Hey Monday is a two-year-old pop-punk band fronted by the dynamic Cassadee Pope. Originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, the quartet is currently on the entire leg of the Warped Tour this summer performing on the Altec Lansing stage. Performing on Warped Tour for the first time, the young band is working hard every day to promote their upcoming sophomore album, Beneath It All, set for an August 17 release.
During the San Antonio leg of the Warped Tour, we caught up with guitarist Mike Gentile and bassist Jersey Moriarty. The guys shared their thoughts on being over comparisons to Paramore, what to expect from the new album and, of course, Warped Tour.
Is this your first Warped Tour experience?
Mike: Yes, this is our first Warped Tour experience. That’s a good way of putting it, experience. It’s been pretty insane.
How are you mentally preparing for the long punk-rock summer camp?
Mike: We’ve grown up as Warped Tour kids. Me personally, I’ve been to like five or six of them and we all went last year. We did our own headlining summer tour last year. We kind of know what it’s like, but Warped is that times 10 on a bigger scale. There are a bunch of bands and not a bunch of showers unfortunately. It is hot and sweaty but so much fun. At the end of the night everyone gets together and hangs out. There’s a barbeque and parties.
It is surprising that it took this long for you to make it on Warped after the AP headlining tours and press you’ve gotten over the years.
Mike: I want to say two or three years ago we were supposed to do a three week leg on Warped Tour, but we had to cancel because we didn’t finish our record when we thought we were going to finish it. So we had to cancel and finish doing the record.
So what is your reasoning for doing the whole leg of the Warped Tour, other than the chance to play in front of so many people?
Jersey: We have a new record coming out on August 17. Warped Tour gives us the chance to push it super hard at just the right time.
Are you playing the new songs live on Warped?
Jersey: We are playing two new songs off of it. They are called “Wish You Were Here” and “I Don’t Want to Dance.” It’s awesome because literally as Warped Tour ends, the record goes on sale.
While we are on the subject of Warped Tour, which bands are you guys looking forward to see perform, as fans?
Mike: I’m sorry, did you say “babes” or “bands?”
Wow, we can talk about babes too, if you want.
Jersey: It’s a little early to be starting rumors, but bandwise we are big fans of Four Year Strong. I’m becoming bigger fans of a lot of the bands that are on our stage. The bands on our stage are lot heavier than we are, which isn’t a bad thing. At first I wondered how it would be with us being the pop band on this heavier stage, but all the bands have started to treat us like family. White Chapel even gave us a shout out on stage. That was rad. I didn’t expect that.
Mike: I think with the whole Warped Tour experience, it is so brutal that it just brings everyone together. You just look at the positive in everything. As a musician, you appreciate watching another great musician or great band. To me, it doesn’t really matter as we love all types of music. When we see a band like White Chapel or Attack Attack or any band you wouldn’t think we are that into, and watch them kill it live every day, it is hard not to become a fan of that band. I like checking out The Rocket Summer and Motion City Soundtrack.
Jersey: I like watching a lot of the younger bands. We’ve been the younger band before, and we still are. I like becoming friends with bands like that because we are kind of on the same page.
Let’s talk more about the upcoming album, Beneath It All. You’ve had two years to tour Hold On Tight and give people a good feel as to what you guys are about. What are you giving people on this new album that they didn’t get from your debut?
Jersey: Something the same but different. It’s not anything too unfamiliar that would scare anyone away.
Mike: It’s still Hey Monday but there is a different vibe you can definitely hear. There’s much more dynamics to the songs. It’s not four chords. Musically there is a lot more things going on. We really got to showcase our abilities at what we do. There are a lot of really awesome guitar parts on the album. Jersey has some crazy bass walking lines and Cassadee shines vocally throughout the whole record. The drums are just solid. It is a more relatable album for everybody. It has more of a nineties alternative pop feel to it. I think it will reach a broader audience.
What are you guys doing making albums influenced by ’90s alternative groups? You were so young then. How’d you pick up those influences?
Jersey: That’s what we were around. That’s when we heard it with our parents in the car and stuff. That was probably the most radio I ever listened to.
Mike: They are also super-popular songs. Even though some of those songs are ten to fifteen years old, you still hear those on the radio more today than a lot of new stuff. Those songs from that era are just timeless hits. That’s why we want to write songs that people are going to hear and love for a long time, songs that never get old and get recycled through generations of new fans. I think it shows a little bit more in Beneath it All. We are very proud of our first album, but it very one dimensional than the new one. There’s a lot of growth in this album. We’re just excited for people to hear it and form their own opinion. Some people might hate it, and that’s fine too. We’re super proud it and don’t care what other people think although I feel people will love it.
Did you feel the sophomore pressure with this album given your success of Hold On Tight?
Jersey: There’s always a little of that. I was listening to Fall Out Boy’s song “From Under the Cork Tree” the other day. If you listen to every single lyric of that song, it’s the truth. There is that possibility of a “sophomore slump” or the possibility of success.
The second album seems to be the key to determining whether or not a band is going to be around, if you know what I mean.
Mike: Definitely. With your first album you’ve typically had it almost your entire life and there are no expectations what so ever. If you’re lucky enough to have that first album do something like what with ours did, selling close to ninety thousand albums so far, then there is some pressure. That’s around ninety thousand people, not including industry, management and uncountable downloads even, there creates sort of a hype to live up to. Honestly, I am really confident in this new album.
If you don’t like it, who will, right?
Mike: [laughs] Exactly.
When I first saw you guys live, it was a couple of years ago when you were at Emo’s during the Carolina Liar tour. In the crowd, I could hear some of the kids tossing around the word, dare I say it, Paramore. Do you still get “com-paramored” these days?
Mike: We really don’t. The thing is, we get asked about how we feel about being compared to Paramore more than we hear about us being compared to Paramore. I can probably count on one hand the times that I’ve seen us compared to them by different magazines or whatever.
Jersey: I think people aren’t doing that now so much because they got to see two years of us touring and realized we are not anything like them really.
Isn’t that kind of an annoying stigma to get over because you have a female lead singer? Bands with a male front man don’t ever have to bother with this sort of thing?
Jersey: It was quick for us to get over it. The annoying part was readdressing it all the time early on. We’re over the comparison. It’s a compliment though. We love Paramore and we’re all fans. I like the way you put it though.
I actually got that from one of the guys in VersaEmerge the first time I interviewed them because they were getting those comparisons also.
Mike: They would get a lot more because Sierra’s voice, in my opinion, is similar to Hayley’s more than Cassadee’s is.
Jersey: Their music is a hint darker and not as straight pop in comparison to that edgier, rougher rock.