Get to know Halfnoise – Exclusive interview

­Zac Farro is a name that will seem familiar to many a 00’s rock fan – after rising to fame as part of the Paramore powerhouse, Zac is now steadily making waves with his new musical venture, Halfnoise. With the recent release of an entrancing video for single Telephone, and a US tour on the horizon, FAULT sat down with Zac to talk all things Halfnoise ahead of the release of hotly anticipated new album, Sudden Feeling


So, the new Halfnoise album is out now! And I think you can really he­ar how your sound has evolved since 2012 – do you think your musical influences have changed since you started?

Yeah, I think my taste in music has sort of developed. I still listen to some of the bands that inspired me back in the day, like Radiohead, but I’ve been listening to Talking Heads, The Beatles, David Bowie, a lot of retro throwback music. I think it was a culmination of that and just growing up, figuring out who I am, learning about my voice and what I like to write about. When I first started writing music it was very much to chill me out, and I would write sort of ambient, ethereal music; but when you play that stuff at shows, you realise the energy is lacking, in a way – I’m a really upbeat person and I wanted the music to represent my personality a bit better.


After being in a band for so long, was it always an ambition to move away from that and create something of your own?

Honestly, it was never really my intention when I left the band. I started writing music while we were on tour and learned that I like to sample drum beats and build tracks, and it just naturally happened. Then, when I wasn’t touring anymore, I wasn’t sure if I maybe needed a break from travelling and playing music. I had never really written on my own, or for Paramore when I was playing with them, so I guess it was a natural progression and I learned that I really liked writing.


Aside from your musical influences, what sort of music do you like to listen to in your downtime?

I’m a really mood-based person, so if the sun’s out I like to listen to upbeat stuff – anything from old afrobeat music to reggae, stuff that feels nice and beachy. I like indie pop music, Tame Impala, Washed Out, The Radio Dept., Vampire Weekend and stuff like that, but I also love The Beatles and The Kinks, all the old British rock stuff as well.


Well, those are all pretty cool bands, but you must have a guilty pleasure lurking on your iPod!

Um, I really like the new Justin Bieber album!


So, Sudden Feeling shares a name with one of the songs on the album – was there a reason you chose to use that as the title track?

I think with Sudden Feeling, the song and the lyrical content encompasses everything that I was trying to get across with this album. I was writing and there was a recurring theme of heartbreak, and this one dramatic break-up that I had years ago. When someone breaks up with you, you really aren’t the one to make that choice, and you haven’t got that line of communication anymore. So that song – this whole album – is kind of what I’d say if I could speak to her one more time.


Is there a track on the album that means the most to you, if not that one?

There’s a song, Love You Back, which I like a lot. I think that’s because it all happened in one afternoon; I just locked myself away in my house and wrote all the lyrics, and all the music. You don’t expect to have songs that come together so quickly, but that one did, that one was really special. It came out of me the most naturally, and when I hear that song I always remember how effortless that was. I think that was the first song I wrote about that break-up, and it was one of the first songs I wrote for this album, so it kind of opened the door for the rest of the songs to be created.


The video for your latest single Telephone has just come out, directed by Mike Kluge – what was that collaboration like?

When I met Mike, he was doing this art exhibit in downtown Nashville and it was really trippy. I was like ‘Man, I’d love to do some video stuff with you someday!’ and Mike said ‘Yeah, I really love Telephone.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, that’s kind of just an interlude song… but, yeah, there’s no rules, let’s do it!’ The lyrics are very to the point, but the music is really upbeat and I wanted the video to match that – I knew his stuff would be quite spacey, and I wanted it to be bright. We knew exactly what we wanted to do, and we made it in about four hours – it was a really fun video to make.


So as well as the new album and the video, you have a new US tour starting in October too! What are the best and worst things about being on the road? 

For me, the best thing is that you get to reinvent your songs every night and try something different. But it’s a lot of work; you’ve got to be really geared up for it. When you tour as a band like I used to, you’ve got a bus and you’re going on planes, whereas this is really DIY. But that’s the beauty of it – by the time you’re on stage playing, you’re giving it everything you have because you’ve put so much work into it. I don’t know if there are any really bad parts. Maybe being away from family? I lived in New Zealand on and off for a few years, and that sort of thing really makes you appreciate your family more when you come back. I prefer it, in a way, working hard and being away makes it that much better again when you see all the people that you’ve missed.


Are there any fun ‘behind the scenes’ stories you can share from being on the road?

Okay, well I left high school so I could go on tour with Paramore, so I hadn’t finished high school and I had only finished a handful of books in my life. On the last tour I did with Paper Route, the band I’m about to tour with in November, I jumped in the van with them, and one of the guys had a copy of The Great Gatsby with him. The three of us would each read a chapter and share it together in the van – we were doing such long drives, so we had a lot of downtime to do that. It was really special for me, having this sort of book club, and then when we finished touring the movie came out and we all went to see it, had champagne, and it was amazing. That’s not really a cool tour story, like where we stole a cop car and drove off, and did something crazy –


Wait, did that actually happen?

No! But the book club was exciting for me, and it made that tour so special. There were other fun things too, but nothing shocking!



Are there any bands or artists that you would love to perform or tour with in future?

I’d love to write a song and have Kevin Parker from Tame Impala produce it. I really look up to him, I think they’re one of the best newer bands out there. I have a huge list I’d love to tour with, but I’m just taking it as it comes. It would be awesome to tour with any band that I love, but I’m thankful for any of the shows I get to play, and the fact that I have a tour coming up.


What’s been the main highlight for Halfnoise from the past few years?

Well, after touring for eight years with Paramore, I didn’t simply think, ‘Okay, now I’ve stopped touring I want to move to New Zealand’, that just happened. I visited once and I fell in love with it, so I kept coming back and making more friends and more connections. At one point I stayed for nine months, and just kind of disconnected myself from all of the music and friends that I knew. I needed that. And that was when I started writing a lot of Halfnoise stuff, figuring out how I wanted it to sound. It was really life-changing for me, one of those pivotal moments in life where everything else is affected by it. So I’d say that moving there, being there, was definitely a standout moment or time for Halfnoise. Sudden Feeling wouldn’t sound anything like it does, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today, if I hadn’t gone there.


Zac, what is your fault?

I probably joke around too much, and don’t take life as seriously as I should – I don’t know if that’s a fault though! I think I poke fun at people more than I should. That’s not being funny, I tear people down just to get someone to laugh. Taking the piss a bit too much, that’s my fault.


Sudden Feeling, the new album from Halfnoise, is available to buy now. For the latest updates follow Halfnoise on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Words Jenny Parkes

Photography Zachary Gray