The boys of 5 Seconds Of Summer (5SOS) have no time for questions like who will be the first in the band to release a solo effort. At a recent press interview in Kuala Lumpur, things got a bit tense in the room when a journalist wanted to know if anyone in the band is poised to pull a Justin Timberlake, Zayn Malik or Robbie Williams – leave the band to pursue a solo career.
Nobody wanted to answer the question until drummer and eldest member 21-year-old Ashton Irwin stepped in. “We’re not really into that. It’s not really important to us yet. Fair enough,” he said.
The other bandmates – guitarist Michael Clifford, rhythm guitar/vocals Luke Hemmings and bassist Calum Hood – idly echoed his statement, letting out “yeah” and quickly moved on to another question about dating. If you have to know, Irwin said he would never let any of his bandmates date his younger sister.
What sets 5SOS apart from bands like One Direction, Fifth Harmony and South Korea’s iKOn is that the guys were not discovered on a reality talent show.
They have established a connection and a sense of camaraderie way before the idea of fame kicked in.
In 2011, Clifford, Hemmings and Hood were in high school when they posted an acoustic cover of Chris Brown’s Next To You on YouTube. Their earnestness was reflected in the video, which went viral.
It was Gotta Get Out, an original number, that caught the attention of One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, who then posted on social media and confessed he was a fan of the band.
The exposure led 5SOS to become the supporting act for One Direction’s tour in 2013. When 5SOS’s eponymous debut album hit No. 1 in 13 countries including the US Billboard 200, it’s safe to say that the boys have successfully extended their fame to last beyond five seconds.
“When we started the band, we didn’t expect to be this big. At that time, the name ‘5 Seconds Of Summer’ came up simply because we needed one. We didn’t exactly feel like a band at that time. Then, it just kinda evolve into where we are now,” explained Clifford.
The “where we are now” includes a worldwide Sounds Good Feels Good tour, an American Music Awards win for New Artiste Of The Year in 2014 and People’s Choice award for Favourite Breakout Artiste last year. Oh, and a second album (Sounds Good Feels Good) that peaked at No. 1 on the UK Albums and US Billboard 200 charts.
For Hood, he knew 5SOS was meant to be more than just a YouTube cover band when he saw how much support came from the fans.
“We realised that we have something special with our fans. They are incredible simply because they have stuck with us for a long time,” he said.
Which is why the band grabbed the chance to perform in this region when the opportunity arose.
The band got a rousing welcome from Malaysian fans who reportedly waited for hours for them to arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
Hemmings said the band was happy to be able to make time for fans here: “It’s our first time in Asia and we didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve had a lot of activity online from our fans in Asia. So to come here is a really proud moment for us.”