5 Seconds of Summer first toured with One Direction last year, before its big hit, 'She Looks So Perfect.' (Tom Van Schelven)
Last year, 5 Seconds of Summer hadn’t even released an album yet, and already they were touring arenas, opening for One Direction.
This year they’re back with One Direction, and they’ve been upgraded to football stadiums, including Ford Field this weekend. But now, they’ve got a smash single under their belts, as well as a debut album that arrived on the Billboard charts at No. 1.
“For a band like us from the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, to have a No. 1 album in America, that’s like wishing on a (expletive) star,” says 5SOS guitarist Michael Clifford, on the phone earlier this week from a tour stop in Philadelphia.
That album, the self-titled “5 Seconds of Summer,” was released in June and sold a robust 259,000 copies its first week in stores. It has since sold another 100,000 copies and sits at No. 5 on this week’s Billboard Top 200 albums chart. “We weren’t really sure if people were actually going to buy it, as weird as that sounds,” says Clifford, 18. “We were just never sure of what was going to happen.”
What happened was the band got huge, thanks in large part to their scrappy good looks (evident to fans early on from the band’s YouTube videos, which date back to February 2011) and also thanks to their ultra-catchy sound. The band’s lead single, “She Looks So Perfect,” encapsulates that sound: giant hook, industrial strength shout-along chorus and a carefree air of youthful exuberance. The band’s music is the sound of first crushes, soda pop and sunshine — the soundtrack to five seconds of summer, more or less.
The guys — Clifford, lead singer Luke Hemmings, bassist Calum Hood and drummer Ashton Irwin — found their lane musically with the help of producer John Feldmann, the former Goldfinger frontman who has produced albums with the Used, Good Charlotte and All Time Low. The band hooked up with Feldmann in late 2012-early 2013, and he helped them pull everything together and settle on a style — music designed for fans to sing back at them. After that, the band wrote “She Looks So Perfect,” and the rest is what fans will see when the group plays Ford Field with One Direction on tonight and Sunday.
Clifford says he wasn’t sure about “She Looks So Perfect” at first. “It took me awhile to come around and like it,” he says. “I was having a weird day in the session, I guess, and I was like, ‘No, I don’t like this song.’ But when I listened to it back, it was definitely a good first statement for us.”
The statement worked, and the group’s success has 5 Seconds of Summer already looking to next summer and beyond. The group plans on enlisting Feldmann again for their next album, which Clifford says will hopefully be out next year, and a summer 2015 tour is already booked and on sale. The group plays The Palace of Auburn Hills on Aug. 19, 2015.
The band has mostly been able to skip the nitty gritty club-level touring during which many artists learn the ropes of playing live. Clifford and his bandmates jumped right into the big time, and Clifford says the group’s strategy is to make everything as big as possible to play to as many people as possible.
“If you make the people in the front love it, it’s a little bit infectious,” Clifford says of playing live. “We just play really, really loud, and we hope they like it.”
with 5 Seconds of Summer
7 p.m. Today and Sunday
2000 Brush, Detroit