"Retaining your own individuality is the most important thing" – hmv.com talks to 5 Seconds Of Summer, Part I
We sat down with Australian pop-rock sensations 5 Seconds Of Summer to talk about finishing up their debut album, their pop-punk roots and keeping their individuality alive in their songs.
So what have you guys been up to recently?
Ashton (Irwin, drums, vocals): "We've been busy, we've been out in the middle of nowhere just outside Oxford finishing off our album."
Luke (Hemmings, guitar, vocals): "We had a few bits of recordings to do. Finishing things off."
Michael (Clifford, guitar vocals): "We were told that time is so short that we needed to cram in recording six songs into two days. Long days."
Calum (Hood, bass, vocals): "You could tell we were short on time, the FIFA time fell dramatically."
Ashton: "Our single came out in Australia yesterday too, so it's been amazing to watch the reaction online, it's already Number One there, having that support back home is the best thing ever!"
Michael: "I downloaded it. I pre-ordered it."
You've done your bit to get it to Number One then.
Michael: "I have. I've done my bit!"
So is this the last session for the album?
Michael: "Not quite, we're finishing stuff off here and then we'll have a little bit more to do in L.A. Then we should be ready. All the songs are written, we just need to finish recording."
When did you actually start on the album?
Luke: "About a year and a half ago, it's been a while."
Michael: "December 2012, that long ago."
Ashton: "When we really started work on the album we got put in sessions with some really big writers, before that we'd only really written in our bedrooms and so our songwriting has really moved on in that time."
Calum: "We really discovered how we wanted the album to sound as we went along. Our sound developed so much more than we thought it would."
Luke: "Basically, we wanted to sound like Blink-182 and Green Day, but with a more modern twist."
Ashton: "It was very hard to get producers and label people to understand that because guitars aren't in right now, it's such a pop market. But we had to tell them 'Look, we're only good at guitars'!"
What would say are the biggest influences on the album?
Michael: "We pull influences in from all over the place. Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, All Time Low, those were the big jump off points."
You worked with some pretty big co-writers, including of Scouting for Girls' Roy Stride Jamie Scott, Jake Gosling and Busted's James Bourne, what did they bring to the album?
Luke: "Still retaining your own individuality is still the most important thing."
Ashton: "People don't have your experiences, only you have that, so you need to keep that with you. We learned a lot from those writers though."
Luke: "All those big writers brought good ideas to the sessions, but you need to be writing about what's going on in your life. It's got to be original."
Calum: "At the end of the day it's your song, you've got to keep that in mind."
So of the songs that are in contention to be on the album, are there any that have been around for a really long time?
Luke: "There's one actually that's over two years old, that's probably the oldest, it's a slow one. We wrote it in Australia with this band called Amy Meredith."
Ashton: "It's called 'Beside You', it was on our first EP, well, second EP, we don't count the first one, because it sucked. We always loved it and it sort of got buried there. We didn't want to waste it so we wanted to redo it."
Obviously when you started writing the album your lives were very different to how they are now, can you see that in your lyrics?
Ashton: "We find we write about missing people a lot more now. We've been away for so long. You remember funny things about writing sessions, I remember travelling three hours by train in Australia to write with Amy Meredith, you remember the songs you listened to on the train, everything. You write differently as your experiences change."
You've worked with lots of different producers on the record, was it hard to keep the songs consistent in how they sound?
Luke: "We want the first album to have a similar sound, but also to be very diverse too."
Michael: "There's a lot of variety on there, which we really wanted."
Ashton: "You can hear a lot of our influences in there, from the 90s rock and punk we all got into through to new stuff like Imagine Dragons, even bands like Linkin Park."
Luke: "It all diverges nicely on the album, we're really happy with it."