Who’s ready for Reading & Leeds? Hayley chatted with Cosmopolitan’s Kate Lucey about Paramore’s upcoming performances for the festivals as well as the band’s future, what it’s like being a woman in the music industry, and her hair dye line. You can read the interview on Cosmo’s website here or after the page break!
Ah Paramore. We sing them on the way home when we’re drunk, we sing Misery Business at a glass-smashing pitch at karaoke, and we’re a little too excited about their upcoming slot at Reading & Leeds festivals.
We caught up with lead singer Hayley Williams when she found a spare moment on the tour bus (currently on the Monument tour with Fall Out Boy, sigh…).
So where are you guys now, what can you see?
Yeah we’re on the road, passing through Michigan because we have a show in Detroit.
Everyone seems to be losing their crap about this tour on Twitter. Looks like it has been a lot of fun so far?
Yeah it’s sort of…I feel like we should’ve done it a long time ago. We [and Fall Out Boy] both kind of came from the same world, but came up and were able to grow and do things outside that world and be accepted. It’s really cool. I feel like it has been a long time coming, everyone is sort of celebrating every night.
We’re excited to have you back in August in the UK for Reading festival.
Yeah! We are too.
What is going on with this joint headliner thing with Queens of The Stone Age?
I don’t know, I guess they couldn’t decide which band is better.
So is it gonna be like… you play a song and then they play a song or you both come on and do everything together? Or you headline Leeds and they headline Reading or whatever?
I guess we’re like flip-flopping nights, but I think Queens is a better band. But I kind of have to say that anyway; it’s not nice to be conceited.
But it’s nice to be proud as well, Paramore are pretty sodding great.
Yeah, and I’m glad we finally made it to the very top. For that festival we’ve done a lot of playing before the main band.
It was a brilliant set last time you guys came over.
Yeah last time was before The Cure, it was INSANE.
So you’ve been touring your new album for about a year now.
Yeah, a year and a half. Crazy.
Is it still exciting to play it or are you a bit over it now?
It’s actually still exciting because it’s not like we’ve even covered the whole record yet as far as set lists and all that. We did a lot more on the cruise because we had a lot more time, but yeah I’m still not bored. I think it’s the best stuff we’ve ever done and it’s nice to show it off.
Can we expect any teasing of anything new at Reading,or are you going to stick to the hits?
Well it depends how long of a slot they give us. I’ve noticed on this tour that it’s a shorter set than if it was just one band doing the headlining, but sharing the bill you do play a shorter set. It doesn’t necessarily feel like it because you’re still putting on a big show, but you’re not playing the full…I mean by the end of last year we were hitting 100 minutes for our shows – but that’s long for a band like us, especially with a lot of fast songs.
And loads of jumping around all the time. Gotta have some comfy shoes.
Yeah, exactly. It’s really athletic. It kind of just depends, we haven’t really decided yet. I know we’ll probably do some sort of spin-off of the show we’re doing right now. We’ll see what we can fit in. I know there will be people there who have supported us for a long time, but I know there will probably be even more people who have never seen us. It’s about entertaining all of them.
EXCITING. So obviously things are going really well for you at the moment, and you’re clearly an ambitious lady. What’s left for you to achieve?
I don’t know. We’ve ticked of all the big goals. But maybe it’s the thing you discover along the way, you see which doors open and what kind of inspiration comes. As far as our careers so far, we just try to follow what we feel in our guts, about who we are as the three of us, the kind of music we do make, we wanna make, how does it all fit? How does it all express exactly where we are in that moment? We never want to chase or follow anything. We always want to be Paramore. We want to keep selling it out to people and keep gaining new supporters and family all over the world, so then it can grow and feel natural and not forced.
It’s a really good time for women in music at the mo isn’t it?
I love it, I think it’s really cool. It probably would have been really motivating 10 years ago if there would have been – in the particular scene we were coming up in – if there had been other girls my age that I could have bonded with or vented to or to be understood by. It was weird to be on the Warped Tour at 16 years old and being one of the only girls and being one of the only young kids fronting a band – but I think it just makes you stronger.
Now that I’m older and I’m seeing younger girls not just on the mic but in all positions, it’s really empowering. Hopefully other young girls are seeing it and thinking that it’s not that big of a deal and if this is what I want to do then I’ll just do it. Hopefully it’ll become something a little more normal to see. I noticed this year that the Warped Tour had a lot of bands on it that had one or more girls. It’s nice, it’s really nice to see. There is super great music coming from females at the moment anyway. I like being one of them.
We like you being one of them, too. But (downer, soz) nearly every woman in music talks about sexism in the industry – what kind of experiences of it have you had, if any?
I don’t think you really escape it, no matter how long you’ve been around. It was obviously louder when we were younger and a smaller band. And I think I paid more attention to it as well because I was so sensitive to anything that would come out. Playing shows, dudes would not know how to act with a girl on stage and all of a sudden there is a girl on the mic, which I think comes across as a position of authority sometimes. It’s funny to think that people might not know how to deal with that. But I learnt how to deal with it early on; it started with me heckling people back and having them kicked out of the room by people who were actually supportive in the crowd. Now I just ignore it.
One ignorant person’s opinion at a show doesn’t actually affect our reach or what I want to do as a person or a female. I try to pick my battles. When I see other bands dealing with it, I’m like “ahh it sucks,” because I remember how it felt when I was younger. I have a friend in a band called Candyhearts, and she sees a lot of stupid stuff online because they’re a new band that are up and coming. We talk about it all the time and I just try to encourage her. At the end of the day, the people that really matter are the people that are coming out and supporting you and doing this for other young girls that see you handle your shit in a really positive way.
Have you been given any advice along the way that’s like really stuck with you?
I mean, I would say, not really just pertaining to feminism or being a girl with men in this genre, but just in general Shirley Manson has been really really supportive and really really cool. She’s awesome to me in particular. I haven’t played shows with her in a really long time, but a year and a half ago when we did Soundwave it was the first tour we did for the self-titled album, and she was just so encouraging and was like, “We need badass girls, we need girls with attitudes, and girls who aren’t afraid to kick around onstage, and to not feel held back just because someone says you can’t do something.” It’s simple words, but she was just so encouraging, not even just about that subject but about our music and what we want as a band. She’s an incredible performer, an incredible writer, and I really respect her already, and to meet someone like that – sometimes you can meet your idols and it’s not all that bad.
You and Paramore as a whole have always been very good at championing individuality
That’s how I was in school too. I was kind of dressed a little different and I enjoyed it, you know, I like being different. Not that I really like people to stare at me but I don’t know. I guess when I was a kid I didn’t really understand what it meant, because I thought everyone should be a different person. I guess it just makes me feel more determined because I know that for every person that writes us, whether it’s on Twitter or anywhere, and says they’re having a hard time fitting in or they get bullied, I just feel like that’s me, you know, and I know what that felt like.
Music was a great escape, it really was. It doesn’t solve everything but it gives you validation to sit in a room and write a song or sit in a room with likeminded people who want to create as well. They aren’t exactly the same as you but they share the same goals, which is to self-express, and, I don’t know, I guess to me whether it’s colouring your hair or writing a poem, it should be what you want and you shouldn’t have to worry about what someone else thinks about it, that’s stupid.
Every time I go and see a Paramore show it’s full of girls with wild coloured hair, so that must be pretty great to see.
Yeah, I love it. It’s a lot more accepted now and it’s probably a lot more normal to see people with neon hair or crazy makeup, but I think that’s due to people standing up for their rights to express themselves, or just be silly, or dress loud or crazy. We need those people in the world otherwise we’re all going to end up walking around with briefcases and in suits and ties.
The funniest sight is the guys and I getting on to the plane, and everybody looks at us because we’re standing in the business line, and they’re like “Uhhh, this is the business line you need to go around”. We’re just like no no no, it’s cool, we paid our wages just like all these other guys in their ties and suits and stuff, and it’s nice that, not that this way of living is the way that everyone should live, but it’s nice that we were able to achieve what we wanted and we were able to make a living and able to do what we want by being ourselves. It’s nice to show the people, especially young kids, that it’s possible.
And you’ve got your own hair dye coming out this year or next year?
Yeah, I’m working on it right now. We’ve been in a lot of meetings and it’s really businessy which is crazy because it’s a very creative process. I don’t think that I’ve ever imagined starting a company that isn’t a band. It’s just different, I’m learning so much. I was actually studying some emails and business things last night that was really interesting. It’s a really fun process. When it’s to a stage when I can start inviting people into it and show them what’s happening, what’s going on and what it’s all about, then I will. Right now it’s too early on to let the cat out of the bag.
You should have some Paramore puns in the name like “Still into Blue”and “Aint it Plum”…
That’s such a good idea! I love puns, yeah, I’m sure there will be plenty of those.
Paramore are playing Reading & Leeds festivals this August and are absolutely going to be excellent. Oh, and single Ain’t It Fun is out in the UK on the 25th August. COINCIDENCE?