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

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

you want.

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

again hopefully.

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

first concert.

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

comfort, too.

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

merch store.

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].

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christine Borges
Contact: Christine Borges