By Lilledeshan Bose
September 7, 2016
Ex-Paramore drummer Zac Farro’s solo project, HALFNOISE, has been compared to Tame Impala and M83 in its shiny, shimmery splendor. Farro, who drummed on Paramore’s first three albums before leaving the group in 2010, just started drumming with Paramore again. But HALFNOISE started as an outlet for his own songs. The solo act also showcases his versatility as a musician — HALFNOISE’s synthy pop couldn’t be more different from Paramore’s emo sound.
On September 9, Farro drops Sudden Feeling, HALFNOISE’s second full-length. Summer may almost be over, but you can extend those long, lazy days by listening to it.
Hometown and homebase: Nashville, TN
You were Paramore’s drummer, then left, then started HALFNOISE, then started playing with them again recently. Were you always sure you were going to be a musician?
There was a moment when I first played a drum set for the first time when I was nine years old that made me feel something I had never experienced before. It wasn’t till later on in life I discovered my love for the writing songs.
Your solo effort is a cool surprise, especially for all the Paramore fans out there. How did HALFNOISE come to be?
I took some time off the road in 2010. It was then that I discovered I wanted to create and record. That’s when I started HALFNOISE.
Why go solo, then, instead of forming another band?
I tried playing in a few bands after I stopped playing with my old band, but nothing felt as good as developing my own music. I had grown up in a band; it felt time to try and do something on my own.
How did you develop your sound as HALFNOISE?
I then moved to New Zealand for a few years and really discovered my love for writing HALFNOISE songs.
Why the name? Does it mean anything?
I wanted to go by a project name. I just liked the way HALFNOISE sounded and didn’t want to go by Zac Farro. It felt too normal for me.
What's your songwriting process like?
I normally start with a key or guitar part, then start building a track off that, then think of the lyrics and melody once a rhythm or slight structure is in place. It’s not always like that, but that’s the most consistent pattern I suppose.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
It might have been a break-up song called “Erase Me” — sounds so sad! [Laughs]
Who are your musical heroes?
The Beatles, Radiohead and Talking Heads. They were — are — game changers. The rhythm and melodic elements of the music and vocals are a massive inspiration for HALFNOISE. Probably [my biggest songwriting influence is] The Beatles. I feel like they were just as much limitless as accessible. They still inspire me every time I listen to them. Also, Afrobeat music and Talking Heads for the rhythm side of things.
What's the craziest thing a fan has ever done for you?
This may not be the craziest, but a few fans came up to Nashville from Cuba to see us play. That was amazing.
How do you describe your music to people who haven't heard it before?
I just say HALFNOISE is indie-pop with some electronic elements.
If you were a hashtag, what would you be?
Probably #lol. lol
What’s your big 2016 goal?
To release Sudden Feeling, tour it around and meet people!