One of our very favorite discoveries of 2018 chat about their new EP, Warped tour and challenges as a new band.
A call to arms from rock legend Bryan Adams back in 1984 “Everywhere I go, the kids wanna rock” is playing itself out in real time with high-energy, power pop trio, Not Ur Girlfrenz. Barely in their teens, this all-girl, Texan rock outfit are here to prove they mean business – busting out show-stealing performances with their high-energy songs, which cleverly combine instant Pop Punk hooks with timeless old-school songwriting.
Inheriting a love of classic rock bands (the likes of Joan Jett, U2 and Heart) from their parents and combining it with a love of current pop and rock, such as Paramore and Fall Out Boy, Not Ur Girlfrenz – Liv Haynes (13) Guitar & Vocals, Maren Alford (14) Drums, Gigi Haynes (12) Bass – quickly forged their own distinct identity. This soon caught the attention of Grammy-Nominated Songwriter Jaret Reddick of Bowling For Soup, who saw an opportunity to work with a promising and exciting new band – something vocalist Liv describes as a “pinch me moment” working alongside one of her musical heroes.
Having just released their debut EP New Kids In America and toured the UK for the first time with Bowling For Soup, we caught up with the trio to chat about their influences, challenges as a new band and, of course, Warped tour!
How did you get into music in the first place?
Liv: When Gigi and I were little, our dad would play guitar and sing us to sleep every night. Once he bought me my own guitar, I instantly fell in love with the idea of creating my own music.
Gigi: When I was little, my family was surrounded by music. My dad would play rock music on the guitar, every night until I fell asleep!!
Maren: Everyone in my family is super musical so I’ve always been surrounded by music my whole life, but I got into drums because of my mom. When she was my age she wanted to play drums so she signed up for percussion at school, but her parents believed that it wasn’t very “lady like” so instead she ended up playing the clarinet. Knowing that story, my dad bought my mom a drum set for Christmas one year and I was soon drawn to them!
Cheesy question, but who are your musical inspirations and role models?
Liv: I listen to all kinds of music, so I get inspired by all sorts of things. But my top favorite bands to draw inspiration from are: Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Waterparks, Avril Lavigne, and My Chemical Romance.
Gigi: My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Waterparks, and Twenty One Pilots!
Maren: We are all super inspired by Paramore, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Foofighters, and Tonight Alive just to name a few, and a huge role model is definitely Hayley Williams, the lead singer of Paramore.
This year you played at the last ever Warped tour – tell us all about that!
Liv: It was such a crazy adventure! We rented an RV, and it was punk rock summer camp! We met so many great artist who took the time to talk to us and give us invaluable advice about the music business. Getting to meet Kevin Lyman was icing on the cake!
Gigi: It was so much fun!!! It rained every day, which was rare!! We also crashed Simple Plan’s stage! That was amazing!
Maren: Warped tour was absolutely AMAZING. We got to watch and meet so many incredible bands that inspire us like Simple Plan and Waterparks! Some days we would even look out into the crowd during our set and see some of our idols looking back at us. The whole Warped community is incredibly supportive and accepting and we’re so lucky and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of it!
What has been the funniest thing that happened to you at Warped Tour?
Liv: My mom is going to kill me for telling this story…but after driving all through the night one night…my mom went into a truck stop bathroom. She said she heard a bunch of grunting and business going on in the stalls beside her and was like…um what the heck?! She opened the stall to leave and there was an old grey-haired man brushing his teeth in the sink in his tighty-whiteys and she was in the MEN’S bathroom! She had to sneak out and will never be the same again! Hahaha!
Gigi: Oh!! In the middle of our “Warped” video, there is a part where we steal some guy’s the hot dog and french fries. This lady yelled at us that we shouldn’t do that to somebody’s food!! It was so funny because we were all trying to keep our cool and get the shot while she was scolding us…ps – the guy was in on the joke…lol!
Maren: The funniest thing that happened on Warped Tour would have to be when we were getting cameos for our music video and Sean Foreman from 3OH!3 decided that he wanted to do his part in one of the backstage porta potties.
When on tour, what’s the ONE thing you always need to have with you?
Liv: Water!!!! Especially on tours that are outside like festivals and stuff! If I am dehydrated… I freak out and it’s not a good feeling!
Gigi: Hmmmmm…. my bass and my phone. Both are a must have! lol!
Maren: Candy. On both our first tour with Bowling For Soup and our UK tour with them, we had skittles with us at all times and on Warped Tour we kept a secret candy stash full of watermelon Sour Patch Kids and filled Twizzlers.
What has been your biggest challenge as musicians?
Liv: Our biggest challenges as musicians are that we are (1.) barely teenagers and (2.) we are all girls. So, there are very few role models for us to look up to but it only makes us work harder to be the best we can be and, hopefully, we will be role models ourselves one day.
Gigi: Definitely being underestimated! That is what Liv wrote “No One Asked You Anyway” all about.
Maren: I would say that our biggest challenge as musicians would be that since we’re “young girls” we experience a lot of underestimation, which is what our song “No One Asked You Anyway” is about.
Your debut EP is extremely fun and catchy and just plain pop-punk gold – How would you describe your songwriting process?
Liv: Thank you so much!! The songwriting process seems to be different each time. But, I’m always writing lyric ideas, humming, playing guitar riffs, and playing piano melodies in my phone’s voice memos. Then I’ll take these ideas to Jaret or sometimes he will have an idea and we will go from there.
New Kids In America also has this epic 80’s influence – how did that come about?
Liv: Once again we all grew up with very musical families, they were always playing music around the house ever since we were little babies in our cribs, so I think that it’s just in our blood to draw from our musical inspirations we grew up listening to, like – U2, Prince, Van Halen, Madonna.
The title track, sounds like a lyrical and musical homage to the Kim Wilde hit. Was that intentional?
Liv: Absolutely! We intentionally wanted to do an updated take on what the kids in America are like today.
What would be your absolute dream venue to play anywhere in the world?
Liv: If we’re gonna dream big might as well shoot for the stars, Wembley Stadium is legendary. See you all then and there!!
Maren: My dream venue would probably be the O2 Arena in London. I’ve seen the All Time Low concert special from when they played there more times than I can remember and a lot of bands that I look up to have also performed there so it would be amazing to get to play on the same stage.