HALFNOISE Breaks Down “Natural Disguise” Track by Track

Paramore drummer Zac Farro talks us through his third solo album of Afropop-infused psych.

It may come as a surprise to you that the funky rhythms of HALFNOISE come from none other than Zac Farro, whose main gig Paramore has yet to reach the psych-pop apex of Farro’s new record Natural Disguise despite their highly publicized pivot to new wave. The self-produced affair is a studied meditation on pop music of the ’60s and ’70s, as heard in the go-go bass lines and snare-heavy drum fills that comprise the album’s thirteen tracks.

With ever-broadening creative interests recently including photography, film direction, and music production, it makes sense that Farro is also expanding his musical horizons. As he offers a little backstory behind each track on Natural Disguise it’s evident that he’s become heavily invested in each aspect of writing, tracking, and recording his own music, and how liberating it is to establish himself apart from his world-famous group project—how constructing the title track made him feel like he was, in his words, no longer “hiding behind anything anymore and being vulnerable and transparent and open.” It’s just as liberating for us to hear, Zac.

Natural Disguise is out today via Farro’s own Congrats Records. You can order it here.

1. “Woodstock Snap”

With this song I knew right away I wanted it to be the start of the album, I wanted people to be slightly shocked when it first hit. I feel like it’s a perfect start to take you on the rest of the journey of the album.

2. “Who Could You Be” 

This song came like a lightning bolt. I wrote it with our guitar player Daniel from Sweden. We wrote and recorded this entire song in four hours. I wanted listeners to feel the importance of initial response in my writing on this record.

3. “Guess”

This song is the song that if someone said I had to sum up the album in one tune it’d be this. I don’t necessarily believe just one song can do that, but it’s good to write every song like it’s the only song people may ever hear by you.

4. “Boogie Juice/ Apple Man”

I really enjoyed making this song. Writing guitar and bass riffs has become one of my favorite things to do. This song also was super therapeutic to write. It’s sort of an anthem for people feeling like they don’t belong or don’t fit in, and proving that they do.

5. “Natural Disguise” 

This song was a game changer for me lyrically. It’s where I got the title for the entire record. I felt like lyrically it summed up what I was trying to convey on this record—not hiding behind anything anymore and being vulnerable and transparent and open. I can sing most of these songs about someone else or myself, and that’s a beautiful thing when songs have multiple meanings.

6. “Moody Disco Blue” 

I really wanted to have one song on this album start with the chorus, and this is the one that does it. I feel like this song is a great easy-listening song. Which every record needs.

7. “Know It’s Her”

I wanted to show the calm side of my voice and lyrics, and I really love how short and sweet this song is. I was really inspired by Lennon on this record and how he’d double track his vocals. So I tracked this song the same way two times, and put one side on the left and one side on the right. Guitar and vocals together. I think it creates this “never gonna happen again” moment.

8. “Cinnamon Sugar”

I was making lunch or something at my house and this riff hit me. I ran up to my studio and came up with the entire song. I finished lyrics and recording later. But I love when songs just have to come out.

9. “This Groove Is Divine”

This is sort of me paying tribute to the rad artists that would make drum machine/synth Afrobeat records in the ’70s like William Onyeabor and Francois BeyBey. I wanted to fuse the worlds of ’60s and ’70s rock with old Afrobeat energy.

10. “Get Gone”

This song has my favorite guitar tone on it. It’s on the chorus. I only had my good friend Matt Shultz sing double with me and speak a cool phrase at the end.

11. “The Pick Up / The Put Down”

This song is the back-and-forth between relationships and being unbalanced and the fight to move on.

12. “Beautiful Someone” 

This song is pretty self-explanatory—it’s just about wanting to love and be loved back.

13. “Daisy” 

I feel like this song is a really cool closer to the album. It’s just a song that has parts. It’s not traditional verse/chorus, etc. I wanted the record to close and feel open-ended. Maybe so listeners go back and replay the record,  or look forward to what’s next.

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