Between a No. 1 album, two People’s Choice Award nominations and their first nation-wide arena tour, 2013 has been a busy year for Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York of Paramore. Before their concert Saturday night at the Patriot Center, lead vocalist Williams caught up with A&E about the whirlwind year.
A&E: First of all, congratulations on your People’s Choice Award nominations for Favorite Band and Favorite Alternative Band. What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated?
Williams: It’s amazing and it kind of reminds me of being a kid and watching the different awards shows ... my favorite bands or my favorite artists, I wanted to see them win. I wanted to see them perform. It sort of takes me back. So really more than anything, its nostalgic in a weird way. Sometimes I feel disconnected from it because usually we’re on tour and we’re really, really busy and we’ll usually find out about it over Twitter. Our fans keep us more informed than anyone.
A&E: This is really the first arena tour you all have done. How is this experience different than playing some of those smaller venues?
Williams: This is our first arena tour ever. This is a big deal for us. I think a huge part of it is the pressure; and it’s positive, it’s not a negative thing at all. It’s more like you feel a massive amount of possibility. We want our shows to be worthy of these big rooms. Like, we’re playing Madison Square Garden and that’s crazy. Knowing that at the top of this tour, it was like, alright every show that we do has to be ... better. It’s a chance to really show our fans how far we’ve come and how far they’ve brought us through the years.
A&E: Hellogoodbye and Metric are the two bands opening for you on this tour. Did you all know each other?
Williams: We’re fans of both bands. Hellogoodbye, we did a show with them in Hawaii ... It was such an awesome night and our bands fit really well together even though the music is very different. Hellogoodbye actually inspired Taylor [Paramore’s bassist] to buy a ukulele after that show. I would say they’re a massive reason we have the ukulele on this record. And then, of course, Metric is huge. I cant believe they’re on this tour and they’re opening for us. Metric is just amazing. When they play, I’m usually getting ready or warming up and I hear them and it literally sounds like heaven. I can’t describe it any other way.
A&E: Your latest, self-titled album came out in April and has had enormous success, shooting to No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. What makes this album different from past Paramore records?
Williams: This is the first album for us as a trio which at one point we thought was going to be a handicap almost. We thought it would be a hindrance. But we realized right about four or five demos into the process that it was actually becoming a strength.
A&E: So is it fair to say some of the inspiration for the album comes from the changes you’ve gone through as a band over the last several years, including the departure of two founding members?
Williams: I think of this record more as a journey in rebuilding in reinvention of us not only as a group but as three individuals. We went through so much. It’s not a ‘woe, is me’ album. It’s a very positive record. We talk a lot about things that I’ve been through ... coming into my own. We talk about the three of us, how we’ve become stronger as friends. It’s really personal and yet they’re not angry [songs]. I tried really hard to stay away from writing angry songs.
A&E: Who do you consider to be some of your musical influences, and who specifically influenced you on this record?
Williams: For me personally, I wold say artists like Blondie, The Cure. I love new wave and dark wave and sort of that whole 80s movement. It really hits me. While working on this record I was listening to Blondie nonstop. As a band, I mean its really hard to pinpoint because we all listen to such different music. We like all sorts of music, even down to pop and R&B and all that.
A&E: When you’re working on a record, can you ever anticipate the success or impact it’s going to have?
Williams: You never expect it. It’s never certain but you always hope for it. More than anything, you want to be true to yourself and produce something that is good that will be well-received, really well-supported, and [people] are excited about. We’re not ever going to compromise what we love .... but we love when what were doing just naturally happens to work.
A&E: What kind of transformation do you feel like you’ve gone through as a band this last year?
Williams: This year has been really long and it’s been the most work that we’ve ever done, but it’s so cool to see the way our music has changed and grown and the way our fans have grown with us; newer fans, older fans and younger fans. Now we’re on this tour and it’s a celebration of the year we’ve had. It’s opened our world up. It took a lot for us to open our mind and make this record and not be so protective and just sort of let go ... it’s been such a positive change for us.