Every summer, Warped Tour featured at least one band of young punks that seemed destined to become the scene’s next sensation. This year, that band was Not Ur Girlfrenz. The Dallas trio is made up of sisters Liv and Gigi Haynes—14 and 13 years old, respectively—and Maren Alford, their 14-year-old best friend. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re just for kids—their talent is independent of their age, although they’re not afraid to claim their place as Gen Z powerhouses. To get a sense of their ethos, listen to “New Kids in America,” where they channel the Beastie Boys as they shout about having a good time and smashing cliches.
We were lucky enough to chat with Liv, Gigi, and Maren backstage at Warped Tour Atlantic City. Our conversation spanned everything from music video mishaps to to “Baby Shark” to nightmares about The Great British Baking Show.
TYF: You guys were on Warped last year. What are some of your favorite memories from that experience?
Liv Haynes: Oh my gosh. Well, we did a music video for our song “Warped,” which I wrote in anticipation of Warped Tour. And we got cameos from a lot of the people that played Warped Tour, including Waterparks and The Maine and With Confidence, Reel Big Fish… We had a lot.
Gigi Haynes: We were running around like, “Hey, do you want to do this?” And [the bands] were like, (excited voice) “Yeah, let’s do it!”
Liv: They were all so nice about it. There was not one single person that was like, “No, never.” It was super fun. It was a great experience.
Maren Alford: Even one of the guys from 3OH!3 was in it. We asked him if he could do it, and he was like, “Yeah, sure.” And we gave him this whole big line…
Liv: Yes! I gave him the hardest line in the song— (singing) “What’s good or bad and right or wrong”—and he got it, like, immediately. A lot of people asked, “What do you want me to do?”, but he just goes, “Can I come out of the porta potty? We were like, “Ok.”
Gigi: “Do your thing, honey.”
Liv: That was so iconic. It’s my favorite cameo in the whole thing. It was so funny.
Gigi: [Another favorite memory is] when we ate the hot dog in the music video and threw down everything… We asked the guy if we could [throw the food]. We paid for it. And this lady comes up [and says], “I cannot believe you just did that. You are a disgrace. You are horrible. You should clean that up right now.” And I was like, “We paid for it.”
Liv: “It was a joke! I’m sorry!”
Gigi: “It’s for a music video.”
Liv: “I promise we’re not mean!”
Maren: She came up to me and she was like, “I cannot believe that you did that. What kind of a human being are you?” And our videographer was like, “No, ma’am, we paid for this. We’re shooting a music video.” And she was like, “That is not right. You do not just find a random person and throw their food on the floor for a music video.” And we were like, “No, we paid for it. We asked him and he said it’s okay.”
Gigi: And she was like, (in silly voice) “Oh, you guys keep doing your thing. Have fun, girls!”
TYF: That’s so funny. What were the bands that you guys grew closest with last year?
Gigi: Simple Plan. We went on their stage. We crashed their stage with Jaret Reddick [of Bowling for Soup—the girls’ manager].
Liv: They did not know we were going to go on at all. They knew Jaret was gonna go on. But then we were like, “Can we go with you?”
Maren: Jaret goes, “Can I have some backup dancers?” And they were like, “Okay.” They were so nice about it. They were like, “Go on, get up there, go up to the front.” And later on, Sébastien [Lefebvre, of Simple Plan] came and watched our sets.
Liv: A lot of the bands came and watched our set, which was crazy.
Gigi: Ben [Langford-Biss] from As It Is… He passed us, and he was like, “Hey, these girls are good. I’m going to go see them tomorrow.”
TYF: I love As It Is. They’re so sweet.
Liv: They are really sweet.
TYF: Did you guys meet Patty [Walters, of As It Is]?
Liv: Yes, we did. And we also saw him in a Walmart while we were on tour in Arkansas. That was funny.
Liv: I love Patty Walters.
TYF: And you guys said you met Waterparks, too?
Liv: Yes, yes.
Gigi: Geoff [Wigington, of Waterparks] wore our shirt. I almost had a heart attack. We were going to go watch them on the stage [as we were dropping off our guitars], and [then I noticed his shirt], and he was like, “You guys are not allowed to see this yet.”
Maren: And I was at merch, and he walked by [in the shirt], and I was like, “Hey!” And he was like, “You can’t see this yet. Please don’t tell the others. I want them to be surprised.”
Liv: I was surprised. I was the only one that was completely surprised, and you guys were like, “I already knew!”
Gigi: In the elevator [when] were getting something from the hotel [that day], my mom was like, “Gosh, I can’t believe Geoff’s gonna wear your shirt.” And she was like, (covers mouth).
Liv: I was so confused! They did not explain it at all. I had to sit there in confusion in this elevator.
Maren: I had a meltdown in that elevator. I was like, “He’s not wearing our shirt. What are you talking about?” Liv was the only one who didn’t know. It was very hard keeping that secret.
Gigi: I didn’t know Maren knew.
TYF: So you guys were both keeping it a secret from each other, while you both knew the secret?
Gigi and Maren: Yeah.
Gigi: Liv was clueless.
TYF: I know you guys just got here, but do you have any favorite memories from this year’s Warped Tour already?
Gigi: Driving was really fun.
TYF: Where were you guys driving from?
Gigi: Dallas, Texas.
Maren: Yeah, it’s like, 24 hours. But we stopped in between, of course.
Liv: We didn’t drive, because we can’t.
Gigi: That’s illegal. But my dad drew drove and my mom drove. They switched around when the other was getting delirious and tired. (to dad and mom) We love you guys!
Liv: That was fun. But now that we’re here, I think that interviewing with you is going to be one of our first memories!
TYF: Yay! So you guys work with Jaret Reddick, as you’ve mentioned. What has that experience been like so far?
Liv: So much fun. ’Cause he’s so nice and so supportive and so funny. And he’s always joking around. But also he’s—
Maren: A businessman.
Liv: So it’s really fun working with him. And I write songs with him. That’s fun. And he’s given us so many opportunities. We went on tour with Bowling For Soup in the UK in December.
Gigi: It was our first time going to a different country, which was insane.
Liv: He’s done so much for us, and we love him.
Gigi: Love you, Jaret!
TYF: You guys just released a song called “New Kids in America.” On that note, what do you guys think that older people don’t understand about being a kid in America today?
Gigi: I don’t think people understand that people can enjoy what they enjoy without wanting to feel judged. Like, when I dye my hair and go to Walmart, all these old people are like, “Oh my God!” And I just feel like, This is the new generation, you know? And there’s new generations all the time, so we’ve just gotta get used to it.
Liv: Also, attention spans. They are getting smaller and smaller!
Maren: Something that definitely is different between generations is the use of social media and stuff, which is mentioned a little bit in our song. It’s even hard for me, growing up with social media, to grasp how big of an impact it can have on everything.
TYF: You guys have talked about getting advice from other bands during Warped Tour. What are some of the best pieces of advice you’ve gotten?
Gigi: Drink water. Put on sunscreen.
Liv: Well, it sounds really simple, but a lot of the bands have told us this, and obviously it means a lot—you should always have fun and never let anything get to you, no matter how how hard it gets. And remember why you started in the first place.
Maren: Don’t let anything get to you.
Liv: I’ve been sticking to that and it’s the best thing. If you always remember, “Wait. I need to have fun!”, then it’s fun. You know what I’m saying.
Maren: At Warped Tour, everyone’s super, super supportive of everybody, so we don’t really have to worry about that at Warped Tour. But there’s a lot of times where, because we’re young and we’re girls, we get underestimated, which is what our song “No One Asked You Anyway” is about. A lot of sound guys will be like, “Oh, what track are you lip-syncing today?” Or, “You’re using instruments. Oh, really? All right.” So [other bands have told us], “Don’t let that get to you. Just have fun and be a kid and enjoy yourself, even though you’re doing all this stuff.”
TYF: Good advice. You guys have covered songs like “Friday, I’m in Love” and “Misery Business.” If you were going to do another cover, what are some songs you guys would be interested in?
If you were going to do another cover, what are some songs that you guys would be interested in?
Gigi: This is a question we have not been asked before. I would do another My Chemical Romance.
Liv: (Laughs) We’ll just become a My Chemical Romance cover band.
Gigi: My Chemical Girlfrenz.
Liv: It would be really cool to redo a song and make it completely different. Like, if you took a 1975 song and made it super upbeat, with electric guitars and stuff like that. I feel like that would be really cool. I don’t know, we’ll have to see.
Maren: There are so many songs, and I’m such an indecisive person.
Gigi: Trust me, Maren. I know.
Maren: Gigi picks my outfits. She picks what I eat. It’s that bad.
Gigi: I am her mother.
Maren: She’s my mother. That’s our status. There are so many songs. Anything Paramore or My Chemical Romance would be super fun. Also, something by Tonight Alive would be fun. I also think it would be cool to do Sleeping with Sirens or something heavier.
Liv: [Kellin Quinn] has such a high voice! I’d be able to sing it.
Gigi: Thank you, Kellin Quinn.
TYF: And you guys were guest stars at Emo Nite LA. How did that happen? What was that like?
Gigi: We played “Baby Shark.”
TYF: No way.
Liv: It was legendary.
Gigi: Everybody was dancing.
Liv: And we also played “Say My Name.”
TYF: So did you do a DJ set or performance?
Liv: We did a DJ set and a performance. We performed, and then we went straight to do a DJ set.
Maren: Yeah. They asked us to do a “girl power” set. So we played Paramore, Avril Lavigne…
TYF: “Baby Shark.”
Liv: We totally trolled Emo Nite. It was the best. So much fun.
TYF: Now I have some fun, more casual questions. I watched your Q&A, and Gigi, you talk about this dream…
Maren: We’ve never been asked about this before. I’m so excited.
TYF: So to recap, it started in a Target…
Liv: So Gigi had this dream that she was in a Target. And then she saw Austin Mahone and he proposed to her in a Hot Topic. And then she started crying and ran into the bathroom.
Gigi: This was when I was, like, six.
Maren: Gigi, you were emo from the start.
Gigi: I really was. My parents were going to name me Avril, but they didn’t. I was like, “Mom! You should’ve named me Avril!” But they thought it was too emo.
Liv: I love “Gigi,” though.
Gigi: Yeah. It’s unique. (Laughs)
Liv: So she got proposed to by Austin Mahone, and then she ran into the bathroom and started crying.
Gigi: That was a nightmare. I woke up and I burst into tears, and I really don’t cry.
Liv: Why, though? Because you don’t like love?
Gigi: It was scary. I was too young. I was like, “We’re Not Ur Girlfrenz, Austin Mahone!”
TYF: (To Liv and Maren) Do you guys have similarly crazy dreams?
Liv: I found a dream journal from when I was seven, and there was one where Harry Styles waved at me when I was at a concert. I spelled his name wrong. But Maren had a dream the other day that we were in a baking competition.
Maren: And I was really bad, which I’m not in real life.
Gigi: I don’t know about that. I think you’ve burned a couple of things.
Maren: I’ve had a lot of weird dreams. I also have a dream journal from when I was in elementary school. And there’s a lot of weird ones in there, but a really recent one was… I really like The Great British Baking Show. And so I watched all the seasons. And then I ran out of stuff to watch on Netflix, so I watched them again. And then I had a dream that we were all on The Great British Baking Show. At the beginning of the dream, we were competing as a band, but then it turned into us competing against each other. And it was one of those hot summer days where everything goes terribly wrong. I think Gigi won—
Gigi: I’m great at baking!
Maren: —And all she did was make Jello or something. Liv was also trying to make this green Jell-O thing. But since it was so hot, hers just completely melted. And so her plate was just a pile of liquid. And (to Liv) Paul Hollywood comes in and he just destroys you.
Liv: Oh, no!
Maren: And he’s telling you about how incredible Gigi is.
Maren: And he gives her a handshake and everything.
Liv: I guess Gigi’s better at making Jello.
Gigi: I’m great at making Jell-O.
Liv: (Scrolling through phone) Okay. I just found a dream. This is the randomest thing—where somebody was talking about upgrading their phone and they said, “Apple keeps coming out with rose gold stuff, and I don’t even like rose gold. Like, we don’t need another rose gold thing. We’re fine.” (Laughs) What is this dream?
TYF: That reminds me—when iOS7 came out, I got really mad about it, for some reason.
TYF: And I had this nightmare where I dropped my phone on the pavement, but instead of it breaking, it magically became a phone with iOS7.
Gigi: Oh no!
TYF: And I started crying.
Liv: That’s so funny.
TYF: Now I have some individual questions. Gigi, you like video games a lot. If you were to jump into the world of any video game, which one would you pick?
Gigi: Video game worlds are scary sometimes, but that’s the thrill.
Liv: Candy Crush, duh! It would taste so good. Anyway, where would you want to go? That’s where I would want to go.
Gigi: Skyrim would be cool. I like that game. There’s dragons and stuff now. It’d be really sick, but also dangerous.
Liv: Shrek the video game!
TYF: There’s a Shrek video game?
Liv: I think so.
Gigi: The Bee Movie video game.
TYF: There’s a Bee Movie video game? Oh my gosh. Do you own it?
Gigi: No. I just saw a gameplay of it, and I watched it for like 30 minutes while we were driving.
TYF: Liv, you took an improv class with Logan from Big Time Rush. How was that?
Liv: I did! Oh my gosh. I think I was eight. It was so much fun. We just played improv games.
TYF: Which games did you play?
Liv: There’s this one game called “Freeze” where you’re in a scene, and then you freeze, and someone has to take your spot and change the story, but using the same pose. Also, “What are you doing?”, where you go up and say, “What are you doing?” [When I arrived at class], I was in the hallway, and [Logan] was just humming, and I was like, “Oh my gosh.”
TYF: Was he humming a Big Time Rush song?
Liv: I don’t know what he was humming. It wasn’t Big Time Rush, but he sounded really good. He did this crazy run, and I was like, “You’re just supposed to be humming!” But that was really fun.
TYF: Maren, on your Instagram, you have a special story for “Band Pranks.” What are the craziest pranks that you guys have pulled on each other?
Maren: So there was this one time… It went on for multiple days. So it started when I took Liv’s sunglasses one time, and it turned into this whole thing of me trying to steal her sunglasses over and over again. [One day,] I was at the studio recording drums, and I was like, “They can’t get to me here.” ‘Cause they had posted a story where they were like, “We’re coming for you, Maren. We know where you live.” But while I was filming a story saying, “I’m at the studio, so she can’t find me,” [Liv] pops up in my ear and she’s like, “I found you!”
Gigi: I was just watching this show eating watermelon Sour Patch Kids.
Maren: It turned into this whole thing of me trying to steal her sunglasses over and over and over again. And eventually, I did. It was the end of the day at the studio, and she walked in to film me for a band story. She’s like, “Maren is recording drums.” I turn around like, “Hello?” And she’s like, “Maren, give me back my sunglasses.” And it was intense. She walked over and I was like, “No, they’re mine.” And we chased each other. Those sunglasses broke a couple of months ago.
Liv: Yeah. I needed to get a replacement.
Gigi: You got butterfly ones, though.
TYF: (To Gigi and Liv) And you guys also have a podcast. What inspired you to start that?
Gigi: Well, we don’t really have school since we’re homeschooled, but we decided that that would be a part of our school.
Liv: We wanted a broadcast. So that’s our broadcast. You can check it out. It’s called “Liv and Gigi’s So-Called Life.” We just talk about what’s going on in our lives. We play our favorite songs. A lot of Warped Tour bands. We talk about Warped Tour a lot.
Gigi: Too much, probably.
Liv: Not too much! You can’t ever talk about Warped Tour too much. It’s fun having a podcast and getting your thoughts out. Kinda therapeutic.
TYF: In the last episode, you guys talk about how Gigi’s never been on a roller coaster. (to Gigi) Have you been on a roller coaster since?
Gigi: I have not.
Liv: We were going to go on the one on the boardwalk.
Gigi: But I forced Maren to go on the Ferris Wheel, ’cause she’s never been on a Ferris Wheel. It was between those two things.
Liv: Yeah. That Ferris wheel was really nice and air-conditioned, though. So it wasn’t really scary.
Maren: (Laughs) It wasn’t scary at all.
Liv: We’re going to LA in a couple of weeks, and we’re going to try and make Gigi go on some rollercoasters there.
TYF: All right. Do you guys have anything else you want to say to the readers and fans?
Gigi: We love you!
Liv: You can follow us on social media at @NotUrGirlfrenz and stay updated with all of the music stuff. We’re Not Ur Girlfrenz, and we love you, and thank you for interviewing us!