On their new album C A L M, 5 Seconds of Summer show their growth from pop punk to pop music, exploring a new sound. The album name is an acronym of each of their names, resembling who their souls are through every track.
5SOS’s debut album for Interscope Records, C A L M expresses what Luke Hemmings calls “a journey through a young man’s life, for better or for worse.” 5SOS reached a new, deeper level of honesty and emotional depth, marking a successful and phenomenal 4th album. “These new songs feel like something we could keep playing for the next 10 years, or even beyond that,” says Calum Hood. “It feels like our first album—like we finally found what we’d been trying to achieve since the beginning of this band.”
Through creating C A L M, 5SOS worked with producer Andrew Watt. “He loves rock & roll to the core, and he’s a great innovator in terms of bringing that into pop,” notes Hemmings. The band worked on the album in Watt's studio, which Clifford describes as “really dark and extremely sweaty.” As a result, C A L M has a darker/gritty style combined with 5SOS's beautiful vocals and harmonies.
On "Easier," Hood says, “Andrew gave me the freedom and space to play with all these different sounds with the synth and keys, which ended up being a huge anchor for the album.” Hood states that rock bands like HEALTH are one of his musical inspirations. “I feel like I learned a lot about juxtaposing shades of light and dark, and it created a new contrast within our music.”
On their single “Teeth,” the bass absorbs the track and portrays a darker vibe. “A lot of this album deals with jealousy and trust issues,” says Hemmings. “‘Teeth’ is about the struggle to push through all that, because you know there’s something beautiful on the other side.” With guitarist Tom Morello as a guest on the track, “Teeth” expresses what the band created by deconstructing songs like The Clash’s “London Calling.” “I realized that four-to-the-floor chorus and huge drums have become a personality trait of the band, and we need to just completely own that,” says Irwin.
On “Old Me” 5SOS reflect on their growth as artists and people. “That song is us paying homage to where we’ve been, but it’s also about who we hope to be—not just as musicians, but as humans,” says Hood. “We started out writing songs on acoustic guitars, so it was cool to include that element on ‘Old Me.’” In a way, hearing that song takes me back to every single chapter we’ve lived out as a band.”
On one of the tracks released a day before the album came out, "Wildflower," Calum Hood says:
“We wanted to make the chorus kind of a choose-your-own-adventure, where some words are left out and then accentuated by these big stabs of synth. “It lets everyone come up with their own interpretation, and fill in whatever they think those missing lyrics might be.”
Throughout C A L M, 5SOS express their bond of brotherhood and passion for creating music together. The band bonded over a love for music such as Australian metalcore bands like Parkway Drive. “In metal, there’s this spirit of wanting to get out of wherever you came from and do something bigger with your life,” says Clifford. “We took that spirit, and somehow managed to turn it into pop music.” Along with playing multiple shows, 5SOS has gained a large and dedicated fanbase over the years who have not left their side.
In LA, the band reconnected with Andrew Watt and started working on music with inspiration from bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and Killing Joke. “There’s a sincerity and darkness to their songs that I wanted to bring into our music but in a more modern context,” says Irwin.
5SOS explored different sounds throughout CALM. “We’re fascinated with incorporating this very industrial-type musicality into what we’re doing as a band,” says Irwin. “A lot of it comes from being in L.A. and going to goth clubs and getting exposed to music I’d never heard in Australia, and then studying genres like new wave and darkwave. As a drummer I’m drawn to those rhythms that are so hard and primitive, and it’s been exciting to bring that into the melodic structure of pop.
"Even if we’re writing about something beautiful, we always try to put some sort of dark twist on it so that the song has our own unique stamp,” says Hemmings.
5SOS always finds ways to connect with their fans and genuinely care about forming a strong relationship. “We all grew up latching onto these bands that meant so much to us, and it fuels my soul to see our fans finding themselves in our music in a way that gives them joy,” says Ashton Irwin. “We want to just keep on growing and evolving, and crafting our songs so that they really stand the test of time. That’s what we’ve been pursuing since we were kids, and at this point it’s all we really know how to do.”
LISTEN TO CALM HERE: https://open.spotify.com/album/0vX2Jo5xhltAA7kVdW2hwO