Hayley Williams Launches New BBC Sounds Podcast “Everything Is Emo”


Not long after her surprise appearance at this year’s Coachella with headliner Billie Eilish, Hayley Williams is back in the news with another surprise. This time in the form of a BBC Sounds Podcast entitled “Everything Is Emo”. The show is a music playlist curated by Hayley featuring all her favourite “Emo” music from the past to the present and hears her telling stories of why she picked each song as well as a deeper insight into her life through the early Paramore days to now.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Williams talks about how the show came to be:

“For so long I’ve been adamant about not being pigeonholed into one scene that it would have never come from my brain… But I’m so glad that someone came to me about it, because it’s given me a cool opportunity to be nerdy about music and reminisce but also inject discovery for people that musically haven’t discovered these amazing new bands that are coming from a long lineage of great music.”

On the use of the word ‘Emo’ and being labled as such, she says:

“Emo made punk music more accessible, and then it became more and more popular to the point bands like us were on MTV, and now we’re playing on the radio, and now you’ve got this generation’s version of that all over the place.

It’s so interesting to me that people just make emo whatever they want it to be. If they want Phoebe Bridgers to be emo or underground then that’s what it is. And if they want Paramore to be pop punk or emo, it just is up to the people. It’s never up to the bands. It’s up to journalists and how people categorise shit. And I feel like the difference now is this generation doesn’t seem to care as much about the compartmentalisation. There’s not inhibitions about ‘oh, I don’t want to be a poser if I listen to this’.”

She goes on to talk about gatekeeping in the scene and how she plans her playlists for the show:

“I think it takes too much energy to be a gatekeeper of this scene. That’s one thing that with the show I’m trying to make clear is that there’s no sense in blocking certain people out of it. I might even play a couple songs that intentionally are not emo songs. There’s certain music and movies and characters and pop culture that our scene just really was embracing of. And I want to remember that energy where as music lovers, we should just be stoked on cool shit and doesn’t mean you have to like everything.

When I plan these playlists I’m trying to keep that in mind: like don’t gatekeep this scene because you don’t want to become one of those crotchety old fucking dinosaurs that’s like, ‘that’s not punk’ and ‘that’s not emo’. I definitely have that voice in me, don’t get me wrong, that’s a fatal flaw maybe. But I work on it and I keep it in check.

I agonise over every playlist, even if I’m just making a playlist for my sister. I’ve made a mixtape before in my life which I don’t know how many people my age have. I put so much pressure on myself to make playlists feel like there’s an emotional arc. But the most fun thing to me about making these playlists was rediscovering songs because not all these songs are my favourite songs in the world. I’m trying to do justice to the time that these songs came out, the scene that they came out of. Then I’m also trying to like new shit for people to discover new bands like Wet Leg and Fontaines D.C., who are probably a lot bigger overseas than they are here, but people have to know about this band. Where would they be if all these other bands and these punk scenes and different subgenres didn’t exist first, you know?

You can listen to episode one now featuring some big Emo bangers from the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Panic! At The Disco, The Postal Service, The Used, MCR and of course Paramore!