Countdown to Warped Tour: Q&A with Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday
Lead vocalist for Broward County-based Hey Monday, Cassadee Pope, claims the band decided on the name because they wanted to add a positive spin on the negative connotation associated with Mondays.
The 20-year-old, who's been singing since she was four years old, has already done a lot she's set out to accomplish, working with bands she looks up to like New Found Glory and Fall Out Boy, and playing in the venue where she saw her first concert -- which happens to be where this year's Warped Tour is taking place. New Times caught up with Pope to chat about living near the beach, the Florida music scene, and being a chick in a male-heavy genre. You can catch even more of what she had to say in print next week.
New Times: What was it like fort you growing up in West Palm Beach?
Cassadee Pope: You know I never really thought about
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it until we started traveling. We grew up -- or at least I did -- going
to the beach all the time. It was always just sandals and never having
to cover up because it was never cold. Traveling everywhere else, it's
like the way the weather is pretty much determines how you're brought
up. I mean obviously not morality and stuff, but as far as what
activities and stuff you do. Like I was always outdoors and climbing
trees. I was a big tomboy and I was able to do that because it was
always hot. It was rainy, but not all the time. So it was just a lot of
outdoor activities growing up. Traveling and seeing how far people live
from the beach to me is like, "Oh God. That must be so difficult"
'cause that's one of the best things to come home to. It's like, "Oh,
I'm gonna go to the beach and just sit there for a few hours and not
think about anything and enjoy it" but a lot of people don't have that.
It's pretty weird to me just not being able to do that just whenever
What do you for fun over there? Is it anything like your "Homecoming video?" Do you go bowling a lot or something?
We've been bowling before, done that a few times. There are a
lot of awesome places to eat at that are coastal and on the beach and
stuff, and you can definitely make a day out of that. Like go to the
beach then go home, get changed and go out to dinner. I love going to
the movies, but I don't really get to do that too much when I'm on tour
because I don't really have time. Obviously the beach, the pool,
shopping. Anything with water. I mostly just take the time to catch up
with family and friends.
Do you feel like being from Florida has influenced your music at all?
Yeah. Definitely lyrically. Most of my experiences with
relationships and everything and all my lyrics come from the ones I had
here and growing up. We have a song on the album called "Hurricane
Streets" and that's basically about when the hurricane season comes
through and you have no power. We had a really good time a few years
back. I don't even remember the name of the hurricane, but we lost
power for like two weeks and it was really fun hanging out with
friends. I think maybe just the sunny kind of vibe that we have in our
music comes off 'cause we're from West Palm Beach. I think that
probably influences it a bit.
How do you feel about the South Florida music scene in general?
Growing up in it was really fun. The sad thing is I don't
think much of it exists anymore. When we started coming out... Mike and
I had a band before this, and even then, it started trickling down. As
soon as Hey Monday came out, there wasn't much of a music scene. There
really isn't right now, but growing up in it was so much fun. There's
Spanky's in West Palm Beach and then also Ray's Downtown Blues which
were venues that local bands could play at and 50 people could show up
but they would still have shows there 'cause that was the local place
to have little shows like that. But there's really nothing like that
anymore. And I dunno, I feel like maybe it's gonna have a new turn
eventually. I mean hopefully us coming out with the new album and bands
like There for Tomorrow and I dunno. There's a bunch of other bands
from Tampa and Orlando and stuff that hopefully will stem a local scene
There's actually a lot of bands from West Palm, Ft.
Lauderdale, and Miami that are sort of becoming famous. And I feel like
they've revived the local music scene, like Surfer Blood and
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, they're some of the
bands and there are a few other bands that are there. Maybe it's cause
I'm not home, but growing up there was a show every week. These bands
that you're talking about that I know go on tour and they're all over
the country and some even overseas. But there's really no shows that
the same bands play every weekend. That's what I mean by local scene.
There are definitely a lot of bands that are still up-and-coming and
are actually doing really well, but what I'm talking about are super
super local bands. Like the ones you'd go to see every weekend and
growing up and seeing the same set every weekend and stuff like that.
That band that we just mentioned, VersaEmerge, that you have a ton in common with is also doing Warped Tour.
We did a show... a hometown show, like a holiday show with them
at the Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale with them and we're doing Warped
Tour with them. But we actually know them very well.
What's it like working in an industry that's predominantly filled by guys?
It's definitely a struggle. There are some times where things
come up that I need to argue or that I disagree with, like stuff with
the label or stuff with management and it's a little bit of a fight
because I'm not sure if it's because I'm a girl or anything, but
usually the people that I'm arguing with are guys. It's definitely
growing with women, which is really, really awesome and especially
'cause we're young. We're not women that are coming and taking over the
labels, we're like artists that are so young. I think it's cool because
it just shows that the younger we get, the more women that come out and
support us. And then they can tell their children, "Hey, there's a band
that you have to go see," and then their girls wanna sing some day. At
shows a lot of little girls have come up to me and said, "You really
inspire me. I wanna be a singer someday" and I'm like, "Yes! Do it!" I
want it to be a dominant thing. I want things to change. Of course I'm
not dissing any guys. I think there are a ton of really talented
musicians out there that are guys, but you know, people forget that
there are a lot of really talented girls out there and I think it's
definitely going to shine through.
I was going to say that -- and I think that this is
predominantly with guys -- that whenever they hear about a band with a
girl lead singer, they just immediately dismiss it and think that
they're all the same.
Yeah. It's pretty interesting how that works [laughs]. It's weird. I
feel like there are so many male fronted bands that sound like each
other way more than any girls. It's pretty crazy. It'll be over
someday, I'm sure.
What's it like being compared so often to Hayley Williams and Avril Lavigne? I've noticed that you get compared to them a lot.
Well obviously Paramore is very successful and Hayley is great,
and I don't have to say that about Avril Lavigne because that's pretty
obvious [laughs]. I mean it's a compliment. It would be different if
they were comparing me to someone who wasn't a good singer or was known
for lip synching or something. I'd be kind of offended. But Avril
Lavigne is actually a huge influence for me. To be honest, when I first
started being in bands and stuff, I had heard about Paramore. And
people kept saying, "Oh, there's this band Paramore. You remind me of
the lead singer." I'd be like, "Okay, cool. I don't know what you're
talking about, but whatever." But once things really started rolling
with Hey Monday, and we released an album and everything, at that point
I kind of looked into it. 'Cause I was like, "What's everyone talking
about?" Not in a bad way, but like I never got into them when I was
younger, and then I got into their music and was like "this sounds
nothing like Hey Monday." And once again, it's just because we're all
females. It's starting to become more common. I think the comparisons
will eventually fade and I think with their new album and our new album
it will definitely be gone all those comparisons. We have a different
sound on this album. It's a lot more mature and the lyrics are
different and yeah, I think those comparisons will fade.
I think it's more in regards to your personalities, 'cause
I notice you're both sort of spunky and upbeat. That was how I took it.
I actually met Hayley one time and oddly enough I was at a
video shoot for New Found Glory's "Kiss me" and it was back when I was
signed to Drive Thru Records and I kind of had that connection. So I
went to the video shoot and I was an extra in it and she was in it and
that was when I met her. She was really nice. She complimented my jeans
[laughs]. That was before I was ever in Hey Monday, so I was always
curious to see if she knows that I was the same person she met back
then. But everything I know about her and everything I've seen about
her -- interviews I've seen and stuff -- it seems like we're similar
and yeah. She seems like a cool girl. She was nice to me, so I have
nothing against her [laughs].
For that video that you were an extra, were you an extra person? Or singing in the background?
Oh, no. I wasn't singing at all. It was kind of just this thing
that I was told about. Richard from Drive Thru was like, "Come to New
Jersey and come to this video and be an extra. They need some more
extras running around in the background." You kinda can't see me. It
was kind of not worth the trip, but yeah. I'm in there somewhere
running around [laughs].
That's kind of cool that you get to be in a band that you admire's music video.
Yeah. That was pretty crazy. I got to meet New Found Glory who I've been listening to for years.
Who are from Florida also, by the way.
Yes, Coral Springs I think.
What's it going to be like for you guys coming back to your hometown for Warped Tour?
It's going to be surreal. We've all gone pretty much since we
were 15. Florida -- at least Miami and West Palm -- they've had Warped
Tours in both of those areas, and every time there's like a hurricane
or something coming through [laughs]. Hopefully that doesn't happen. I
know from being someone just being at Warped Tour walking around that
that sucks really bad. It made me actually leave early 'cause I was so
wet and cold and everything. So hopefully that doesn't happen this year
and kids don't leave. But just being able to play Warped Tour in West
Palm --especially at the Cruzan Amphitheatre -- that was where I saw my
What concert was it?
It was a Hanson concert [laughs]. So it was my first concert
ever, and that was where I went. And just recently I visited and met a
bunch of people at the Bamboozle Road Show, and that was also at
Cruzan. I was backstage and was trying not to act like a fan girl, but
I was like, "This is crazy! I'm backstage! This is like the biggest
Amphitheatre and so important to me!" and now we're gonna be playing
there. Yeah, I'm freaking out about it, but I'm really excited. I'm
gonna go crazy up there.
That has to be kind of surreal that that was your first show and now you're sort of going full circle and playing there.
Yeah. It's really crazy because that must've been like I dunno,
10 years ago or something crazy like that. Maybe even longer. So just
the fact that it's happening. When I went to the Road Show I went up
and sang with Boys Like Girls for that song "Two is Better than One"
and even just doing that I was like, "Wow, I'm really up here. This is
insane." I was beside myself.
A lot of bands that you've toured with before like We the
Kings and the Cab are going to be there, so that has to be an added
Yeah. That's something that's really comforting. I'm pretty
nervous to be on Warped Tour just because it's my first time meeting a
lot of people and I just hope everyone likes me [laughs]. It's kind of
like the first day of school, 'cause my first day of high school I went
from private school to public. Freshman year being in a public school
and being used to a little private school was pretty terrifying. I have
the same feeling, but I also know a lot of people that are gonna be on
it and a lot of bands, so that's something I'm really excited about.
I'll be pretty comfortable and yeah. I'm going into it with an open
It's also kind of awesome that there's so many local bands
on the tour this year, too. That has to be even more of a comfort, the
fact that there are so many people that went through the same stuff
that you went through in a sense.
Oh yeah. It's pretty crazy. I'm sure all of them have dreams
about being on Warped Tour. Warped Tour is just like the tour that any
band wants to be on, so it's cool that we get to share that with each
other, so I'm excited.
I saw that you guys have a Tumblr account. Do you update that while you're on tour, too?
I just recently started putting up my Tumblr account. It's not
finished yet, but I'm really excited. I'm addicted to Twitter pretty
much and we update our MySpace a ton. It's just really cool because I
can't think of any other way to be able to connect with fans when we're
not on tour. Obviously when we're on tour we go and hang out with fans
before the show and after the show. But when you think about it, when
you're home from a tour and you're doing things and you're busy getting
stuff together, it's really hard to hang out with fans. I'm really,
really happy that things like Twitter and Facebook and MySpace exist,
'cause it keeps us connected with fans.
There's actually a "Cass is bad ass" Team Cassadee Pope
street team twitter account. They have like a full blown website and a
Yeah, they're so awesome. I know. It's insane. It started out
as just this girl that I met and she gave me this bracelet that said
"Cass is bad ass" and I was like oh, that's so funny, 'cause I say that
word a lot. I thought it was really cute that they came up with that.
That's really all I thought about it, then I started getting so many
tweets about it, and saw so many kids at shows telling me about it, and
was like, "Wow, this is really a big thing." All of the fans that tweet
me were suddenly like "Oh, your man made this site and this is amazing,
you have to follow them" and I looked more into it and realized... it's
developed so well. I know these kids are in school and they have chores
probably and stuff and they still take the time to post every day. It's
really cool. I'm really excited that that exists.
I feel like I almost learned more from that then I did from your MySpace page.
[Laughs]. Yeah, it's more personal. I do talk to this one
girl... the main girl like direct messaging on twitter all the time,
'cause she asks me things. Since it's a fan twitter and a fan page and
they're that devoted, I want them to have the right information and I
provide that for them. They're so nice and it's so fun.
What was it like to appear in the background for Fall Out Boy's "America's Sweethearts"? Aren't they a favorite band of yours?
How Pete Wentz got involved was like super luck. It was just like out
of nowhere. When things like that happen always gave me these
butterflies. It was really, honestly something I just never got used
to. It's always for real. Even when Pete texts me or calls me or emails
me or anything... this is one of my childhood idols and he's in one of
the bands I grew up listening to. It's always kind of a shock to think
that, "Wow, this person is involved in my career," and they're really
involved, so it's just amazing to think about.
I was going to say, it seems like you do a lot of collaborations, like you provided back up vocals for The Cab.
Yeah. I did the remix for "Take My Hand."
And you made a brief appearance in All Time Low's Straight to DVD.
I would sing "Remembering Sunday" with them every single night, and
then of course, the one time that they're recording for their DVD, we
had to fly out to do a radio station in I dunno, Memphis, Tennessee.
And of course, I end up on their DVD, I'm not singing
I saw that they were like straightening your hair or something?
[Laughs]. Yeah. Just hanging out and Jack straightening my hair, being silly. That was a really fun tour.
Do you think that was a way of them doing a subtle play on
words, since they were straightening your hair and the DVD was called Straight to DVD?
[Laughs]. Right. Yeah, yeah. We totally planned that, you're right [laughs].
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