SUM­MER’S HERE TO STAY

The boys from Aussie band 5 Sec­onds of Sum­mer talk about out­selling Bey­once and Jay Z and why they’re un­der­dogs who ‘mean busi­ness’

Khaleej Times - City Times - - FRONT PAGE -

5 SEC­ONDS OF Sum­mer were al­ready in shock when their al­bum beat out Bey­once and Jay-z for the top spot on the Bill­board 200 chart this sum­mer. But hav­ing their sin­gle Young­blood reach the No. 1 spot on the pop songs chart and be­come an in­ter­na­tional smash hit has the band in awe.

“We re­ally didn’t ex­pect this,” said singer-gui­tarist Michael Clif­ford of the Aus­tralian rock-pop band, which in­cludes Luke Hem­mings, Calum Hood and Ash­ton Ir­win.

Young­blood re­cently spent five weeks at No. 1 on the pop songs charts, which tracks Top 40 ra­dio air­play. The track is spend­ing its sev­enth week in the Top 10 on the all-genre Hot 100 chart, where rap songs have heav­ily dom­i­nated in the last year.

Clif­ford calls the hit song “au­then­ti­cally us” and said it al­lows fans to “see the real ver­sion of our­selves and our mu­sic in a very bold way than what we’ve de­liv­ered in other songs.”

“You can never pre­dict the suc­cess of a song — you can only hope,” he added.

The band’s im­pres­sive year kicked off when Young­blood, also the ti­tle of their lat­est al­bum, out­sold Bey­once and Jay-z’s Ev­ery­thing Is Love, giv­ing the band their third No. 1 al­bum on Bill­board’s 200 al­bums chart.

Clif­ford ad­mits the band was wor­ried when the su­per­star duo re­leased their al­bum as a sur­prise a day af­ter 5SOS’ al­bum.

“It was in­cred­i­bly scary for us,” Clif­ford said. “But our fans re­ally ral­lied be­hind us. They knew what it meant to us. We’ve al­ways been kind of un­der­dogs. But we were able to show on a large scale, a large plat­form that we can per­form. We also showed that 5 Sec­onds of Sum­mer mean busi­ness.”

They fol­lowed the suc­cess with an ex­ten­sive tour — which wraps on November 19 in Madrid — play­ing Young­blood to thou­sands of fans as the song con­tin­ued to climb the charts.

Grow­ing up with fans

5SOS ini­tially planned to re­lease an al­bum last year but held off to “per­fect” a new sound. Young­blood comes three years af­ter 2015’s Sounds Good Feels Good. The band’s self-ti­tled de­but was re­leased in 2014.

“You write dif­fer­ent songs when you’re 16 or 17 to when you’re 22 or 23,” said Hem­mings, who sings and plays gui­tar.

“I think our fans were the same age as us when we came out. I think they grew up with us. I think, in a way, we have sim­i­lar tastes. We were try­ing to find some­thing that would de­fine our­selves as men like in our 20s. I think peo­ple have re­sponded to that.”

Each band mem­ber was a solo artist be­fore they formed the group in 2011. The four­some posted videos on Youtube of them­selves cov­er­ing songs by Ed Sheeran, Blink-182 and Chris Brown, gar­ner­ing mil­lions of views.

Their suc­cess­ful grass­roots move­ment af­forded them an op­por­tu­nity to tour with One Di­rec­tion in 2013, which gave them their first claim to fame. At the time, the group said it was a “huge risk” by leav­ing the comforts of Aus­tralia, where they had al­ready built a good sup­port base.

But Clif­ford adds that the band al­ways knew they would make it.

“We were play­ing to 20 peo­ple in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, and we knew that we were go­ing to be the big­gest band in the world,” he said.

With that mind­set, we were just like un­stop­pable. There was no ceil­ing. You can never re­ally know what you’re go­ing to do, but you can man­i­fest. Our ca­reer has been telling peo­ple what we’re go­ing to be. I think peo­ple be­lieved us.”

We were play­ing to 20 peo­ple in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, and we knew that we were go­ing to be the big­gest band in the world.” Michael Clif­ford

5 Sec­onds of Sum­mer band mem­bers, from left, Calum Hood, Ash­ton Ir­win, Luke Hem­mings and Michael Clif­ford

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