Aidin Vaziri | Paramore went through a major shakeup a few years ago, when founding guitarist Josh Farro and drummer Zac Farro abruptly left the band in a huff. After the dust settled, singer Hayley Williams, 24, decided to carry on with guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis. The Tennessee group headed for Los Angeles to make its self-titled fourth album with producer Justin Meldal-Johnson, who has worked with Beck and M83, among others. The band emerged with its first No. 1-charting release. Williams talked to us about surviving the breakup.
Q: On the days you thought of walking away from Paramore, what did you think you would do with the rest of your life?
A: I thought maybe I would just go work in a coffee shop because at the end of the day there was no guarantee that the songs we were coming up with were going to work. I’m a pretty realistic person. I don’t expect this to last forever. We’re just thankful we get to keep doing it.
Q: You lived on your own in Los Angeles for a while to clear your head. Were you lonely or did you devour every moment of anonymity?
A: It was a little bit of both. We needed some time for ourselves to figure out what we were going to do next. At the core of it, we were losing friends. That was difficult. I couldn’t stand being around the memories or people there (in Tennessee). I moved out to Los Angeles a few weeks before the rest of the band was going to come out to make the album. I found out really quickly that you can’t run away from your problems. That’s why so much of the album is about growing up and rising above the things that happen in your life. Looking back, it was one of the most important periods of my life.