this is what we learned from 25 minutes with 5 seconds of summer
Pop-punk is having a nostalgia-fuelled renaissance right now, so get your studded wristband and skinny jeans, and bring your best side fringe -- here’s all the facts you want to know about emo’s finest 5 Seconds Of Summer.
Photography Alexandra Gavillet
Fall Out Boy are back on the scene looking better than ever, and the brotherly pairing at the heart of Good Charlotte, Joel and Benji Madden, are still going strong 22 years after the band first broke out, so could there be a better time for the genre’s hottest young talents to return?
Armed with a brand new record and a sharper, more mature sound, 5 Seconds of Summer were the young Australian four-piece that introduced Gen Z to modern pop-punk; their lyrics bursting with ace hooks lifted straight from their angsty teenage diaries. For the past seven years, millions of fans have shown up to sell-out arena tours around the world. But the group, comprised of lead singer Luke, guitarist Michael, bass player Calum and drummer Ashton, have grown up now. Have a listen to their comeback single Want You Back -- these guys sound more sophisticated and emotionally grounded than ever before.
While most artists are left spouting the same soundbites to inquisitive writers all day long when asked to promote their new material, we figured we’d get to the heart of some more important issues: like whether or not the world’s most fawned-over band think the FBI are keeping tabs on them through their laptop webcams. In the basement of a suave London hotel, i-D sat down with the Aussie quartet and learned a lot about the little things in their lives, like what they owe their parents, the fashion trends they’re on board with, and one member’s strange spaghetti date with Dizzee Rascal.
1. Before they got their big break touring with One Direction, the guys covered Adele, Wheatus and Busted songs together on YouTube.
2. The name 5 Seconds of Summer came to the band when they were scribbling suggestions down in science class one day. For a sec, they considered calling themselves Bromance.
3. They have a combined Instagram following of 28.4 million. There’s literally more people who follow them on Instagram than live in Australia.
4. None of the band have slept in their childhood bedrooms since they were 18.
5. The guys can still walk down the street without being hassled by strangers. Much to the upset of the fans currently camped outside their hotel, they last did it “earlier today, yesterday, and the day before that”.
6. Michael has “an abnormally large phobia of death”.
7. Ashton and Calum think the best song they have written is on their next album: “either Lie to Me or Young Blood,” apparently, and Ashton wishes he wrote Between the Bars by Elliott Smith, while Calum wishes he had penned Machines by Biffy Clyro.
8. Michael says he caused his parents hell as a kid. “Well, a lot of stress,” he claims. “They were certain that I’d live at home forever.”
9. Anxiety is the hardest thing the band have had to overcome. “Being on stage when you’re anxious -- it’s the worst thing ever,” Ashton claims. Thankfully, Luke has learned how to put other people in a good mood, even when he’s feeling low.
10. The scariest thing Calum has seen with his own two eyes is “Luke’s bare naked body”.
11. The band feel proud to be Australian every day of the year, but felt especially proud “when the bill for gay marriage went through”.
12. The band struggle to take criticism from “somebody who doesn’t have enough knowledge to dish it out” -- but they deal with it by being gracious and understanding. Good lads.
13. Ashton is fascinated by the Matrix Theory that we all live in a simulation rather than a real world, even if it’s “definitely not true”.
14. While Luke admires that the people who think the earth is flat are “still sticking to their guns”.
15. And Michael thinks the idea of aliens building the pyramids in Egypt is “fucking horrifying”.
16. Unsurprisingly, the guys have all listened to Tom Delonge of Blink 182’s podcast on weird alien theories.
17. The band are keen to collaborate with Tricky from Massive Attack because he’s “cool, but the darkest motherfucker ever”, and would love to link-up with Biffy Clyro while they’re at it, too.
18. Calum once went shopping with Dizzee Rascal. Then they ate spaghetti together. Somehow, no other member of Five Seconds of Summer was aware of this encounter until just now.
19. In 2011, the band played a gig on a school tennis court because the venue they were meant to play in -- a church, by the way -- fell into a sinkhole. For real. “People were literally lining up for our gig inside their school hall,” Michael reminisces.
20. Ashton has a low-key obsession with the Judi Dench-starring, geriatric dramedy, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
21. Despite being, in his own words, “not the most fashionable person”, Ashton claims that he predicted the return of the belt-chain. “Everyone’s got a fuckin’ chain wallet now,” he says, “but people have ditched the wallet – it’s just the chain”.
22. Luke’s a fan of the choker trend, while Michael would like to let everybody know that “bondage is in”.
23. In 2011, 5 Seconds of Summer would have described themselves “ambitious” and “still learning”.
24. The band unanimously agree that the body part none of them could live without is “the weiner”.
25. But would perhaps reconsider if they could all remove one thing and create some “epic, weird quadi-legged” creature from their dismembered body parts. M’okay.
26. The worst thing in Ashton’s wardrobe is “half a bag of cheetos from a year ago”.
27. Michael owns a pair of purple SUPRA sneakers that he’s hoping come back into fashion soon.
28. The band felt furthest from home “the first time they left Australia to move to the UK” back in 2012. Ashton hadn’t even been on a plane until a few months before that.
29. The band last felt starstruck when they bumped into Dave Grohl at an Aerosmith concert four years ago. It was “a huge deal for us because we idolise him as an artist,” Calum says. “I didn’t say a word, I just looked at him and smiled. Ashton spoke the whole time.”
30. The band like to throw words together to create new swear words, and consider “shitlord” their current favourite.
31. At the request of his fans -- particularly Cherri, Cydny and Hanna -- yes, Ashton would grow his freshly coiffed locks long again.
32. The band have been asked pretty much every question, but would like to be asked about the ups and downs of the last year of making the record without it getting “too emo”.
33. Michael is desperately waiting for a journalist to be really inappropriate and ask a ‘no-fucks-given’ question: “like, ‘how big is it?’”
34. The last time Luke lied was “in the interview before this one”. So we don’t hold out much hope for these ‘facts’.
35. 5 Seconds of Summer’s single Want You Back is a) a stone-cold banger.
36. And b) available to stream now.
Pre-order 5SOS's new album Youngblood (due 22 June) right here, right now