Hayley Williams on Paramore's Biggest Tour Ever: 'Arenas Were Always the Goal'

"I'm ready to show people what we're about," the singer tells THR. "If they don’t already know, then they'll get it on this tour!"
Nigel Crane

“The set list is the longest we’ve ever put together; The show is the biggest production we’ve ever put together. But besides all of that, I feel like the connection is going to be crazy!"

So says Hayley Williams of Paramore, who will embark on the most ambitious headlining tour of the Franklin, Tenn. band's nearly decade-long career. "We play shows for the sheer fact that we get to scream the words into people’s faces and those people can scream the words back to us," she continues. "I’m just ready to show people what we’re about. If they don’t already know, then they’re gonna get it on this tour!”

The tour represents the fulfillment of a significant change for the group, who suffered the dramatic loss of two bands members after their 2009 album Brand New Eyes. Williams, along with bandmates Taylor York and Jeremy Davis, feel that the period of growth they’ve experience with Paramore reflects how much they’ve overcome.

“That was always the goal: to be able to play arenas in America,” Williams tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We want to bring the fans that have been on this journey with us for the past eight years into these rooms and say ‘You did this for us.’ And bring in all these new faces and show them what we’re about. After that, sure, we’ll play bigger shows but we’re so happy with where we’re at right now. That’s the difference in the band that we were before and the band that we’re becoming -- we’re so content with where we’re at.”

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The band’s tour, which features openers Metric and hellogoodbye, kicks off Tuesday night at Seattle’s Key Arena and concludes in late November when Paramore heads to Australia.

On the heels of their first No. 1 album, Paramore, dropped in April, and its second single “Still Into You,” which is currently No. 25 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and No. 13 on Alternative Songs, Paramore also announced their first cruise, PARAHOY!, which runs March 7-11, 2014 from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay. The concert on the sea will also feature Tegan and Sara, New Found Glory, Shiny Toy Guns, Bad Rabbits, mewithoutYou and Ladytron’s Reuben Yu. The aim was to encompass all styles of music -- not just artists that Paramore would traditionally tour with. The idea came about simply because the band wanted to try something different.

“It’s something that we’ve never done before,” Williams says. “We were talking to our booking agent about it -- we have two we’ve worked with since day one -- and we were like ‘We want to do something different and we just want it to be fun!’ We didn’t need any convincing. I was a little nervous that fans weren’t going to be into it, like, ‘Why would we want to spend money to go on a boat like a bunch of old folks?’ It’s been really cool to see all the people who are coming out of the woodwork to be a part of it. I don’t think I’ve been so excited about anything in a long time.”

That the lineup includes New Found Glory is a bonus for Williams since her boyfriend Chad Gilbert counts himself a member. The singer is looking forward to a real opportunity to perform alongside Gilbert since Paramore rarely plays shows with the pop-punk band anymore.

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“We don’t really do a whole lot of tours with New Found Glory but their shows are insane,” Williams says. “The fact that they’re going to play on a boat is a little bit scary to me. Their fans are nuts -- everyone sings along and goes crazy -- so I’m really excited about that.”

Williams also recently appeared on Zedd’s new single “Stay The Night,” a swooping EDM number that showcases William’s powerhouse voice. The Paramore singer is no stranger to genre crossover -- she appeared on B.o.B.’s 2010 hit “Airplanes” -- but this song's behind-the-scenes story compelled as well. John Janick, President and COO of Interscope, brought Williams onboard for the single, which was meaningful because Janick was formerly head of Paramore’s label Fueled By Ramen.

“Not only did I get to try something completely different and work with John Janick again, but I also got to write a little bit and really invest in the song,” Williams notes. “Put my personal taste and my viewpoint in it. The whole vibe of it has been so cool for me to try out and have fun with.”

Williams says she and Zedd will likely perform the single live at some point, but “it would need to be the right setting.” Paramore is also planning to drop album track “Ain’t It Fun” as their next single, although Williams isn’t sure when that will be.

“We never expected ‘Still Into You’ to be going for this long,” Williams says. “We just know whenever its course is done we want to put out ‘Ain’t It Fun.’ I think there’s going to be a lot of Paramore going on in the next six months."

Twitter: @emilyzemler