Interview: 5 Seconds Of Summer [March 2014]

By Lais

Just in case you didn’t know: 5 Seconds Of Summer are going to be absolutely massive. It might be easy to dismiss them as the next One Direction, but they’ve been working with the likes of John Feldmann, Good Charlotte, All Time Low and Mike Duce of Lower Than Atlantis, and they’re coming up with some absolute pop rock bangers, so don’t dismiss them just yet. A guilty pleasure? Maybe. But they’re going to be all over your TV and computer screens very soon, so remember their name.

Punktastic had a chat with bassist Calum Hood about how 5 Seconds Of Summer formed, how they managed to get where they are, and how their biggest influences come from the world of rock. Enjoy!

HOW DID YOU ALL MEET?

Three of us went to the same school in New South Wales in Sydney – me, Michael and Luke – and in Year 9 Luke started posting some covers just by himself on acoustic guitar, and Michael was like, “Hey man, do you wanna start a band?” and Luke was like, “Ok”, and I think I just kind of wedged myself in there somehow. We were just messing around on YouTube putting up covers. We booked a gig at some pub and we needed a drummer, since we booked it without having a drummer, and Michael sent a Facebook message to Ashton who he knew through one of our friends and was like, “Hey man, there’s gonna be so many people at this gig we just booked. How would you like to come drum with us?” and Ashton was like, “Hell yeah, that sounds sick”, and then 12 people showed up and it was the worst gig that had ever happened. It was my first time ever playing on a bass, because I played guitar but I was forced to play bass because I was the least good on guitar, which is fine with me, but yeah, it went from there. Ashton pulled it together a bit more because we started rehearsing properly and stuff. By that time we had a little following.

YOU ONLY FORMED IN 2011 AND YOU’VE ALREADY GOT MILLIONS OF FOLLOWERS ON EVERY SOCIAL NETWORK.

The fans are all amazing and we wouldn’t be anywhere without them. The best thing is we have a really close relationship with them and it’s great. Social media has been a massive thing for our band so we’ve embraced Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because that’s where we really started to be honest.

YOU’VE BEEN WORKING WITH BANDS LIKE GOOD CHARLOTTE AND ALL TIME LOW, RIGHT?

It’s really mental for us because some of the bands we look up to – like Good Charlotte, All Time Low, Blink – we’ve actually had the chance to write with them, which is absolutely crazy for us. It was mind blowing the first time we walked into a writing session with John Feldmann, who we’re really good friends with and has helped us loads to develop our sound. We saw Alex Gaskarth and we wrote with him and we were like, “Man, your band’s one of the reasons we became a band”, so that was amazing.

WOULD YOU SAY ROCK BANDS ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?

Yeah, pretty much. Those 90s pop rock, pop punk, guitar-driven bands are a big influence for us, but we take a lot of influence from all kinds of bands, like Imagine Dragons and The 1975. We kind of incorporate everything.

HOW DID YOU START WORKING WITH BANDS THAT YOU LOOK UP TO?

It’s so crazy. John Feldmann knows so many people. He’s worked on so many of our favourite records, like The Used and Good Charlotte and all that type of stuff, so he asked Alex Gaskarth, “Do you want to write with this new band?” and Alex said yes.

YOU WORKED WITH MIKE DUCE FROM LOWER THAN ATLANTIS, TOO?

We wrote this song with him that’s on the new single that’s called ‘Heartache On The Big Screen’. It’s one of our more punky songs, which is good. We wrote it in Watford in a little studio with Dan Lancaster as well, so yeah, I love that song. We’re very lucky.

YOU’VE WORKED WITH SOME OF YOUR IDOLS, AND YOU’VE TOURED WITH ONE DIRECTION. YOU’VE HAD A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM THEM HAVEN’T YOU?

Yeah, definitely. We wouldn’t be where we are without them. I remember we were touring – we were doing a headline tour around Australia – and in Adelaide we were having lunch and we had this piece of paper that was put in front of us telling us we were doing a world tour and listing all the venues and it was just endless pieces of paper. Mindblowing.

YOU MUST’VE GOT SO MANY FANS FROM THAT ONE DIRECTION TOUR.

Yeah, definitely. It was an amazing opportunity for us, just progressing as a live band and learning as professionals I guess. It was a massive learning curve for us. Three of us were still 17 during the world tour so we had to grow up pretty quick, being away from home for about a year, so it was hard but at the same time we wouldn’t wanna be doing anything else.

I HEARD THAT A COUPLE OF ONE DIRECTION MEMBERS TWEETED YOU BEFORE YOU MET THEM. HOW DID THEY HEAR ABOUT YOU?

YouTube. Louis found us on YouTube and was like, “We should do something with this band.” So that’s how it all came about. It’s crazy for us because nothing really happens to bands in Western Sydney so it’s been a rollercoaster for sure.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST AIM?

Well, we’re doing a lot of touring this year, more writing, and we’re releasing the album later this year. We’re gonna try and see as many people as we can and come to as many countries as we can. We’re not gonna stop.

5 Seconds Of Summer released their debut single/EP, ‘She Looks So Perfect’, earlier this week.

LAIS MW

Try these three interviews

Interview: Mazz Gambardella of Pariso on Holy Roar and the podcast

Interview: Thom Denson of Kerouac on Holy Roar

Interview: The Summer Set [April 2016]