With the release of their sophomore album RIOT!, Paramore has rapidly become one of the most in-demand young rock bands around. Fronted by the vibrant 18-year old female prodigy Hayley Williams, Paramore was destined for stardom since their 2004 conception. The band hope to continue taking the world by storm by handling the headlining duties on this summer’s Warped Tour. RAG had the exclusive privilege to speak with guitarist Josh Farro about what it’s like being young and being loved.
Farro: Our music is really energetic and youthful. It’s definitely filled with raw emotion. I wouldn’t classify us as emo, although a lot of people do that. I think we have a new sound. A lot of people make the comparison to Avril Lavigne just because of the female lead, but I beg to differ. We’re a little more aggressive.
What makes the new album RIOT! different for the band this time around?
Farro: First of all, I feel like we were all much more comfortable with our instruments. For the first album, we were all so young when we recorded it. Zac Farro (drummer and brother of Josh) was only 13, I was 16, and Hayley was 15. Everything happened so fast. After two years of touring, we entered the studio to record RIOT! with such a familiarity with ourselves and a better understanding of our capabilities.
What is meant by the title RIOT!?
Farro: We really wanted a one word title for the album. I was looking in the dictionary one day and found the word “riot.” I discovered a meaning for it that stated “an uncontrolled outburst of emotions.” Hayley really liked that because a lot of the lyrics on this album can be considered emotional outbursts. They are all pretty straight to the point and even somewhat vicious at times. The title was a perfect fit.
What’s your favorite track off of the new album?
Farro: I’d probably have to say “Misery Business.” To me, it’s probably the most unique song we have ever written.
Briefly explain how Paramore’s writing process works.
Farro: I usually write the music and record it right away. Then I’ll give it to Hayley so that she can add lyrics and melody to it. From that, it builds into a complete band effort, where we’ll work on dynamics and complete the structure of the song. Sometimes, however, it ends up being the other way around. Hayley may come up with an idea and I will contribute to it shortly after.
Who are some of your main influences as
Farro: Jimmy Eat World is probably the most influential to us. Death Cab for Cutie has to be listed in there as well.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as a band thus far?
Farro: I think selling 42,000 records of RIOT! in the first week is pretty groundbreaking for us. We are completely surprised and humbled by the album’s success. We really can’t believe it.
How was it growing up with a musical sibling like Zac (drummer)?
Farro: It was really great! We started covering songs for a long time until we finally started writing our own material. It was great to be able to work on songs whenever we got bored.
Paramore’s big break came very uniquely in that you were actually discovered and signed by Atlantic Records. They actually thought it was wise to work out a deal with the indie label Fueled by Ramen to reach the kids in the scene’s “purest” form. How does the relationship between the labels affect the band?
Farro: Well, I would say that we are officially signed to Fueled by Ramen. We work a lot more with them, but both labels are involved somewhat. It has only been recently that we have seen Atlantic Records really getting involved with us. But you definitely have it right. Not a lot of people know that information.
Nobody in Paramore was older than 16 when the band was signed. How do you think your age has affected the band’s success?
Farro: It’s definitely an advantage. Kids can relate to us since we are going through the same things they are. Being young is really great also because if this band doesn’t work out, we have our whole lives ahead of us.
Since the band is so young, do you still have to deal with school on the road?
Farro: Unfortunately, we do. Being the oldest, I graduated high school early on. Hayley just recently finished up with home schooling on the road. Zac, the drummer, however, is struggling right now. It’s very difficult to stay focused when you’re surrounded by music and friends 24 hours a day.
You are co-headlining Warped Tour this summer. What does that responsibility mean for the band?
Farro: We’re just going to try and have fun. We’re going to make sure we go out there and present ourselves better this time around. Our live show is going to be tighter and more energetic. We’ve worked a lot on transitions and making the show very entertaining for everybody.
Aside from the release of RIOT!, what else is to come for the future of Paramore?
Farro: We’ve talked a little about a DVD. We have to get a lot of footage on Warped Tour this summer before we do that. As for the fall, we are going to the UK to do some festivals and probably do a European tour after that. After that, who knows? We have yet to observe all of our options at this point.