Highly successful albums, a string of accolades and international fame – Paramore have it all.
Three highly successful albums, a string of accolades and international fame – some would say that Paramore have it all. From humble beginnings in Tennessee to global recognition, the punk rock five-piece have made themselves a household name. What’s more, they’ve managed to keep their egos in check. The assumption that stardom is accompanied with an exaggerated sense of self worth is one that does not apply to this quintet or the man behind the rhythm, drummer Zac Farro.
"It’s really just a huge blessing honestly, we don’t deserve it," he says modestly of the band’s career. "We have worked hard, but it’s always a blessing once you get up to this level.
"At this level, people work with you to set up your gear and to help you get from place to place – you just have people helping you with everything! It is just like, ‘man, this is a really easy job’," he laughs.
After unending tales of artists with over-demanding riders and relentless complaints about the hardships of the music industry, it’s nice to hear a more positive reflection. But, then again, Paramore are not your typical band.
Formed in 2004, the dynamic collective found their feet in the industry while their members were still enjoying their mid-teens. In fact, Farro was only 14 when they ventured out on their first tour. "It is kind of hard to grow up out here," he admits of being on tour constantly. "It’s just a way different lifestyle to normal life. Not a lot of people can say they grew up on the road.
"There’s good and bad to it, just kind of like everything else. You miss your family, you miss your friends and the whole activity of going to school and seeing everyone. But, at the same time you have a lot of different experiences. It’s cool and we have now definitely all grown into our individual selves."
Aside from experiencing the industry from a younger perspective, Farro and his brother Josh – Paramore’s guitarist – also have their own way of keeping any potential ego issues under control. "For my brother and I, faith is definitely important to us," he reveals honestly. "We grew up in a Christian home and now it’s become more real in our lives as adults.
"So, for me this is really a huge blessing but it’s never something I put stock in," he elaborates. "I don’t rely on the money that we make and I don’t rely on any of that. It is really awesome to go to different places and see people – all these things are really cool, but at the same time, nothing is as important to me as my faith. I guess that’s how I keep myself level-headed."
Yet, as Farro explains, the majority of the media and fan attention is not directed at the ones who hold the instruments anyway. The one who’s constantly in the limelight is the quintet’s leading lady, fiery front-woman Hayley Williams.
"To be honest I think that a lot of the focus on the band is on Hayley, which is totally fine with all of us because we signed up knowing that she’s a girl, she’s got bright red hair, and she stands out," he openly admits. "All of the fame is on her and (it is good because) we didn’t want the fame, I mean I would never want that.
"Like I can walk down the street and people don’t even know who I am and I love that," he adds with a smile in his voice. "I can even walk around outside the venue of the show where all the fans are lined up."
And there are a lot of fans lining up.
All three of Paramore’s albums have been met with chart and certification accomplishments, but the five-piece’s latest effort, 2009’s Brand New Eyes, is their most successful release to date. The 11-track album has topped charts and reached gold status all over the world.
But for Farro, the process was just like any other album. "You kind of get the same talk from your label each time you have a record. Kind of like ‘this is the most important one’," he chuckles. "When you have your first record it’s like ‘ok, this is the first thing people are going to hear from you guys’, second one they’re like ‘this is your most important record, people have already heard about your band’, and then the third one it’s ‘this is the most important record because you guys have fans now’.
"So, there’s always pressure to do the best you can, but we just try to ignore that and kind of make whatever we feel is necessary for us."
And that’s exactly the approach they took with album number three. "I think we just kind of did what we always do, just go in with the same kind of process," he states. "Hayley and Josh write most of the music and Taylor helps out. Then we all put in our style, our little things to add on it."
Well if it works, stick to it. And the Paramore approach certainly works. Plus, the same process does not always equate to the same results. "Nothing too different happened on this record, but we definitely feel like we have progressed," Farro enthuses.
"We definitely tried to make softer songs softer, and harder songs harder on the other albums, but I feel like Riot and All We Know Is Falling are kind of straight forward," he explains. "They are exciting the whole way through and musically, they are all kind of up-beat.
"I feel like on this record, one song is really, really heavy and other songs are really, really poppy, then other songs are really, really slow and pretty. With this record, we definitely did what we kind of said we always wanted to do, which was to make it a lot more diverse."
And it seems as though everyone is happy with the results. The album was released in September 2009 and the band are still touring with it.
But how does Farro feel about it all? Well for him, at times he feels middle-aged and at others he feels like he is still that 14 year-old practicing after school.
"Sometimes I feel like I’m 45 years old and feel super old and really experienced. I have been on tour for a long time. But then again, sometimes I’ll be looking at it and think, ‘where did that time go?’"
PARAMORE return to Melbourne and play the Myer Music Bowl next Wednesday October 13. (It’s a licensed all ages show). Tickets from Arts Centre box office, 1300 182 183, ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100. Their latest album Brand New Eyes is out now through Universal.