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Interview: Hey Monday

Prior to their headline show at the Epicentre in San Diego, Alter The Press caught up with Florida's own Hey Monday for a brief interview.

The band spoke to ATP about: their recent EP - 'Beneath It All', the next release, bassist Jersey Moriarty's departure, the band's recent line-up change and more.

Alter The Press: How has 2010 been for Hey Monday?
Cassadee Pope (vocals): It's been good. We've had some sweet tours; we released 'Beneath It All', which did pretty well. Now, we're just focusing on the next step, as far as music is concerned. Figuring out how each of the new songs goes, deciding which songs we're going to use for the next release, thinking about doing some more writing. It's all preparing for the next step right now.

ATP: Originally, 'Beneath It All' was going to be a full-length. What happened?
Cassadee: The label decided it would be better to put out an EP because, at the forth quarter, it's a really risky time to try and push to radio, which is potentially what we wanted to do. A lot of the big releases came out at that time, like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, and Hey Monday wouldn't have done well against those releases. The label said, "We don't want people to forget about you, we want to keep the hype, so let's put out an EP, new music for your fans, keep then excited, and at some point (early next year), we'll release a full-length." We were bummed about it, but now we see how radio is at the moment, we're glad we didn't get caught up in what is going on right now. Hopefully, we're going to try and do something different with out next release, re-invent the wheel a little bit. It should be exciting.

ATP: What happened to the tracks that didn't make the EP?
Cassadee: There were about five tracks that didn't make the EP. They were actually mixed, mastered and everything. The tracks are there and, who knows, they might end up on the next release or if not, a b-side someday. We're just trying to figure out what makes the most sense and what songs we love, because for this next release, we want to make sure that it's not half assed, and it's 100% us. Who knows, maybe all the songs will end up on the next release, but we're proud of them and I love a lot of those. I want people to hear those songs, but they might not be on an actual release.

ATP: The EP is a step away from the pop-punk side of Hey Monday and shows the band's more pop/rock side. Was this something you wanted to do?
Cassadee: Yeah. We love the 90's, where these really great pop songs had these really great kind of organic sounds. That's what we really wanted to go for with the full-length, but then we had written these songs, so it just kind of evolved. There were some songs that were more 'Hold On Tight' than the rest, but overall, it was something we all decided should be the direction. It's what we love and it just kind of happened. We just went with it.

ATP: With Jersey (Moriarty) and Elliott (James) leaving the band, are there official new members of the band, or just touring members?
Cassadee: Pat (McKenzie) is our new drummer and it's official. He actually toured with us about year and a half after Elliott quit. Pat was really content with just being a touring drummer and he's awesome. He's not high maintenance, he set's up his drums, he tears them down. Pat doesn't have an ego, and we were just like, "Do you want to play drums with us permanently?"

Mike Gentile (lead guitar): He makes us laugh all the time.

Cassadee: As far as a bassist goes, Christopher (Gentile), is Mike's nineteen year old brother. We took him out, and he's killing it right now. Who knows? It could be a potential member. Alex Lipshaw is now singing back-up vocals.

Alex Lipshaw (guitar): I like singing...a lot.... (in a British accent.)

Cassadee: It's actually working out really well.


ATP: With the release of the EP, and all the new band pictures with Jersey in them, was his departure spur of the moment?
Mike: It was the most spontaneous thing ever.

Cassadee: He told us towards the end of Warped Tour, and we all had the same reaction. We just found out that we were going to play Jimmy Kimmel Live, which is every band's dream, and our EP was just about to come out, so the timing was the worst, but we were going to figure it out. He was actually supposed to do Jimmy Kimmel, but something happened. He had a nervous breakdown and went home. Our guitar tech filled in on bass, and some of us weren't actually allowed to be on it because you have to be twenty-one, which we didn't find out until the day before. So not only did we have to have our guitar tech fill in on bass but we had to have Stacey Jones (American Hi-Fi drummer and plays for Miley Cyrus) fill in on drums as Pat and Alex couldn't play. The week with Jersey leaving and the EP coming out was the most hectic week I've ever had. I must have had 10 million pimples on my face. I was so stressed. It was definitely an adventure, but everything happens for a reason, because we are in a really good place right now and are really happy.

ATP: The only single/video you did with the release was 'I Don't Wanna Dance'. Do you have plans to do another one with the EP?
Cassadee: I don't think so. I think 'I Don't Wanna Dance' was something to put out there for fans to like, and hopefully gain us some new fans. Some of our friends at radio stations have just added it, which is really cool, but I don't think there will be another single before our next release.

ATP: You’ve been doing the headline tour for the release of, 'Beneath It All'. Did you choose the support bands? (Cartel, This Century, The Ready Set, We Are The In Crowd).
Cassadee: We met We Are The In Crowd at Warped Tour. When we found out that we'd be doing a headline tour, we were scoping out bands and said we had to take them out, because they are such an excited new band, and it's something I feel a lot of new bands feel right now. I don't know what it is, but they get really jaded, real quick. It's really weird. I know we haven't been a band for a long time, but it's good to surround yourself with excited new bands. This Century, someone from management brought them up, and we agreed to bring them out. We like them. The Ready Set, they're on Decaydance. Pete (Wentz) asked about bringing them out, and we love they're music. Cartel is one of our favorite bands. They were totally down to do it. We kind of picked everyone. It came together pretty well. It's a good tour package.

ATP: You've mentioned about working on the new record. What's the update?
Cassadee: We have about 25-30 songs written. Some are recorded on GarageBand and some are pretty good demos. It's not really about finding singles anymore; it's about coming out with something different. I feel like it's all about trying to get on the radio now, and that's something a lot of people loose themselves with. I'll admit, I lost myself a little with it, and now I realize it's not going to make myself happy in the long run. We're trying to go with a balance of what can appeal to a wide range of audience, and what we love as a band. The process is about finding ourselves, and finding our sound; what it's going to be, and what impression are we going to leave on these new fans? We don't want to mess that up. It's about finding the new sound, and we don't want to rush it. We're young and we don't need to rush into these sorts of things. We're just having fun.

ATP: When are you coming back to the UK?
Cassadee: Honestly? No idea. Right now, we're only planned up until Spring, as far as touring is concerned. We're not sure if we're going to the UK early next year, but I have a feeling we'll be there towards the end of the year because we're still writing. I don't think we'll be going anywhere until we're done with that.

Mike: We love going to the UK. There is definitely a fire inside us, burning to get us to the UK, but there are no plans right now.

ATP: And you know the demand is still there.
Cassadee: And that's really cool. I never thought I'd see the day where people in the UK would say, "We want Hey Monday to come back!"

ATP: You sold out Islington Academy in London, and that's just under 800 people.
Cassadee: I cried after that show actually. I bawled because I was sick.

ATP: What's the plan after this tour?
Cassadee: We have some holiday shows and then most of December off. In January, we're writing with some people in Atlanta, and maybe Los Angeles. February, we're getting ready for a tour that's confirmed, but we can't announce it yet. After that, it's all about the next release.

ATP: Thanks guys. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Alex: I like singing....a lot....(in a British accent.)

Mike: We miss everyone in the UK and we really didn't forget about you.

Cassadee: Hopefully we'll be back soon and we'll bring back our retarded guitarist! In his cage!


'Beneath It All' is out now on Columbia/Decaydance Records.