10 bands who wouldn’t be here without Paramore
Their last album After Laughter might have been an altogether slicker, mainstream-courting affair, but for many people Paramore remain the ultimate expression of bouncily overwrought mid-2000s emo and pop-punk goodness. Those early records in particular inspired a generation to pick up a guitar, microphone or journal.
Many were also inspired by Hayley Williams’ rise to prominence in what was still very much a male-dominated world. There’s certainly a case for saying that the Paramore singer in particular paved the way for a lot of musicians that followed, but female-fronted is not a genre, and some have spent their careers trying to get away from comparisons just because they play pop-punk or rock and happen to have a female singer. So you won’t find Tonight Alive or We Are The In Crowd on here ‘just because’. Instead, here are 10 bands who wear their Paramore love openly, and quite possibly wouldn’t be here without them…
Lynn Gunn is certainly one of those who wears her love of all things Paramore on her sleeve. She first saw the band opening up for Jimmy Eat World when she was in seventh grade and says it was a life-changing experience. She told Radio.com, “I just remember that night after watching them perform I was like, ‘Okay, that’s what I want to do. I want to do that one day.’ Ever since, I’ve been working towards it.” On Hayley in particular, she added, “You see someone else doing that up there and you’re like, ‘I could do that, she’s just like me. That was a realisation point, because she was a young girl just going up and completely killing it. I can do that if I want to.”
Against The Current
Against The Current’s Chrissy Costanza is another singer who took her inspiration from Hayley Williams – and not just vocally. In a message to her hero on International Women’s Day, she tweeted: “I had no idea how to be a frontwoman. How to command a room. I didn’t know how to allow myself to be empowered… Hayley changed all that. She showed me that it’s okay for girls to get mad. It’s okay for girls to be powerful, to lead, to command, to conquer. It’s okay to break down that door and stomp on the implicit ‘no girls allowed’ sign.”
Don’t go thinking it’s only women who were inspired by Paramore. Pop-punk princes State Champs have paid tribute via a cover of Playing God, as well as Stay The Night by Zedd featuring Hayley Williams on Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6. Speaking of the latter, frontman Derek DiScanio told The Aquarian: “Hayley and Paramore have always been a vocalist and a band that I’ve looked up to. Even though she’s a girl and I’m a guy, it doesn’t mean I can’t be influenced by her, so it was cool to try to sing the stuff that she can because she’s a powerhouse as a female vocalist.”
And sometimes it’s not even about the singers. Gasp. VUKOVI’s Janine Shilstone told the Daily Record that the constant Paramore comparisons “really bothered me at first” – especially as she wasn’t a massive fan. Guitarist Hamish Reilly, however, named Paramore’s 2013 self-titled album as one of his own most influential. He told The Skinny, “This album was a game changer for me in many ways. It easily became my most-listened-to and overall favourite album back when it was released. I just couldn’t believe how mature yet still unbearably catchy the songwriting was. I just think they nailed the theme and overall feel and tone of the record. So many hooks, so many cool new sounds I’d never heard before, and it was huge!”
Doll Skin have been most often compared to early proto-punk and power-pop luminaries The Runaways and The Go-Go’s, as well as more recent garage punk torchbearers The Donnas. In an interview with VICE, however, they listed a more modern rock roster of influences with Paramore at the forefront. Bassist Nicole Rich has also talked about the importance of seeing a role model like Hayley up there doing it. “As young girls we grew up listening to a lot of guys in bands, and once I started hearing bands like Paramore it was like, ‘Wow, we can do this too?’ ” she told Rock Sound. “Girls seeing other girls playing music has a domino effect and representation is so important.”
This Wild Life
Beardy acoustic rock duos might not be the first thing you think of in terms of Paramore’s influence, but This Wild Life come from a pop-punk and emo background and list the Tennessee superstars as one of their biggest inspirations. And, unlike many on this list, it’s the latter albums that have had a major impact. Both members cited Paramore’s 2013 self-titled album as a favourite, and vocalist/guitarist Kevin Jordan told The Noise that After Laughter had a major influence on 2018 outing Petaluma. “That record is so fun and upbeat but those lyrics are really heavy,” he said. “They’re super emotional, dramatic as hell. But the songs, there’s a juxtaposition there, they feel super happy and super positive and energetic. And I Iove that record – it spoke to me a lot.”
Set It Off
Paramore’s evolution from a more or less straightforward pop-punk format to experimental and then pure pop sounds has also been inspirational for many. Floridians Set It Off have followed a similar musical trajectory, if several rungs further down the ladder of success, but Cody Carson still remembers the impact that hearing emo classic Riot! had on his younger self. “I had Riot! on repeat from the day it came out,” he said. “I was so impressed by the production, songwriting, and overall talent throughout the record. I was even lucky enough to see Paramore at Warped Tour when I attended as a fan. They blew me away across the board. They still do, and Hayley continues to inspire me to this day.”
Dance Gavin Dance
Dance Gavin Dance emerged not long after Paramore and with a spikier post-hardcore sound. It might be a stretch to say they wouldn’t exist without them, but the fact that the Sacramento band have drawn their own influence illustrates just how pervasive Paramore’s presence has been for a generation of disparate bands. Regarding the writing for 2018’s more experimental Artificial Selection in particular, singer Tilian Pearson told Alternative Press that, “I was listening to the new Paramore album so there’s 100 per cent chance that had an influence on it.”
Waterparks are a band with a lot of influences and elements, but it all centres around that chewy pop-rock base and one of their primary inspirations was – yep – Paramore. “When Riot! came out, I remember trying to sing along with the songs to work on expanding my vocal range super often,” frontman Awsten Knight told Rock Sound. “Unfortunately, I’ll never unhear how bad I was at Hallelujah, but I fucking murdered Fences and Crushcrushcrush.”
Lil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert’s love of Paramore first became public knowledge when he tweeted a clip of himself listening to Ain’t It Fun – although it wasn’t really a surprise to fans familiar with his emo-trap hybrid. In a subsequent interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 Radio he singled out Hayley as one of the primary influences on his songwriting. “She’s like the best,” he gushed. “It’s hard to top that. She’s like the best, just of my generation… There’s nobody, bro.” Hayley turned down a collaboration with the rapper, despite saying she loved his music. She told Zane: “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.’”
Read this next:
Turnstile’s awesome song Holiday soundtracks a brand-new Good Dye Young commercial – which features Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Waterparks’ Awsten Knight.
Hear State Champs’ absolutely wicked cover of Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave track.