Alter The Press!


Interview: Hey Monday - 08/03/2009

Jon managed to catch up with Hey Monday vocalist Cassadee Pope ahead of their opening slot on the 2009 Fall Out Boy UK arena tour.

Cassadee spoke to Alter The Press about their first trip to the UK, wanting to be a mainstream pop band, influences, tour experiences, Michael Jackson and more.

Alter The Press: Welcome to the UK. This is you’re first trip over here, how has it been for you guys?
Cassadee Pope: It’s been awesome! We’re used to flying to all the different shows because we started in Japan then Australia but this trip feels a lot more like a tour as we are driving in a van to every venue. The kids are going crazy; it’s been really awesome.

ATP: You’re supporting Fall Out Boy on an arena tour. Do you feel like you’ve been thrown into the ‘deep end’ so to speak, rather than starting out in the small clubs?
CP: Sure. What a lot of people don’t realise is that us being the openers is huge and a lot of exposure but at the same time we are not playing for a lot of the kids, they’re still walking in. It’s not as intense as people think. We are playing for more people but it’s not a main support. It’s still small.

ATP: Have you managed to explore any of the UK on you’re downtime?
CP: Not really. When we’ve finished with a show, we leave about midnight then go to sleep or go to a bar, but sightseeing we haven’t been able to do which sucks. We did get to go to the O2 Arena (venue in London), which is legendary, and we got to see the London Eye (biggest Ferris wheel in Europe).

ATP: Michael Jackson just announced 10 dates at the O2.
CP: Yeah we know. Pete’s (Wentz - Fall Out Boy bassist) bodyguard used to work for Michael Jackson so we were begging him to try and get him into the show and meet him but he was probably busy.

ATP: What’s been the best show of the tour?
CP: Last night in Cardiff. It was the smallest of the tour and the floor looked kind of like a basketball stadium but no stands so it was just a sea of kids. When we started playing everyone was swinging back and forth, throwing shirts at us that they’d made and singing back the words of our songs. It’s definitely about the crowd interaction that makes a show good for us because we feed off of that.

ATP: You’re debut record ‘Hold On Tight’ hasn’t even been released in the UK yet. You have fans every night singing along to every word. How does that make you feel?
CP: We feel accomplished but have a long way to go but really surprised how kids have taken our music so far and how soon it’s all happened. We owe a lot to Pete (Wentz) promoting us and to our label Columbia and Decaydance. It’s insane.

ATP: Which bands have been the biggest influences on you guys?
CP: The number one influence has to be Blink 182. We all started in bands because of them and wanting to be them! It’s really cheesy but we all really liked Fall Out Boy since they started too. I’m heavily influenced by Michelle Branch. I love her voice from when she started and a lot of bands who are up and coming like This Providence.

ATP: What is your favorite song to play live?
CP: I think right now because it’s so new to the set ‘Should’ve Tried Harder’. It’s different from the other songs because there are pauses in the verses and the kids can actually hear what I’m saying. I feel a lot of times the words can get muffled and for every once in a while the kids to hear what I’m saying is kind of cool to see them nodding and singing along.

ATP: Have you got any plans for a UK release?
CP: Honestly, we haven’t actually talked about it. We met up with a bunch of label people in London so we are working on that so it should be happening soon.

ATP: Regardless of most of the press comparing you guys to Paramore. Why don’t you tell us who you would put yourselves in a category with?
CP: I think we are a mix of We The Kings on steroids. I feel like our music isn’t heavy or anything but it definitely has a little heavier side to it because of how little my voice is and we wanted to kind of balance it out. We have been compared to Paramore but I think we are kind of the sunnier side to them. We are more poppy and mainstream. Jersey (bassist) actually said a long time ago Cyndi Lauper and my voice, has been compared to the singer of The Bangles before too. Blink 182 is definitely in there a little bit. There are a few times on the album where it’s a little punk-ier but we got carried away a few times with punk beats but tried to stay away from that because we wanted to be mainstream and pop.

ATP: So when you started, you actually were trying to be a mainstream pop band?
CP: Yeah, that’s the kind of music we all love. I’ll put on my iPod and I’ll listen to all different kinds of music but I’m usually around the area of pop/rock genre; it’s [a] weakness for me the catchy melodies and punchy choruses. We went into the album not really knowing what sound we wanted but just thought we wanted to write these songs and see what happens. We knew we wanted it to be catchy pop/rock starting out acoustic and building from there.

ATP: What’s been the best tour you’ve been on so far?
CP: All of them have been amazing but this one has definitely stood out for me the most. I’m a huge Fall Out Boy fan and feel like they are on a completely different level to anything we’ve ever experienced before.

ATP: It seemed on the ‘Bill and Travis’ tour (The Academy Is/We The Kings/Hey Monday US tour last year) you guys were having a lot of fun especially pulling pranks etc.
CP: That was a lot fun. We knew We The Kings before from playing a show with them a long time ago and they live only a two-hour drive from us in Florida so we’ve known about them for a long time. The Academy Is; we’ve been fans since ‘Almost Here’ (debut record), so it was awesome to tour with one of our favourite bands. We’ve never had a bad tour.

ATP: Being from Florida, there are so many bands in the music scene in that state like New Found Glory, A Day To Remember etc. Are you guys friendly with them?
CP: We know A Day To Remember pretty well. New Found Glory we have met but don’t know them very well, they told Pete (Wentz) to tell us to thank us for mentioning them as one of our influences.

ATP: If you could collaborate with any other band, who would it be?
CP: Blink 182. I would love to write with Patrick and Pete (Fall Out Boy).

ATP: If there were one thing you could change about your music, what would it be?
CP: Nothing so far. I’m happy with the way things are going and love playing our songs every night, it never gets old. Honestly no, I do not regret anything. I think in the writing process we came out with songs we never thought we could ever write.

ATP: If you weren’t in Hey Monday, what would you be doing?
CP: I would be in college and being miserable. I always said by this time I hoped to be doing something like this or being out with a band or have an album out.

ATP: When are you coming back to the UK?
CP: We are coming back with We The Kings in May. There are still talks about who the support is but we are the main support for this tour.

ATP: What does 2009 hold for Hey Monday?
CP: We will be touring a lot, eventually want to headline a little tour in the US, releasing our next video ‘How You Love Me Now’, trying to get 4 singles off of this album. We have now started writing as well just to keep the ball rolling because it’s the same stuff every night, we just want to have a little relief that’s on the side to keep working on. Hopefully this album will last us till next year.

‘Hold On Tight’ is out now on Columbia/Decaydance Records US.

Alter The Press!