Hayley for The New Yorker: we need to feel safe together for a moment

Amanda Petrusich from The New Yorker met with Hayley for Hayley Williams, Wothout A Guidebook publication. The interview is now published, you can read it here and see a gorgeous photo of Williams taken by Peyton Fulford.

Hayley talks growing up, signing first record deal, the fall tour and the upcoming tour with Taylor Swift, PTSD and her solo projects.

Some quotes from the interview:

The very first song [Paramore] wrote was called “Conspiracy.” I wrote it about finally feeling like my dreams had come true, because all I wanted as a kid was to meet music people. Then, the next thing I know, everyone wanted to draw me out of the band setting. I chalk that up to what was working in pop music at the time: the Avrils, the fact that Kelly Clarkson was making a pop-rock album. We didn’t only meet with Atlantic Records. I mean, God, I met Clive Davis, L.A. Reid. It was such a whirlwind. “Conspiracy” was about my parents telling me that these great opportunities are coming to me, and I might have to make sacrifices. And I was thinking, I just don’t care if we never play a show as long as I can play music with my friends.

With the two solo records, I was able to dredge up a lot of things that really needed to be seen and heard. That was good for me. This record, I think I was kidding myself a little bit, thinking that I had arrived at a good place where I’m wiser, I’m more stable. I could see very quickly in the middle of recording the record, and even now as we’re more public—oh, shit. There are no answers. I think it’s interesting to just be learning with people.

We wanted to do a run of theatre shows [last fall] because of the intimacy. We just wanted it to feel beautiful and close and sweaty. We’re gonna open for two of Taylor [Swift]’s shows in Arizona, for her “Eras” tour. I know I’ll be nervous, but when I get up there I feel so free. I’m with the people that I trust most in the world. My bandmates are family. We’ve grown up together.

On the fall run that we did, it was tough—a lot of us got covid. I was getting over covid when I had to sing “All I Wanted” at the Vegas show. I was, like, What am I doing? Why did I say yes to this fucking song? Aside from the health stuff, it was just weird to be back on the road again. I had some days that were pretty tough. But, as soon as we got onstage, I felt so comforted by all those faces. Our crowds, thankfully, are super diverse. They really reflect the world that I would love to see. That aspect also made me feel safe. It made me feel like—all right, well, the news sucks, but there are still these beautiful faces, and these people that are getting through things, too. We all just need a release. We need to feel safe together for a moment. That’s what brings me joy.