Paramore‘s Hayley Williams, Taylor York and Zac Farro joined Zane Lowe for a Beats 1 interview on Thursday (May 11), offering the stories behind their new album After Laughter and touching on much more.
Over the past several years, the band has seen a number of lineup changes with bassist Jeremy Davis leaving the group in 2015 and later suing the group, while drummer Zac Farro rejoined the group on this their after leaving in 2010 with brother guitarist Josh Farro. The issue of inner-band and even personal conflict seeped through much of the subject matter, as well as the flip-side of now reuniting with Zac Farro for this fifth studio album. And, from the sounds of it, after more than a decade running, things are at an all time high for the band, who claim to be learning to say no when necessary.
“I think for so long we kind of felt like we had to push ourselves so hard to prove it and it just wore us down so hard,” said York. “And that’s life, everyone in their occupation no matter what it is gets worn down. It’s not like you can just do things however you want. But I think we we’re like we have such a rad job and such a cool opportunity to play together and the fact that people like what we’re doing and are connecting or at least having fun… And so can we protect our souls a little bit more? And maybe we don’t do a couple things that the labels are like, ‘This is big!’ Maybe we turn some of those down so we can be happy. We want to work hard. And actually the crazy thing is even though we want to take care of ourselves more, I think we’re more excited to tour that we’ve ever been…”
Williams also explained the meaning behind After Laughter‘s latest single “Told You So,” and that it’s about times in her life when following her heart or her gut wound up leading to heartache.
“I’ve lost friendships or whatever and everyone has, it’s not unique to being in a band, but I just kept feeling like I’ve always been in this position where I felt like there were people kinda waiting to tell me that they knew what the outcome was gonna be and I was the only one that didn’t see it,” she said.
“I mean had we not been through everything we’ve been through until this point, we wouldn’t be sitting here and we wouldn’t be enjoying it the way that we do and we wouldn’t have the deep kind of very honest friendships that we do now that feel life-giving. So that’s kinda where the song started and then it did become about this looking at my life sort of having a bit of an existential thing about it. Like this is just gonna keep happening till I die, you know like I’m just gonna keep kind of — just a big cycle. And I guess that’s okay, as long as I can find moments where I know I’m where I’m supposed to be then I guess I’ll know that there was purpose in the hard stuff.”
As for lead single “Hard Times,” the band explained it felt like a natural fit as the first track they would release, until they started getting seeking outside opinions.
“When you’re recording, you’re around the same people everyday and you just kind of are working in this vacuum and the energy from song to song is very tangible based on who’s there and knowing who’s connecting to what more,” said York. “I think there was just some sort of a gut thing that we had in the studio, like, ‘This is probably our first single.’ We started showing people the record. For the first time we started getting outside opinions which really threw us off. So we were like, ‘OK maybe not.’ Maybe this isn’t smart.”
Listen to the full interview below as it airs live on Beats 1. The interview will re-air at midnight EST with music, when After Laughter is released.