hayley williams petals for armor, after laughter, paramore
[Photo by: Lindsey Byrnes]

While Hayley Williams was producing music with Paramore and, more recently, working on her solo debut Petals For Armorjust like any human being could, she struggled. In a recent interview, Williams opened up about her time working on After Laughter.

The singer recently dropped her first two singles off her new project with “Simmer” and “Leave It Alone.”

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“Simmer” marked the first original music from Williams since Paramore ended the After Laughter cycle and retired “Misery Business” in September 2018. The band haven’t played together since, and not much was said about the future of Paramore until June 2019 when they posted a muted video. Nothing transpired from it, however, and Williams does regret leaving fans question the band’s future. They took to Instagram, sharing a year-end post reflecting on the band’s time together before clarifying it didn’t mean a breakup was in store.

“Simmer” is also the first video in a continuing storyline that now progresses through “Simmer Interlude” and “Leave It Alone” Adorned with zip tie hairpieces, a flower petal forehead piece and scales, the surreal “Leave It Alone” video shows Hayley struggling to break free. It picks up right where “Simmer Interlude” leaves off.

In a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music, Williams opened up about the her experiences with Depression during Paramore’s 2017 After Laughter album cycle.

“During After Laughter it was really rough,” she admits. “My dog is the reason I’m alive, because he would’ve been waiting on me to get home, no matter what. You know how little sweet little puppies sit and they wait, I couldn’t think about it.”

Read more: Hayley Williams teases “more to the story” with “Simmer Interlude” video

“And I’m glad, you know? Life is still hard, it didn’t become a breeze overnight or anything and it’s been years and it’s still not a breeze, but it’s so rich and now that I’m taking account of all these feelings and I’m feeling all of them. There’s this beautiful rainbow versus just the deep end.”

She goes on to state that her depression was causing her to hide other feelings like anger.

“Taylor’s [York] the first person that ever told me anger is neither a bad nor a good emotion. It’s just an emotion, it’s a feeling, it’s a thing. You don’t have to assign it to something.”

“Just let it breathe,” she continues. “Just feel it. I had the hardest time being angry while we were writing After Laughter and I clearly had a lot of to be mad about, but I was depressed. I think often depression is masking other pointed feelings.”

She also admits that her struggles continued after the last Paramore tour.

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“All the things that I let go of, or I tried to let go of, when we went on tour just came crashing back down on top of me a few days after Art and Friends 2018. I had to go to intensive therapy. It was rough. It forced me to ask a lot of questions… I was making a lot of mistakes in my personal life. I was self-sabotaging left and right. And I joke about it in songs, Paramore songs, but it’s not funny to live it, right?”

Williams also expresses her inspirations for “Simmer” saying its her take on working in a male-dominated industry.
“Putting out a video like ‘Simmer’ has some heavy meaning for me,” she states. “Like the part with the red clay, which looks like chocolate pudding. I had a lot of visions and things going on when I was doing therapy. The flowers growing out of me grotesquely was one of them. But I kept thinking about, what is it to me to grow up in a man’s world, [in] an industry that I’m surrounded by men all the time?”
“I am a woman. How can I own that without shame? How can I just be proud about my feminine side, all of my feminine sides? Because I got masculine sides too. Everyone’s got both sides of it.  I feel like I’ve been so comfortable with this other side of myself that is so not feminine, that what does it feel like to step into femininity?”
Read more: Hayley Williams struggles to break free in moving “Leave It Alone” video
Williams reveals that her new album Petals For Armor is exactly that: armor.
“It’s the idea that being vulnerable is a shield,” she says. “Because how else can you be a human that’s inevitably gonna fuck up and trip in front of the world a million times. Your world could be a stage, or your world could be your job and your apartment. It is subjective.”
“I also feel more protected than I’ve ever felt going out, because of the fact, what is there to hide really? What is the problem with making mistakes? Are we scared of being canceled, or are we just scared of looking stupid?”

Check out the full interview below.

Hayley Willaims’ solo debut Petals For Armor will drop May 8 via Atlantic.

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