Much of Petals for Armor feels like a continuation of the work that Williams began with her band on After Laughter — only this time, with the help of space and therapy, she can both grieve and move on with clarity. She structured Petals for Armor in three distinct parts, with the songs moving from dark into light in both subject matter and sound. That pattern reflects her own recovery from all the trauma that resurfaced as she made the record.
She continued: “And I remember too Uzi asking me to do some stuff with him and I know that fans are going to be so pissed at me for saying this, but I literally wrote him back on Instagram and I was like, ‘Buddy, I love you so much, but I don’t want to be that famous.’ I told him like we were getting ready to take a break. I obviously had a lot of issues going on that no one really knew about and I was like, ‘Bro, I just need to disappear. I don’t want to be that kind of a famous person.’ Because that is…He’s like a big artist, man. My stepbrother is obsessed with them. He was pissed when I told him the story.”
She also shared a playlist.
Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes. 30 was a very important year. 31 will be too.”
“I’m putting out some music next year. With the help of some of my closest friends, I made something I’m going to call my own. It’s a really special project and you’ll get a taste of it in January.
Happy New Year, friends. Hayley Williams
Hype train, activated.
Courtney E. Smith, writing at Refinery 29:
Williams says the part of her new plaza she’s most looking forward to are panels she’s arranged, which span from education on CBD to a forum on sexual assault and the weight of that trauma. “The first time we started talking about the panels I was apprehensive because I wondered who would want to come to a festival to sit and listen to people talk?” Williams says. “But when I thought about the nature of community and connection being part of why people come to festivals in the first place — it’s to not only see their favorite artists, but to connect and feel.”
I think that Paramore primed me, for better or worse, it prepared me to let people down all the time. I think Paramore prepped me pretty well to make mistakes in front of people, [and helped me learn that] you’ve gotta put your pride aside.
The thing about companies is that they’re made of human beings. For instance, Brian and I have made a lot of mistakes in terms of formulation that we’ve had to correct. We’ve had to be transparent about those things. Some things you fix and they happen. I’m starting to understand how many mistakes happen in the beauty industry all of the time. We’re constantly improving and trying to correct and make sure that we’re doing the right thing.
Cariann Bradley, writing at L’odet:
I told Zac that if all three of us feel good about it, we do it. In moving forward, if the three of us are happy, then we will just do whatever we want to do. If that means collaborating with each other, bringing other friends in to collaborate — there are seven band members when we tour. We’re all friends and we all make music in different parts, together. So I feel like, yes, I want to be in Paramore. I never want to have to put out a press release that says we’re over or that I quit or that we’re taking a hiatus, which is essentially a marketing ploy these days. I would rather it just be. It just is a part of each of our DNA. If we choose to move into it as a brand and put a name on these songs and make a new t-shirt, then awesome. But I’ve been in a band with them since I was 12; I don’t think the band is going anywhere. As long as we’re friends, the band just is. It’s just in us.
This whole interview is fantastic.
Jenn Pelly, writing at NPR:
Williams has reflected, of late, about how the lack of young women musicians in her scene contributed to loneliness and self-loathing. “I doubted whether people would ever take me seriously,” she said. “I felt like I needed to be part of a boy’s club to make it. It really affected my sense of self and what I thought I owed people.” And so she would go twice as hard as the men she shared stages with. “I thought I had to be better than them to prove my worth,” she said. “I wish I’d learned sooner that [being a woman] is actually this incredible strength.”
There’s no other way to put it: Paramore are on the short list for the best band, and catalog, to come out of this music scene in the last twenty years.
In 2015, Williams says she was “just ready to go do something else.” On Friday night, they’re closing this chapter on great terms, and the future seems wide open.
“It feels like I’m holding the band in an open palm, versus grasping on to it like it’s the last thread of a rope that I’ve been hanging on to,” Williams says.
“I feel a bit more tenderness towards it, and I feel that it’s not something I can control whether it goes or stays. It’s a living thing, and I’m a part of it. It’s just relieving. I love my friends and I love music, so at the end of the day, whatever capacity that’s in, I think that’s gonna keep me going. That’s gonna keep me alive.”