To say it’s been a busy eighteen months for Halfnoise is a bit of an understatement. Since the release of ‘The Velvet Face’ EP in March last year, Zac Farro hasn’t just had one project on the go; he’s also been the full time percussion backbone for Paramore, who have had – let’s just say – quite the year too.
And yet, between touring the world, playing festivals and performing at his own solo shows, he’s somehow found time to work on new EP ‘Flowerss’. “I started writing for it in the summer last year…” he begins, back on terra firma in Nashville following Paramore’s massive Parahoy! cruise. “It’s kinda hard to remember because there’s been so much going on!”
Born from a set of “ideas [he] had been noodling around with earlier in the year”, ‘Flowerss’ builds upon the woozy psychedelic nature of its predecessor and saw him joined by seven or eight friends in the studio – including now-bandmates Joey Howard, Logan Mackenzie, Daniel Kadawatha and Joey Mullen - some of whom you’ll also recognise from playing in Paramore’s extended live band - who added to recording “community style”.
“I always like to write when we have off time, as it’s a really therapeutic space for me. It’s a space to escape,” explains. “With the last EP, I had it all down to a tee and knew exactly what I wanted to do, had it all mapped out. But with this EP, I remember thinking that I really wanted to release more music, but being terrified of all the songs even sounding as though they were from the same planet. Then, one day I was talking to Taylor [York, Paramore’s guitarist], and he told me, ‘I’d be worried if you felt like you had it all together.’ That’s when the best stuff comes out, when you’re at least a little bit terrified of it.”
“I feel as though you can feel the freedom.”
— Zac Farro
Heading into the studio in late summer, the whole process was about “having people participate, and not having these walls built up.” Instead of regular sessions, he’d invite friends down as and when they could make it, to contribute in whatever way worked best. “Because everything is so structured in my life, I wanted this EP to feel different to all the other things going on. I feel as though you can feel that freedom. It was a really special process for me.”
While precision and planning was overtaken by what felt most organic when recording - “if there were excitable yells, or someone picked up the tambourine too early, we left ‘em in there because that adds to the feeling and the bigger picture” - there’s a tangible human element to Zac’s lyrics, too.
“It’s so funny how you have to be aware of what you’re feeling to know how to act, but you can also get stuck within your mind,” he says. Across the EP, he plays with the idea of overthinking so much that life eventually passes by. “I have to think about things and process them, but I can operate out of the bad thoughts in my head so much that I don’t even enjoy the present. That doesn’t just happen in a relationship or a friendship, it happens reading a book or listening to a record. I’ll be so in my head that I’m not even enjoying it. Being present is such a hard concept nowadays.” Navigating the present might be a task keeping Zac on his toes, but Halfnoise’s future’s looking like smooth sailing.
'Flowerss' is out now via Congrats.
Taken from the May issue of DIY. Read online or subscribe below.
Photos: Emma Swann / DIY