When we were 15 we were having sleepovers, revising for exams, and eating a lot of junk food. Hayley Williams on the other hand was putting together a band and writing the music we’d be throwing our hands in the air to in just a few short years. Doesn’t it make you just the tiniest bit jealous?
Green eyes aside, the band Paramore have been somewhat of a phenomenon, speaking to teens, pop-lovers, alt-fans and wannabe-punks across the world since they exploded onto the scene with All We Know is Falling in 2004. They were the answer to many a youth’s yearning for something more than the bubble-gum, manufactured pop of the early noughties. For us, in leadsinger Hayley Williams, we found an alternative style icon we didn’t know we even needed.
From her metallic orange hair to fitted t-shirts and Dr Martens, us Topshop girls have a serious soft spot for Hayley Williams’ under-done punk-inspired look. (Did we mention she’s wearing a much-loved Dweeb t-shirt from Topshop in her video for Still Into You?) This lady’s locks alone have influenced millions of fluorescent tresses and even inspired a standout copper and coral make-up range for MAC.
Style aside, Hayley and the boys have championed their own brand of emo-pop perfectly. After three albums, a very public band shake-up and all still in their early 20s, Paramore are back with a record Hayley describes as, “needing to find whatever’s next.” Undoubtedly the pressure is on for their first foray as a threesome but we’re equally not surprised to find the album an all around good ‘un. Most surprisingly is how much brighter it is; brimming with energy, high-octane melodies and a lot less of that teenage angst and a little more sweetness than what’s come before. Fear not, it’s a far cry from the saccharine teeny-boppers out there but some of our favourite moments have come from Hayley’s new opportunities to flex her vocal cords – an emotional Hate to See Your Heart Break and a very soulful Ain’t It Fun – are our top tracks to hear Hayley rock the mic.
We spoke to the busiest women in the music biz — as she tours across the states – to get the low down on writing a new album in a very new way, what she’s listening to and being a t-shirt and jeans girl.
How did the band’s new make-up alter the album making experience?
Everything with us works differently now. The writing process was the most insane head trip. Taylor stepped up into a primary writing role and I’ve been wondering why we ever waited so long to start writing songs together. He is a mad scientist when it comes to composing music and experimenting with sounds. It was all very new and it made the writing and recording process the most fun we’ve ever had creating for Paramore.
Was there an element of catharsis in the album’s creation or a central inspiration behind the album as a whole?
I guess the main idea behind the whole thing is getting up in the morning and just putting one foot in front of the other. Growing up. Rising above your own past and people’s limited expectations of you.
Did living in LA rather than Tennessee influence your music?
Yeah, I feel like it totally did. For one, it’s constantly sunny there. Almost to the point of it being obnoxious! Haha. The vibe went along with most of the songs we were writing. On top of that, it was good to get away from familiar places and comforts and all that.
We’re big fans of your style here – do you work with a stylist to perfect it?
If we’re doing a video or a big performance, our friend Elizabeth Barrois styles us. Well, except for Taylor. He’s adopted the Johnny Cash uniform. All black everything. For the most part though I really just like to dress myself. I know I’m not great at it… I don’t even know anything about fashion but I think that’s why I can enjoy it.
What are some of your favourite designers or brands to wear?
Do you have any style icons or women in music whose aesthetic you appreciate?
Siouxsie Sioux, Cyndi Lauper, Gwen in the ’90s, Missy Elliot in the ’90s —remember the trash bag?—, oh and Scary Spice.
What music are you currently listening to?
What are your touring must-haves?
I like the bus to feel like home. Candles, aromatherapy oils, herbal teas… And then of course my computer and other technical crap, which is why the world needs candles and aromatherapy in the first place.
Do you have any shows you’re particularly excited about playing?
We’re playing my favorite ballroom theater type venue in NYC next month. The Hammerstein Ballroom. It’s completely gorgeous. The contrast between the whole place and our music and our fans and all the sweat is perfect to me.
If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be?
I never can decide who’d be the most interesting or the most fun. I’m also not great at co-writes. It makes me nervous. Writing lyrics and all that feels so personal. How do people sit down in the same room and do that with strangers? Maybe I’ll find out someday…
Watch the latest music video from Paramore, Still Into You, and get Hayley’s Topshop t-shirt here.