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5 Seconds of Summer


The men of Five Seconds of Summer speak with a level of poise and wisdom that makes it impossible to believe they’ve only just entered the second decade of their young adult lives. Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood, and Ashton Irwin have been on a ride of a lifetime these past seven years, and they’ve only just begun. 5SOS started their career as high-school teens putting cheeky pop-punk covers on Youtube back in 2011. A year later they were on a world tour opening up for the biggest boy band at the time, One Direction. Since then they’ve been revered by Rolling Stone as the “biggest new rock act in the world,” becoming the only band in chart history to see its first three full-length studio albums enter the Billboard 200 at #1. Winning an array of prestigious awards including 7 MTV European Music Awards, two ARIA Awards, just to name a few, and selling out their hometown show at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion during the 2016 Sounds Good Feels Good Tour, forced the members of 5SOS to take a creative hiatus to refocus after reaching immediate global success. “We were trapped together in this never-ending cycle, but had to figure out the next chapter of the band,” Hemmings has said in the past. “Growing up is what we had to do on Youngblood,” he continues. “Seven years as a band may seem like a long time, but we were teenagers when we started. We had to look at each other and say, ‘Are we going to stop now, or do this forever? Because if we continue, then we have to go farther than we ever have before.” I spoke to Hemmings and the rest of the 5SOS members in the midst of their “Meet You There” tour to discuss what it’s like to live a life without the conventional concept of “balance,” the endless list of sacrifices that come with being an artist, and the message they want to send with their new hit track Youngblood.

Can you just talk to me about the inspiration behind this album, did you pull from one specific personal experience, how does a song like “youngblood” usually come about?

Songs like ​Youngblood​ are super rare. When we wrote ​Youngblood​ we instantly knew that it was the staple song for the album. We were struggling to really solidify what the 3rd record was for us and uncovering that song really made it all possible. The entire album is pulled from so many different personal experiences which are all combined together in order to create our favourite 5 Seconds of Summer record.

What message do you want to convey to your fans with this new album/sound?

​I think we want our fans to acknowledge who we are now as people and as musicians. We are so different from the people we were when we began this band, and we want people to realize it and to grow with us.’

What song perfectly describes the point you’re at in your career and just where you are in life in general?

We have this playlist called “ink” that we listen to whenever we write. If you listen to the songs on that playlist it’s sort of a progression of the peaks in our life thus far.

We’ve been confident in this new era that we’re living in currently. It’s almost been reviving for us to have seen our fans reactions to these new songs, and this new phase we’re in in our lives.

How do you maintain your balance in a world filled with chaos?

​​It’s hard. Being a musician is nothing like having a nine to five. You’re making an album for 9 months straight and then you’re touring for the next 9, or twelve months. When you’re on, you’re on. You have to understand what makes you tick and feed that part of yourself so you don’t go insane. But all we’ve known is this world of chaos and uncomfortability and it’s what continues to drive us and motivate us to always be pushing ourselves to our limits.

What is the most challenging part of being in a band?

The most challenging part of working with five other members is getting everyones to come to the table together and agree on the same idea.

What is the most rewarding?

Most rewarding part of being in a band is having a support system. It’s so comforting having three other people in the exact same situation you’re in. We’ve lost so many beautiful artists this past year, to mental health issues and other circumstances and we just couldn’t imagine being on this journey on our own. Like we said before, this is a chaotic life we’ve chosen and we know we’re lucky we don’t have to navigate it alone.

What advice would you give someone who is pursuing a creative career but is finding being an artist comes with a lot more sacrifices then they thought it would?

It’s supposed to be hard, you can’t hold onto anything or anyone who doesn’t fully understand you, it’s supposed to be about letting go. If it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s a pretty childlike dream, to be an artist, but it’s attainable. It’s the people who are willing to sacrifice the most that ultimately get rewarded. I think every artist has this moment where they can see exactly what they want sitting at the palm of their hands. When that moment comes you have to be willing to leave behind anyone and anything that contradicts with who and what you want to be. When you have it in the palm of your hand, you have to grasp it. It’s the people who don’t grasp it that are the ones who never reach the pentacle of their success, whatever that means to them. We would tell them to accept that there is a bigger picture. You are not letting go of one specific thing but instead, you’re just accepting of everything. You’re accepting everyone.

What does success mean to you? How do you define success as an artist?

I think success means something different for everyone. For example, we could be selling out arenas all over the world but there will still be someone somewhere who has never once heard our music. For us, ‘success’ has always been about creating the music that we love and being able to have people listen. As simple as that. There are different levels and factors that being successful entails but all it comes down to is actually having people listen.’

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

​There are a lot of artists right now that are doing what they want creatively and pushing boundaries in music. People don’t just want to hear what music SHOULD be like, they want to hear something that’s real. Artists like Post Malone and Billie Eilish are doing something that is so authentically them and achieving so much success doing so.’

What are you looking forward to with this next album and just looking into the future in general?

Honestly, we’re looking forward to encouraging each other to take the space to grow and develop and truly nurture who we are as individuals. By being completely confident and sure of who we are outside the group is how we’ll be able to come together and be stronger as a whole. ​The future is big for 5 Seconds of Summer. I think we’ve solidified such strong grounds with Youngblood, that anything is possible.