5 SECONDS OF SUMMER
THE VOCALS MAY WELL HAVE BEEN RECORDED ON A BEACH, BUT UNDER THE SURFACE, 5SOS‘ EPIC DOUBLE-SONG IS FAR FROM IDYLLIC… OUTER SPACE/ CARRY ON
Going in to the making of their all-important second album, 5 Seconds Of Summer were a very different band than the group of teens who had penned tracks about American Apparel underwear, wishing they were 18 and how ‘Good girls are bad girls that haven’t been caught’ on their self-titled debut. Understandably, being a record that frontman Luke Hemmings later admitted to Kerrang! wasn’t especially “cohesive”, in your wildest dreams you’d never imagine a six-and-a-half-minute epic to appear on the Aussies’ breakthrough debut.
Two years of touring and a hell of a lot of growing up later, though, and 5SOS were more than equipped to tackle what would eventually become Outer Space/carry On, the closing double-song on 2015’s 4K-rated Sounds Good Feels Good. In an album confronting everything from loneliness, to childhood, to anxiety and depression (a considerably more mature approach than those aforementioned early songs…), Luke is extremely proud of the fact that Outer Space/ Carry On “is such a long song, and covers a lot of topics – all that stuff that our fans attach themselves to, because we attach to that, too.”
And not only does the track contain some of the pop-punks’ most heartfelt and memorable lyrics (‘I’m still running back to you / If you could love me again / I could let go of everything’), it was created in a pretty remarkable manner, too.
“My vocals for Outer Space were recorded on a beach at midnight,” Luke grinned to Kerrang! after Sounds Good Feels Good’s release. “And then Carry On, the bonus song at the end, has the ocean sounds at the end that me and Ash [Irwin, drums] recorded at the beach with [producer] John Feldmann.”
This out-of-studio technique meant that Ashton also had an extra-soft spot for the track, too, declaring it the song he wants 5 Seconds Of Summer fans to remember them for; “I think that’s probably one of the best songs we’ll ever make – it’s an epic!” he proudly smiled. “I really love that song; I love the lyrics, I love it musically. I really put my heart and soul into everything on the album.”
Vocally, however, it wasn’t quite how Luke had originally intended. “I had lost my voice at that point so I could only sing low, so that’s why it’s so low!” he chuckled. “But it sounded cool, so that’s why we kind of just left it.”
Though these days 5 Seconds Of Summer can look back fondly at the work they’ve created, and the progress they’ve made as a band and as musicians, it doesn’t mean that their stunningly speedy rise hasn’t taken its toll; and Sounds Good Feel Good isn’t necessarily as optimistic as its title suggests.
“Doing what we do has incredible highs and just as bad lows,” Luke conceded. “It’s always up and down, up and down, to the extremes, as opposed to just a regular human, who would have a constant. So it’s mentally challenging, but you don’t realise that going into it. We were trying to figure out how to deal with that – especially with the level that we got to so quickly. There’s a few happy songs as well – [lead single] She’s Kinda Hot tackles those subjects, but in a positive way. That’s what we wanted to do with [that] album – to have those topics, but put a positive spin on them.”