‘It was the worst day of my life,’ says Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams of the day, almost three years ago, her ex-bandmate and ex-boyfriend, Josh Farro, wrote a blog denouncing his old group as a ‘manufactured product of a major label’ in which the members were treated ‘as less important than Hayley’.Farro, the guitarist, and his brother Zac, the drummer, had recently left the group.
‘I’d look like a 14-year-old writing bullet points rebutting everything he said – it would have been immature and ridiculous for us to put the people who follow our band through that. A lot of people will believe that stuff but the people who like our music will still come to the shows.
It took a lot of restraint and a lot of faith.’ To add to the strain, the split came after achieving their greatest success – their third album, 2009’s Brand New Eyes, reached No.1 in Britain.
What followed was some soul-searching between Williams, 24, and the remaining members, guitarist Taylor York and bass player Jeremy Davis, over what to do next.
‘There were days I’d wake up and think, “this is pointless”,’ she says.
‘There were times I thought I’d have to get another job.
I’d written all the songs with Josh, I’d hardly written with anyone else, it was definitely scary.’ Hours of drinking tea in York’s kitchen ensued.
‘It took three weeks of talking and venting,’ says Williams. I said: “We’ve written a bit together before in the past, kind of, barely, and we can do this, it’s fine, let’s go for it…’” The resulting collection of songs, their self-titled fourth album, reached No.1 in Britain and the US in April and spawned top 20 single Still Into You – a mainstream pop number with a video that sees the trio monkeying around on bikes.
It’s a bit of a departure from their usual pop-punk sound. ‘We knew we’d have to convince some people but it’s been a very positive experience for us,’ she says. We’ve always been too rock for pop and too pop for rock.
We didn’t set out to be a punk or pop band, we’re just Paramore. To cut it short, when it comes to what category we’re in, I really couldn’t possibly care any less.’ She says if you want to understand Paramore, you need to see one of their shows.
I went to their i Tunes gig and was still a bit perplexed.
They’re perceived as an ‘alternative’ act: Hayley does some headbanging and ska-esque dancing; there are rockier numbers such as single Now, next to out-and-out pop stuff such as Still Into You and Ain’t It Fun.