Ashton Irwin (5 Seconds Of Summer) talks Album No. 2, "Pizza" and upcoming "Rock Out With Your Socks Out" World Tour
The foursome recently released their first album (which debuted at number one in over ten countries) and are currently opening for One Direction on the North American leg of their world tour. Clearly, 5SOS has no plans to slow down anytime soon. Australia's hottest export has already squeezed in upcoming appearances at this year's MTV Video Music Awards and iHeartRadio Music Festival on their tour leg as well as scheduling two shows at the 17,000+ capacity Forum venue in Los Angeles later this year. And if that wasn't enough, the guys already have a four-month world tour booked for 2015 and are starting work on their second full-length.
We spoke with drummer Ashton Irwin about what fans can expect from the band's "Rock Out With Your Socks Out" world tour, album number two, and "Pizza."
How does it feel to finally have this album out worldwide?
It's a massive relief actually! Even that word blows our mind. It's an incredible opportunity for an Australian artist to release an album worldwide. It's the best thing ever to have a sense of identity on a disc. We're going to love every minute of playing those songs live.
You were able to write with an impressive array of writers for the record, including Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and The Madden Brothers. Was there anybody else you wanted to collaborate with?
Not really. We found a bunch of core people that we liked and it worked really well, so we stuck with those guys. We didn't want to collaborate with too many people - we just wanted to find a bunch of people who understood our vision as a band, so we ran with that.
It's nice to be friends with those guys too and have them on board with everything, their music has been a huge influence on us as a band. Good Charlotte and All Time Low were the dudes that got us onto playing our instruments and to have them working with us on our first ever album was incredible. The other thing as well is I hope we can benefit their music as well. Vice versa.
For Record Store Day in the UK, you released a tape with a demo of an unreleased punk-rock gem titled "Pizza." Can we expect any surprises like this again?
[laughs] "Pizza" was a joke! It's something we just mucked around with.
The main thing about releasing a tape was that as a band, we like to do cool things that the fans can get involved with. They had to go find it in record stores. As a band, we really like setting challenges and stuff for the fans. It's kind of old school as well, so that's nice.
You recently announced a North American amphitheater tour. How does it feel to be headlining these huge venues?
Feels incredible. I've always looked up to bands who put on a huge amphitheater show and I can't wait to create something cool and special for the fans, ourselves and put on a cool rock show.
I can't wait to experience what it's like to be part of a tour that big that's actually ours.
Have discussions been made about who you would be bringing out as support on this tour?
We see bands everyday whether they're local or well known bands and we always say, "man, they could come out on tour with us!" but nothing is confirmed. We always see bands that could add a core dynamic to our own. It's kind of hard right now. We speak about it a lot.
What can fans expect from the "Rock Out With Your Socks Out" world tour?
The album has got a lot of songs that are high energy that you can rock out to, and I want to get that energy and throw it out to the audience in a live experience. I want them to leave feeling like they ran a marathon basically! [laughs] I want it to be loud and rock and high energy. I want it to be fun and capture the humor of the band at the same time. It'll be all those things mashed into one.
The core thing for us is lighting. We don't do too much with the stage, we just do things that emphasize our stage craft. We're a guitar band, so we don't have things that will propel us into the air! It's just a stage that you can rock out on.
Maybe even a flying drum solo from you, like Travis Barker [of Blink-182] does during live shows?
[laughs] Maybe when the budget gets a little bit bigger, yeah!
You recently mentioned that the band has already started to write album number two. What's the current status?
We learnt a lot from writing the first one and we're excited to continue on evolving as a band. The second album really excites me to have something a little bit older and mature.
It's still very early but we're sending around demos. That's about it at the moment. We're still focused on touring, so there's not too much writing going on right now.
Do you find it easier to write on the road or when you get some studio time?
I never write on the road. I'm a strong believer of going out on the road and focussing on touring and living life a bit. It kind of gives you fuel to write when you're back in the studio.
Have you already thought about who you would like to write with on your next album?
I'm not sure. We'd like to write a lot of it ourselves this time but work with the same people and maybe one or two new people. We heard from Simple Plan the other day actually when we were in Canada. We would like to work with bands like that who are really cool.
We've actually written a lot of songs that have never been released that aren't quite right for us. Some are too heavy, some are too soft and bands like are like, "I'd really like to use this song!" and that's a cool thing to experience as well -- people using your songs.
Even though the album only recently came out, you've been touring non-stop for the past year. You guys really seem to have no plans to slow down anytime soon.
It's going to be tough. It's all worth the hard work. We've been wanting to be a band for a really long time. We don't want to be a band just for two years, we're trying to prepare something great for the future.
- Jon Ableson
5 Seconds Of Summer's self-titled debut album is available now via Capitol Records. Dates and ticket information for the band's 2015 "Rock Out With Your Socks Out" world tour can be found here.