on the lookout for a longer version on Billboard.com soon, but for now, here are some highlights from the talk:
Chad Gilbert on a honeymoon (or lack thereof) with Hayley Williams:
“If someone asks me the best day of my life, it was definitely [our recent wedding]. All my friends, my band, her band, all the people from L.A., Boston, Miami. It was perfect. For us to finally get married was awesome… [On the cruise] she has a lot of meet and greets with fans… We’ll probably go on another trip when we have time. We’ve been together for eight years and we have fun wherever we are. Everything feels like a honeymoon.”
Ian Grushka on getting sober, losing a lot of weight and working out more:
“I went to the doctor and did a physical. We did a heart and breathing test…. He said, basically, your stomach’s so big that it’s pushing your abdomen up and blocking 50% of your breathing and putting pressure on your lungs. Either you do something or you’re gonna have a heart attack. So that was the wake up call. With partying, I knew it wouldn’t be easy while doing that, so I did it all at once. I have two kids so I can’t go having a heart attack. It was time to step up and that was the kick in the ass that I needed.”
On playing as a four-piece:
Grushka: “We had only played one show as a four-piece before the last cruise. It was still very new to us, whereas now it just feels normal.”
Gilbert: “Any band that has toured with us and then seen us now has said we’re way better live now.”
New Found Glory wasn’t the only band Hayley Williams made a surprise appearance with. For their March 8 pool deck set, Mewithoutyou was joined by Williams (a vocal superfan) for the final two songs of their set: “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume” and “All Circles.” The Paramore singer came on rather unassumingly, and broke into some dance moves with each of the members in between her vocal contributions to the songs. And just like that, she was off, along with the band, who capped off a 75-minute set they’ll be sure to remember for a long time.
In the hours that followed, the artists on board did their best to send off Parahoy!’s second voyage. In the Stardust Theatre, X Ambassadors closed off their set — to an even grander reception than three nights prior — with “Renegades” and “Jungle.” In the center atrium, a lengthy DJ set from Fueled By Ramen Presents Nashville Is the Reason brought pop punk kids to a tizzy with many old school (and newer) jams and finally closed with Saves the Day’s “At Your Funeral” around 1 a.m. And out on the pool deck stage, playing to a fervent crowd that included members of New Found Glory and Vacationer, Chvrches closed out Parahoy! 2016’s live music with “The Mother We Share.” Frontwoman Lauren Mayberry was careful to correct herself after insinuating the song was the last live song of Parahoy!, period. It certainly seems like the world’s leading alternative music cruise could return for another year.
Prior to her nighttime pool deck set, Billboard chatted with Lights for an upcoming episode of the Alt In Our Stars podcast. Here is a taste of what’s to come:
On traveling with her two-year old daughter Rocket:
“I don’t think she knows she’s on a cruise. I don’t really know how much she’s aware of her surroundings, but she seems to enjoy it.”
On what Rocket thinks of Lights’ music:
“She was born and raised on it. When I was pregnant I was writing my last record. She knows all those songs from their inception. Sometimes I sing when I’m warming up and she tells me to be quiet: ‘Shhh!’”
On playing stormy seas:
“It was windy as hell, almost blew me over. I was standing at the edge, at the barricade, and I thought I was gonna fall. it was pretty terrifying — or it wasn’t terrifying, it was thrilling.”
And finally, we chatted with X Ambassadors before their Stardust Theater set.
Sam Harris, on how his lifestyle has changed since the band hit it big with “Renegades”:
“The main thing that has changed is our schedules are a lot more packed-in. We’re traveling all the time. None us have really gotten home for more than a week at a time… It’s nice because we’ve been doing this for so long and we always believed in ourselves and expected ourselves to get to this point.”
On the prospect of new music:
Harris: We’re the sort of band that basically writes and records on the road. We were basically starting to write stuff for the next album as we were mixing the past album. We have a lot of songs. We have a lot of partial songs. We want to run with this current album as far as it will take us and then we’ll have more than enough material to drop something pretty awesome. I don’t want to give any timeframes, but we’ve got stuff on the burners. We have material, but we can’t let you see it yet.
To get alerted as soon as the complete interviews with New Found Glory, Lights, X Ambassadors, and go live, subscribe to the Alt In Our Stars podcast on iTunes.
Check back on Billboard.com later today for the grand finale of our Parahoy! coverage — our top ten things seen and heard over the entire cruise!