I truly believe that magic happens during a live concert. There has to be magic for an audience to fully lose themselves in an artist’s words or a beat or a moment. According to Zac Farro, drummer of iconic pop rock band Paramore, and frontman of experimental musical project HALFNOISE, there is less and less magic during live shows and he is out to conjure that fading light. “People tend to wait for the song they know and they expect the band to play it,” he says of certain live shows.
Farro was a founding member of Paramore at the ripe age of 14 alongside Hayley Williams and his brother Josh Farro. In 2010, with years of experience performing under his belt, Farro began working on a side-project, HALFNOISE. The project was initially psychedelic and adventurous, and totally separate from Paramore. “I always tried to write for Paramore when I was young and it was always a little too moody and electric,” Farro admits, adding that since writing songs for HALFNOISE, his narrative has shifted vastly. HALFNOISE evokes a sense of whimsy and self-discovery through the retro riffs and reflective lyrics in songs like “Who Could You Be” and the latest single, “Natural Disguise.”
“The main theme of HALFNOISE is to not disguise yourself. It’s like taking off that mask and finding out who you could be. It’s asking myself, who are you and really being yourself to everyone. It’s about being vulnerable,” Farro says.
Farro has always aimed to have HALFNOISE and Paramore exist in two totally different worlds of music, although he says that they have become slightly similar because he is leaning more towards a rock vibe in HALFNOISE than in the project’s early days. One of the very first HALFNOISE songs Farro wrote was “Scooby’s In The Back” and personally, I first heard it performed live at a Paramore concert. “It wasn’t really my choicce,” Farro says with a laugh. “Hayley [Williams] and Taylor [York] would come to a lot of HALFNOISE shows and a lot of friends would jump on stage. It started when Taylor came and jumped on stage. We didn’t have a lot of songs so we would play “Scooby,” and then leave and come back and play “Scooby” again.” Shortly after these impromptu on-stage jam sessions started, Taylor York suggested integrating HALFNOISE songs into the Paramore setlist. “I love having both; being in an independent band and having that shadow of Paramore. Most people know Paramore and it’s cool. I like that it’s kind of building from the ground up. We have actual fans now that have been there for a while then we have the Paramore fans come in.”
HALFNOISE is set to release a new studio album, Natural Disguise, on October 4 via his label Congrats Records and it will be the first album fully self-produced by Farro. “It’s been a long time. I think it’s cool that we are playing more festivals now, whereas before we just did our own shows and played the songs at Paramore shows,” Farro says of the growing fanbase for HALFNOISE. “Slowly people kind of figured out about HALFNOISE. I think its cool that it kind of took time to develop the sound.”
With a groovy sound and a funky jam-band vibe, Zac Farro wants audiences to experience the magic of his band. “I think it’s really special to have a really good live band that can jam and play, and I want people to see that.”
Watch the official video for “Natural Disguise” below and stay tuned for HALFNOISE’s next live show.