INTERVIEW: Paramore Discusses Their “Weirdly Emotional” State Of Mind Just Before Their Big Album Release

After a turbulent couple of years, Paramore is officially putting the past firmly behind them with today’s release of Paramore, the band’s first album since the acrimonious departure of the Farro Brothers. The patron saints of the Warped Tour generation (as our own Jim Shearer dubbed them) have already knocked Justin Timberlake off the top of the iTunes charts, as their massive fanbase has been downloading their own official copy of the album in droves today. Before the band taped their segment on Big Morning Buzz Live, we were able to grab a few minutes with Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York in a quiet conference room where we talked about everything from shadow puppets to Black Flag tattoos to their current “weirdly emotional” state of mind.

VH1 TUNER: So, I know that it’s been a difficult couple of years for you guys on a personal and professional level, but your new album is out today! Hayley, you stated on your Twitter on Sunday night that you’re getting “weirdly emotional” about its release. Can you expound on that a bit, and why this release is stirring up feelings for you that you consider kind of “weird”?

HAYLEY WILLIAMS: One of our friends who shot our cover of AP texted me a super encouraging message for us all, and it just kinda caused me to think back on everything. We talk about the last two years all the time, and how crazy fast that it’s flown by, and I really was just thinking about the way each song happened, and the things we had to go through to get to that point. I just feel like sometimes you see things crystal clear, and then other times it’s foggy, but either way, you just kinda have to go with the flow. But last night, I felt like I really understood that every record that we’ve made, and all the things we’ve been though as a band, we had to get through them. We had to do those things. I feel like this record is our band’s purpose, and the reason that we all met in the first place. I feel like it’s the most important thing I have ever been a part of. So, yeah, it was weirdly emotional. (Laughs)

Now, I know that your album leaked a few weeks ago. How did you all react when you heard the news that it had gotten out early, and what does something like that mean to you?

JEREMY DAVIS: Of course it affects us. Instinctively, we expected it to happen. It was a surprise, but we knew it was coming at some point, we just didn’t know when. Of course, when you’re an artist, you want control of how things are presented, especially something we’re so proud of. We had this whole plan. It’s funny, we were told it would leak, but when it actually did, we were like “WHAT?!?” You just have to realize it is what it is, and thankfully the people who heard it were really positive about it. Sometimes leaks can be bad, and in our case, I think it was positive.
I loved your lyric video for “Still Into You” with the shadow puppets. Can you tell me a little bit about the evolution of that concept, as well as how you guys feel about the rise of lyric videos?

TAYLOR YORK: I feel like we always want to try and be as creative as possible. We don’t feel like we don’t ever do anything that’s so awesome. We’ve seen people make simple videos and we’ve been like, “Crap, why didn’t we think of that?!?” I feel like the lyric video was one of those moments that we’re like, “WE DID SOMETHING AWESOME! FOR, LIKE, NO MONEY!”

HW: He was filming it, he was lighting it.

TY: All while laying under the bed.

HW: His wife and I were doing the puppets, it was really fun.

With that said, what can you tell us about your quote-unquote “real” video for the song, which just came out today? (WATCH IT ABOVE.)

HW: I like it a lot. That’s it. (Laughs)

When we got [director Isaac Rentz’s] treatment, it really stood out among all the other treatments we got. A lot people sort of went with what you’d expect for a love song. You see the boy and the girl, and there’s this story… But Isaac’s treatment had more to do with what it feels like, and using imagery and situations that aren’t really “real life” to depict that. When you fall in love, anything sort of seems possible, and you have those giddy butterflies. We were just really having fun with the idea of that, and what it feels like versus what it looks like and what it is. We didn’t want to show the dates and the typical last big kiss — On top of that, I didn’t want to kiss some actor dude.

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I noticed that you guys have a symbol now. What are some of your favorite symbols in rock history, and can you tell us why you decided to explore adding some visual iconography to your band’s identity?

HW: We’ve never had a logo, you know? Even the font that we use for our band’s name, we’ve kind of been changing over the last couple of albums. We’ve just never had one concrete thing that our fans could kind of use or whatever. We’ve always wanted it, but nothing ever felt natural or right, so we didn’t force it. As we were doing a Singles club—which was like this series of 7 inch vinyls that we put out, one song on each for fans to grab off our website—we decided we all wanted to get a tattoo together, because we felt really close. We didn’t even come up with anything, we just sat down with a tattoo artist on Warped Tour on our bus, just come up with something really quick. Then we came up with doing these bars.

It’s really symbolized more in the negative space than it is the actual box that’s around it. The negative space is the three of us, and the bars and everything that makes up that negative space are all the people around us that have made Paramore what it is. Our fans, the people and our crew that we tour with, and our families. It’s fun, it happened really quick, and it means so much to us that we share this, and our fans share in it with us. It’s cool. Even like with this, we keep calling this the bars symbol, but my mind immediately goes to Black Flag when I think of the bars. They’re iconic! I can’t even count the number of times my friends have gotten that tattoo. I love that, and I love that we have something now that we feel is our own, and maybe our fans will get it, too. I’ve seen a couple of fans with this tattoo already, and it’s exciting.

In your song “Hello Cold World,” Hayley you sing that “22 is like the worst idea that I have ever had/It’s too much pain, it’s too much freedom what should I do with this.” And your good friend Taylor Swift also has an ode to 22 out. So, what’s so special about that age?

HW: Well, I’m starting to realize that it’s every age. 22 SUCKED. Taylor seems to be pretty positive about 22, but I did not like 22. That year was the year that everything fell apart within our band, so that was one thing. And I also felt like I was really trying to get a grasp on who I was; in my personal life, too. It just sucked! The whole thing just SUCKED. It was the WORST.

It’s funny, ’cause then I turned 23. And then we had a pretty amazing 2012, both for our band and for me. It was really fun, it was a year of rediscovery, and also figuring out who each of us are individually. I can look back at 23 and probably find things that sucked about that, too. (Laughs)

RELATED: SXSW 2013: Paramore Admits “They Didn’t Hold Back” In The Studio This Time Around

[Photos: VH1, Getty Images]