Paramore offers proof that not everyone in the pop-punk underground views the tween-rock mainstream with disdain. The band’s rise has been the result of consistent hard work since Hayley first met Josh Farro (guitar) and his younger brother Zac (drums) while they were together in school. After adding Jeremy Davis (bass), Paramore was formed in 2004. They played their first show in Nashville, and were soon building a local fanbase. After just a few months of gigging, the band had their first big break in early 2005, when Fueled By Ramen founder John Janick saw them at a gig in Florida . He was instantly struck by their presence and their dedication, and he immediately signed the band to the label. As Hayley says, “Fueled By Ramen has been amazing to us. So many kids started checking us out because our name is on their roster. It’s like a big family; we all share such a massive unit of fans.”
Upon the release of their debut album, “All We Know Is Falling,” in the summer of 2005, the music community began taking immediate notice of the band. The New York Times and Spin hailed the album, singling out Hayley as a star in the making. Nonstop touring throughout 2006 with bands such as Straylight Run and Simple Plan, combined with show-stealing festival performances at Warped and Bamboozle, continued to build the momentum. The year culminated with a sold-out headlining tour of North America in the fall of 2006, as well as successful tours of both Europe and Japan .
The accolades continued as 2006 came to a close. After an overwhelming response to a U.K. tour at the end of the year, Kerrang! readers voted Paramore as the “Best New Band” and Hayley as the #2 “Sexiest Female.” NME named Paramore one of the ten acts to watch in their “New Noise 2007” feature, proclaiming Williams as “young, articulate and with plenty to say.” Some bands would begin to get nervous with those kinds of accolades. Not Paramore. “I love getting all the ‘Next Big Thing’ notices,” says Hayley with a grin. Josh continues, “The first few years everything was new to us and we made a name for ourselves as a band in a lot of places."
On Riot!, the Tennessee quartet’s recent major-label debut released in 2007, flame-haired frontwoman Hayley Williams channels the wronged-chick angst of “Since U Been Gone” over her bandmates’ polished power-chord rave-ups; unlike too many of their fellow Warped Tour acts, these kids understand that the best way to describe big emotions is with big choruses.
Riot! turned Paramore into industry darlings, going platinum within its first 13 months of release and earning the band a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.
As Hayley explains, “For us, the title ‘Riot!’ literally means an unbridled outburst of emotions. When we were writing, it seemed like our thoughts and emotions were coming out so fast that we couldn’t control them. It felt like there was a riot within us. So the album takes our passion to a new level; it’s just all raw energy.”
That raw energy and passion is evident in “Misery Business,” a song that has its origins in a message Hayley put on the band’s Live Journal page, asking her fans to post what they’re ashamed of. “I found that people really were reaching out to someone to spill their guts to,” she recalls, “So I did the same thing lyrically in the song and let everything out. It’s more honest than anything I’ve ever written, and the guys matched that emotion musically.”
The connection with their audience is most evident in “Born For This,” a song that was specifically written for their fans. “We wrote it as a message to them,” Hayley explains. “They’re going to take us to the next level. Everything they’ve done has helped us so much… it’s really kept us going.” And to drive that point home, the band held an online contest for fans, with the winners getting to sing gang vocals on the song.
In addition, Paramore has also found the time to contribute two songs to the Twilight soundtrack, including the Top 40 single "Decode." A live album entitled The Final Riot! was released in 2008.
"Next big things" come and go, but it is obvious that Paramore has something special – both talent and staying power. “We all have such a love and passion for this music,” says Josh. “We’re lucky to have made such a connection with our fans that we’re making a difference in their lives.”