On Oct. 5, 5 Seconds of Summer announced they were done for the year. The news came on the eve of their final gig in their native Sydney at the Hordern Pavilion, after nearly 10 months of constant touring. For 5SOS, announcing a break for the final quarter of 2016 made sense. Its members live inside and out of the boy band paradigm, which makes their fandom exist in a high-demand fashion. By saying they’re done, frontman Luke Hemmings, bassist Calum Hood, guitarist Michael Clifford and drummer Ashton Irwin can remove themselves from their professional titles and relax, however briefly.
Perhaps most shocking about the move is not that it happened, but when. These guys typically don’t take breaks, employing the same kind of exhaustive scheduling as their former tourmates One Direction. In fall to winter, when things typically do slow down in the 5 Seconds of Summer camp, they offer a different kind of attention, anything from an increase in simple social media posts to an annual fan convention -- Derp Con in 2014 in Los Angeles and The New Broken Scene last year in Atlanta. Late last October, the band released Sounds Good Feels Good, their sophomore LP, after a long year on the road following their 2014 self-titled debut. In 2016, it seemed their schedule could continue the album-a-year-cycle. After their Sounds Live Feels Live tour, many fans expected a new full-length right about… now, in November 2016. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get one, but there’s reason to believe album number three is on their minds.
To figure out what’s going on, it’s best to look at the last 12 months. On Feb. 1, just two weeks before 5 Seconds of Summer embarked on their massive world tour, Ashton Irwin posted a Snapchat revealing that he was writing a new song. Later, Michael Clifford and Calum Hood confirmed the move with another vid. In the background of the latter Snap, we hear a brief drum beat -- an indistinguishable cadence. A month later, some very clever 5 Seconds of Summer fans did some digging and found new songs registered to the band’s members on different publishing sites: a dozen or so unreleased tracks with apparent collaborations with everyone from longtime Katy Perry collaborator Bonnie McKee to top-dog pop-punk producer/5SOS BFF John Feldmann. In the same month, images of Calum Hood in the studio with Feldmann, DJ Steve Aoki and Blink-182 members Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker surfaced. In May, Aoki would reveal that he produced a full 5SOS song, telling an interviewer in an Asia Pop 40 interview: