April 19, 2017


Paramore Reflect on Rocky Journey to New Album, 'After Laughter'

Lindsey Byrnes
Lindsey Byrnes

If you haven't heard the news yet, Paramore is back! The pop-punk trio is prepping the spring release of their fifth album After Laughter, and they opened up to New York Times about the shaky road that led to the project's creation. For one, the album wasn't going to happen.

“You can run on the fumes of being a teenager for as long as you want, but eventually life hits you really hard,” Hayley Williams said. “I didn’t even know if we were going to make another record. There was a moment when I didn’t even want it to happen. Then it was like, I want it to happen, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it.” The singer has always been open with fans about depression and mental health, and the dark cloud that took over the band's three-year hiatus became a source of inspiration.

“There was a little bit of a dark side creeping in to Hayley’s psyche,” said audio engineer Carlos de la Garza, who did this new record as well as the last one. "Something was eating at her, and she was able to use a lot of that as fuel for lyrics.” She also weighed on the topic, commenting: “I couldn’t imagine putting something on an album that says ‘life’s great, everything’s cool, party with me.'" That discontent is reflected in the LP's song titles like lead single "Hard Times," "Grudges," "Fake Happy" and "No Friend."

Fans can expect a different, refreshed sound on the new album where the band "dipped into cleaner, more rhythmic and synth-kissed textures of the ’70s and ’80s, owing to recent obsessions with Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Cyndi Lauper and Blondie." Guitarist Taylor York says they “can do whatever we want and then when Hayley gets on it, that’s what makes it Paramore." He continued, "We’ve gotten to a point with our new music where we don’t really want to headbang anymore.”

"Yet throughout the years, they've always stayed true to their punk roots. We’ve somehow earned our freedom,” York said. "I can’t imagine getting up there and playing a Max Martin song. At that point we might as well just stop.” Williams also recalled their early days: "If we were booked on a bill with all dudes that were twice as old as us I wanted to be better than any of them. I didn’t care if they had a penis or not. I had to be great at my job.”

Click here for the full NYT interview and look out for After Laughter, the follow-up to 2013's Paramore, on May 12. The album marks the return of drummer Zac Farro. Next, watch a baby Paramore talk about their first band meeting in this 2007 clip: