Photography by Christelle de Castro
Fashion by Julian Antetomaso
In 2018, Beyonce and Jay-Z were blocked from the top spot of a chart by 5 Seconds of Summer, an international band that still modestly refers to themselves as “Four dudes from Western Sydney.” The championing album is their third studio record, Youngblood, which marks the first time in history that a band’s first three albums have gone No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S. It’s a record that exceeded expectation, and might not have ever happened.
“To get four individual minds on board and moving forward productively in a creative direction is super hard. We really struggled with that on this [record], so it took a new level of communication and understanding, and also trust,” says Ashton Irwin. Over the next two years of living, writing, and recording together in Los Angeles, they found their “staple sound” in “Youngblood,” the album’s title track. “We went in and recorded it and that’s when I knew...holy shit. We’re on to something special here,” says Calum Hood. The record sales have proven just that, and now the guys are on to a new challenge: their “Meet You There” world tour, starting with the setlist.
“It’s definitely about bringing the old to the new, songs from the first and second album that [not even] purposely brought us to the sound of the third,” says Luke Hemmings, adding, “There’s a song from our first EP that we’re playing called, ‘The Only Reason.’ We’ve never played it live before.” Hemmings is hoping to nail it, but recognizes that ”a show is malleable, and maybe it’ll go down terribly, but I think fans will like this one.” That malleability is also what Hood sees as the key to merging the life stories of four individuals into words. “I feel like a big part of songwriting is to adapt. My role in the band for [Youngblood] was to shape all of the ideas and put ’em into places where they made sense. I feel like Ashton and Luke were the main drivers because they had the hurt, they had the love, and they had the vulnerability.”
Vulnerability is something both Irwin and fellow band member Michael Clifford show in their willingness to discuss mental health. On the topic, Clifford says, “To be in a position where people can look up to you and be like, ‘I came out about my anxiety and I went and saw a therapist because of you.’ There’s a couple of things that really matter in life and being able to affect someone in a positive way is like, probably like, you know, if there’s a reason I’m here for anything, it’s trying to help people.”
Makeup: Kento Utsubo
Hair: Yuhi Kim (Bridge Artists)
Makeup Assistant: Mao Uga
Digital Technician: Brandon Aviram
Catering: Better Being
Design: Cathryn Carey (Stoneman)