Paramore may not have the official title of Hardest Working Band in the World, but a glance at their schedule proves they’re a solid contender for the honor. Since the April release of their eponymously titled, critically acclaimed fourth album (and first Billboard Top 200 No. 1), the Tennessee trio has been gigging relentlessly all over the world. This fall, they’re set to embark on the Self-Titled Tour, along with indie stalwarts Metric and pop-punk goofballs Hellogoodbye, which will take them to arenas around the country.
Before that, the band is in England for two shows at Wembley Arena. We caught up with lead singer Hayley Williams over the phone as she enjoyed a rare break at bassist Jeremy Davis’ wife’s family home at Milford-On-Sea. Nervous and excited for this next step in the Paramore evolution, Williams talked about the impact of the recent record, what the band hopes to achieve on this tour, and forgetting to email your heroes.
You’re going off on the Self-Titled Tour, which is the first time in a while that you’re headlining these big arenas in the United States. How does big playing the big rooms differ from playing in front of, say, 3,000 people?
We’re so excited. A little bit nervous, too. It’s been three years since we’ve done a proper tour in the States. Just the fact that our booking agent and our management felt like we could do an arena tour this year got us so fired up and so excited. We’ve been putting together a bigger production than we’ve done before, and a longer setlist than we’ve done. It feels real. And that’s so crazy, because when we were in the studio, nothing felt real. It sort of felt like we were waiting for a piano to drop from the sky! It’s crazy that the arena tour is happening. We’re ready to show the band that we can be.
Does this tour change what you’re hoping the band can become?
The biggest thing for us was writing this record. I thought that we grew a lot over the last three records, but when we started to record this one, it felt different. We would listen back to the demos and just be like “That’s Paramore? That’s so bizarre! That’s wild.” It made us really excited. We had to get there and release it out into the air, into the world. That was a huge thing for us, and it surprised us, and I think doing this arena tour is the next step. We can bring [Paramore] to life. It’s going to be a good way for us to find exactly what we want to be, and who we are.
Has any new song stood out as one that does something different live than you were expecting?
We started playing “Daydreaming,” and to me, I had such a good time playing it. It feels like we’re the best band in the entire world when we play it. It feels so good. “Last Hope” is really special as well. We always believed it would be. We love playing the fast songs, playing the hell out of them. They’re really fun, but something that I’m not sure that people know about our band is how emotional the shows can be. Having thousands of people sing along to the same idea, and maybe all feel different feelings about it and connect in different ways while still coming together on one common thing — to me, that’s what Paramore is.
You’re going to be joined by Metric and Hellogoodbye on this tour. Have you spoken to either band?
Yeah! The reason that we have ukuleles on this record is 100 percent due to the fact that we played this show in Hawaii with Hellogoodbye a couple of years ago, and we fiddled with [singer] Forrest [Kline]’s ukulele before going on stage. Immediately we got home and bought a ukulele and used it over the course of the writing process. So Hellogoodbye, we’re close with. We’ve done one show with them, but it feels like we’ve done way more. We’ve never met anyone from Metric, but we’re really big fans. I got Emily’s email address and I’ve been waiting to write her, but I keep forgetting! That’s classic me: forgetting everything!
Since the album came out, you guys have been touring nonstop. Has that made it hard to gauge the impact of the new album?
We had that moment when we found out the record went No. 1. We all got together and celebrated down the street from my house in Tennessee. It felt amazing, but it’s funny how quickly … it doesn’t fade, but you start to work more and tour, and things get really busy. It’s very easy to forget to be really proud and excited. Not in an obnoxious way, but there’s always going to be something new to achieve, some new goal. It can really start to feel like a race, but the moments when we do slow down enough to be like, “We’re really doing it, this record is #1,” — it’s the first time we’ve had something like that happen.
Speaking of new things, you have the Paramore cruise, Parahoy!, next year. When did you decide the band needed to do a cruise?
We got a call from our booking agent. We listen to each other’s ideas, and this was one of those bizarre ideas that our booking agent came to us with: “Have you guys ever wanted to do a cruise?” And we were like, “You know, we haven’t, but we do now!” It’s crazy, because I thought the idea too good to be true. Like, are people really going to spend that money and then go be stuck on a boat with loud music for a weekend? But then I thought, “Duh, of course they’re going to want to do that, because that’s awesome!”