At rehearsal for Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards at The Forum on Saturday night (March 28), the show’s location at the famed Los Angeles venue is not lost on Aussie rock band 5 Seconds of Summer as the act prepares to unleash its second studio album and embark on an international headlining arena tour.
Saturday’s 5SOS signature cover of “What I Like About You” will no doubt be the most amped in a house that includes Nick Jonas, Iggy Azalea and Meghan Trainor. But the Forum is also where bandmates Michael Clifford, Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood and Ashton Irwin played a one-off headline show last fall — the first time they commanded the entire show on a stage that size.
“Putting together an arena show has been an incredible experience,” Irwin says. “When we played the Forum in November, it really inspired us. To think we’re playing similar-sized venues this whole tour is really insane. It’s a dream come true.”
The dream has been amplifying for some time. The band’s self-titled first album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last summer, and the group continued to build its rabid fan base of primarily young females opening for 66 dates of One Direction‘s Where We Are tour last year, its second time on the road with 1D.
“The main thing for us is the fans have a great time and they want to come back for years,” Irwin says. “So we put everything we have into it, energy-wise, and we leave the stage having given it our all.”
On Zayn Malik’s decision to leave One Direction, Clifford says, “I think it was a personal decision for Zayn. I don’t think he has anything against the band, I think he just had to make that choice for himself. I wish him all the best.”
“You’ll hear his voice again for sure,” Irwin adds. “That dude has an incredible voice and added an amazing dynamic to that band, so I’m excited to hear his voice again one day, hopefully soon.”
Aside from getting arena-ready, 5SOS is also channeling energy into the new album. Clifford says the project is close to completion, although it’s unclear exactly when it will drop.
“We’ve written most of it, and we’re recording it now. We’ll release it when it’s right, whether it’s on the tour or at the end of the tour,” he says. “New music will definitely be out this year.”
Fans who dig 5SOS’ hit “Amnesia” will be happy to know Joel and Benji Madden took an even greater role co-writing the album with the band and producer John Feldman. The Good Charlotte twins penned “Amnesia” then passed it on to 5SOS, and they continue to take an increased interest in the band.
“They’ve had a big role in the album this time, even more so than the last album,” Hemmings says. “It’s been really fun. We really look up to them, their whole movement as a band. It’s amazing they’re on board with us. They’re great dudes.”
5SOS is paying it forward, developing acts on their boutique label Hi Or Hey Records, distributed via Capitol Records.
“We initially started the label so our fans could feel in control of what we do. A band is more than just music. It’s a whole creative cycle and you really have to mark your label on everything you do,” Hood says. “And then we were thinking, ‘How about we just start signing bands we really like?'”
First label act Hey Violet, a rock quartet that had a short stint on Hollywood Records, dropped its first single “This Is Why” earlier this week.
“We had an image of what we wanted the bands [we sign] to sound like and look like and stand for, and we saw them play and it was exactly what we wanted. We fell in love with them right away. It was an on-the-spot decision,” Irwin says.