Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: HalfNoise

Zac Farro. (Photo: Zachary Gray)
Zac Farro. (Photo: Zachary Gray)

Zac Farro, the ex-Paramore drummer and creator of the indie rock musical project HalfNoise, recently returned from Los Angeles to his home base in Nashville, where he is gearing up for a month-long tour, when he spoke to the News-Press.

“I just got back from L.A. last Wednesday, so having a week at home before you go on a month-long tour is a bit wild,” Farro said. “But it’s part of it. It’s the exciting life of a musician. You never know where you’ll be, so things are looking good, though. We’re rehearsing today and tomorrow and we’re going to hit the road….So it’s good. I’m really excited. The tour is going to be just rad….It’s going to be really cool.”

Farro said that the sounds on HalfNoise’s latest album, Sudden Feeling, are less moody and ambient than his project’s previous releases, the self-titled debut EP from 2012 and 2014’s Volcano Crowe.

“I think this album is definitely more upbeat and a little more straightforward. A little bit more digestible, I think….So all the responses have been that ‘It’s been the soundtrack to my summer’ and ‘It just makes me feel good when I listen to it,’” Farro said. “So I think the response has been right on and I think that it’s reached so much further than a lot of the other music that I’ve put out, so it couldn’t be better, to be honest, especially how it translates live with the shows.

“Even if you don’t know the HalfNoise music or if you’re not familiar with the band at all, I think the response that I’ve gotten….is that the songs just translate so well live. You don’t have to even know who we are to get into it.”

Perhaps it is the rhythmic and groove-laden feel of Sudden Feeling that lends itself to a live performance. But Farro, despite being a drummer, said that he constructed the drums for the songs on his latest album last.

“Honestly, the reason why it is so percussive is because I am a drummer, but it’s funny, I also don’t start writing the songs with drums,” Farro said. “It’s actually one of the last things that I add. So I’ll write a key part and then a bass part and start building the melodic structure of the song. Then the chords and then I’ll add a drum beat or a rhythmic element, and then I’ll add all the percussion on top…But it’s also the energy that percussion brings to a live show.

“When someone has a tambourine and people have shakers and stuff, it brings a kind of movement that I love and it’s second nature to me, so….We kind of try to make it exciting even if you don’t know the songs.”

HalfNoise is coming to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Nov. 9 for a show at DC9, where they’ll be opening for the band Paper Route, another Nashville-based band. Farro has toured with Paper Route both in HalfNoise and his former group, Paramore. When Farro left Paramore, a group that he helped found at age 13, in 2010, he said that he had no intention of starting another musical project.

“It was never my intention when I left that band to start a new band and to start a new project. But I had always written music on my laptop and when I was at home, just kicking around the house and writing new songs,” Farro said. “And then a buddy of mine was trying to get into production and recording, so he was like ‘Man, I’m really new at this and I just want to work on it with a few friends on some projects and see if it’s something I want to do. Can I record some of your HalfNoise stuff?’ and I didn’t really think about recording anything and releasing anything.

“Then it kind of just snowballed after that. It was just kind of this unintentional, natural progression toward a new project.”

• For more information about HalfNoise, visit halfnoisemusic.com.