Playing music in a band is fun. There is no question about that. If you ever played music in a large band, or small outfit, I’m sure you enjoyed you’re experience. However, once your group takes the step toward making money, the fun can quickly turn to a job. Yes, it is possible that one can enjoy a job. If you enjoy what you do it becomes less like work as you find the thing you love. Music can be that thing that you love. For our featured artists have found tremendous success and still are having a lot of fun. This week Weekly Music Commentary features international sensation 5 Seconds of Summer.
5 Seconds of Summer are an Australian rock band from Sydney that formed in 2011. The group were originally YouTube celebrities, posting videos of themselves covering songs from various artists during 2011 and early 2012.
The group have been referred to as a pop punk band in the media, though the members reject this description, claiming that they wish to play more music than just pop punk. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong once tweeted, “my mission for 2016? to destroy the phrase ‘pop-punk’ forever.” “It’s just as isolating as being called a boy band, you know, being [called] a pop-punk band,” says 5SOS bass player Calum Hood. “I don’t want to make just one type of music. I really want to evolve as a band with our sound. Bands like U2 have songs which are almost completely different genres, and that’s what I love.” Recently, I have listened to a lot of 5 Seconds of Summer music, and I think it might be best to call them a rock band at this time. They will certainly grow musically and then writers and industry folks might stop trying to find a classification.
It all started in 2011 when Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford and Calum Hood, who attended Norwest Christian College, started posting videos of themselves performing covers of popular songs together on Hemmings’ YouTube channel. Hemmings’ first video, a cover of Mike Posner’s “Please Don’t Go”, was posted on February 3, 2011. Their cover of Chris Brown’s “Next to You” received over 600,000 hits. In December 2011, they were joined by drummer Ashton Irwin, and the four-man line up was completed.
The band attracted interest from major music labels and publishers, and signed a publishing deal with Sony ATV Music Publishing. Despite having had no promotion apart from on Facebook and Twitter, their first music release, an EP entitled Unplugged, reached number 3 on the iTunes chart in Australia and the Top 20 in both New Zealand and Sweden. Their international following increased significantly once again when One Direction member Louis Tomlinson posted the link to their YouTube video of their song “Gotta Get Out”, stating that he’d been a fan of 5 Seconds of Summer “for a while”. 5 Seconds of Summer were once again the subject of interest for One Direction after the release of their first single, “Out of My Limit”, on 19 November 2012, this time with Niall Horan tweeting the link to the video clip.
The band’s name, 5 Seconds of Summer, seems proper when you really sit down and think about it. Their ascension to international stardom happened so fast that it seems like it all occurred during a summer. Just a bunch of guys having a good time one minute, and playing on a stage in front of thousands of people the next. A very short summer indeed.
5 Seconds of Summer received help from more than just One Direction band members. They spent the second half of 2012 writing and developing their sound with Christian Lo Russo and Joel Chapman of Australian band Amy Meredith, with whom they wrote two of the songs that feature on their second EP Somewhere New: “Beside You” and “Unpredictable”. The EP was also co-produced by Joel Chapman. In December 2012, the boys embarked on a songwriting trip to London, where they wrote with various artists including McFly, Roy Stride of Scouting for Girls, Nick Hodgson of Kaiser Chiefs, Jamie Scott, Jake Gosling, Steve Robson and James Bourne of Busted.
Even though 5SOS has developed a huge fan base, I’m sure there are some folks who may not like the guys or pre-judge them before really giving an ear to their music. Why? The connection between 5SOS and One Direction extends to both artists being managed by London-based Modest Management. This has led to 5SOS being called a boy band in the media. The label “boy band” might have a negative connotation in music industry circles, but it is unfair to both groups. Unlike many boy bands, 5SOS write their own songs, play their own instruments, and they are not primarily a dance group. The only similarity is the band has attracted a fanatical following of girls much like other boy bands. John Feldmann, frontman of Goldfinger and producer on 5 Seconds of Summer, attributes 5 Seconds of Summer’s fanbase to “a fundamental change in the pop punk demo[graphic]”, mentioning the gradual demographic shift away from the majority male audiences of early 1990s pop punk acts such as Blink-182 and Green Day.
After finishing the Sounds Live Feels Live World Tour at the end of last year, 5SOS announced they are working on new material for their upcoming album. The album is scheduled to be released this year. Therefore, right on schedule, 5 Seconds of Summer is working to give us good music. Just like they always wanted to do.
When you have a group of young guys in their early twenties selling music worldwide, there most certainly will be more to come. Stay tuned!