The single and title track of your album, “Youngblood,” was really important for you as a band. Why is that?
Calum: When we were writing we had the puzzle pieces to this album, but we didn’t quite have the full picture. We had everything but we were still searching for the one thing that defined this next chapter of the band. When that song came about, it was almost a sigh of relief. It kind of redefines the culture within our fanbase. “Youngblood” just gravitates towards what we now are as a band and how we want to be portrayed, which is everything we could ask for in a song.
Michael: Sometimes there are songs that live on an album that just resonate within a fanbase. We always kind of knew that [“Youngblood”] would work, but not to the extent that it has. It’s so satisfying to have a song that you really believe in that actually connects with your audience, especially a song that defines an album campaign.
Ashton: It’s hard for a band like us, we had our first hit [“She Looks So Perfect”] in 2014. It’s 2018 now and we’ve done so much of just that one song while we didn’t have a song that redefined who we currently are as a band. I’m so glad that people responded the way that they have to “Youngblood” because it’s a chance to reshape the culture and fanbase around 5SOS.
You guys have spoken a lot about your fan base which happens to be really young. That means that a lot of the fans that have stuck with you spent their teenage years listening to your music. Youngblood offers a new sound that lots of new fans love but does it still have something for fans from before?
Ashton: That was one of the major problems we had to work out when we were writing the album. We’re very aware of how we used to sound and are aware of how some of the older fans may feel. Songs like “Ghost of You,” and others like “Why Won’t You Love Me,” and “Babylon,” like Michael said, have a classic 5SOS sound. They serve our existing fans, which is incredibly important, while still having elements of our new sound.
Michael: Like you said, a majority of our fans were the same age as us when they found our music, and we’re in our early 20s now. People’s music tastes change as they grow, just like we did. In general the world’s music taste changes, like what’s globally popular shifts through time.
Luke: There were a few songs in the album, like “Meet You There,” that were actually written during the Sounds Live Feels Live tour that we just had to revisit because music changed. What people listened to was just different.
Ashton: But it’s never a goal of ours to follow music trends, we’re just conscious of them. We’re always striving to create something that stands alone.
At your Apple Music release show you did this beautiful thing on stage where you each turned toward each other at the end of the song. In that moment it was apparent how much your bond as a group influences your performances and your music. What role did that bond play in this album?
Luke: When we turn back to Ashton on stage it’s kind of a reminder of old times. We all finish together. This was a very different album process because for the first two we were all living in a house together. The band was our whole life–it still is–but as we grow, people get into relationships, or you want to live on your own and have friends of your own and stuff.
Calum: This is the first time that we wrote an album while having separate personal lives. Up until now we’ve kind of experienced everything together.
Michael: In theory that sounds pretty normal, four different people having four separate lives. But our whole upbringing was literally us together all the time.
Calum: We would all go out together, have dinner together, write together, then go back home together. We were living the same lives. Now, it’s like Ashton will go away for the weekend and have all these stories and that changes his personal reflection and his way of writing, same goes for all of us.
Michael: It was really good that we did that because it actually made for a way better album. Because you can’t live like that forever.
Ashton: I know it sounds super cheesy but the way we feel on stage has not changed since we’ve started the band. I think the only reason we can continue this band is because of that energy that you were talking about, the way they face back to me and I face back to them. The way that we’re connected onstage is a special thing that not everyone has. You can’t force it.
Michael: The idea of playing on stage with anyone else just sounds strange. It just doesn’t feel right.
Calum: It doesn’t even feel like a routine, it just feels like we’re gravitating towards each other.
What can fans expect next from 5SOS?
Ashton: We’re constantly trying to push what a modern rock act is. We intend to do that in every way possible. I think our Meet You There tour is going to be the most modern and advanced way of thinking about a live show that we’ve done yet.
Michael: I think that for people who have been fans of 5SOS, you can just expect to see us guys becoming men. We want to show people how we’ve grown. ♦