Australian pop-punk outfit 5 Seconds of Summer won a 2015 MTV Video Music Award for “She’s Kinda Hot” Sunday night in the fan-voted “Song of Summer” category. Variety caught up with guitarists Luke Hemmings and Michael Clifford, bassist Calum Hood and drummer Ashton Irwin at the Vevo Certified Live concert earlier this month, when the band was celebrating 100 million views for its biggest video, “She Looks So Perfect.” 5SOS shed some light on what they think makes a good video, the “cool revolution” they’ve started with their followers and what fans can expect from their upcoming sophomore album, “Sounds Good Feels Good.”
At what point in your songwriting process do you guys start thinking about a video?
Hemmings: It depends. Sometimes you’re writing a song and you have an image whilst writing a song. I don’t think you ever base a songwriting process around a video, but when you’re writing a song sometimes it’ll be a very visual song.
Irwin: I think the video ideas come from when we get toward the campaign, sort of at the end of the writing process. You want to convey a message to your fans. Here at 5 Seconds of Summer, we love making videos with actual messages. We’re not into shallow videos.
What’s important to include in music videos these days?
Clifford: I still think music videos are really about choreography and especially special effects now. Just loads and loads of the most hot women in bikinis you can fit in the video. Like Flo Rida.
Hemmings: It’s about getting the message of the song across as well as you can. With “She’s Kinda Hot,” it was about a place for our fans to fit into the “new broken scene.” With us on the float in the video, we’re leading the leaders of the “not coming backs” and all our fans, and they’re following us in this cool revolution.
Has the success of “She’s Kinda Hot” impacted your thoughts for the next video?
Irwin: Oh yeah. On this album, the whole concept of the “new broken scene” on “Sounds Good Feels Good” is going to be a current throughout the whole thing, so you’ll definitely see aspects of each video in the next one. It all connects. You just have to wait and see.
Are there other artists’ videos who have influenced your videos?
Irwin: I think a lot of ’90s and early 2000s bands made some pretty cool videos, in the sense that the grades they used and the tone of their videos were cool.
Hemmings: I love the idea of making fun of yourself as a band and having the really cool performances and the humorous side of it. All those videos in the ’90s and 2000s.
Irwin: We’re not hugely into copying people, though. We really want to do something different and unique and interesting to people. We try to have elements of our favorite videos in our videos, but then we really put our own 5SOS twist on it.
Clifford: I think it’s that bands in the ’90s used to have a message in their videos. We’ve always wanted to have a message. Not one that’s, like, so obvious, but if you read deep enough into it, you could get it.
Will “Sounds Good Feels Good” have similar lyrical content to your first album?
Clifford: We explore loads of different topics. It varies between songs. There are still songs about love and stuff that we wrote about on the last album, but it really goes into loneliness.
Irwin: Even childhood.
Hemmings: I think on the first album, we were so young. We had stuff to write about then and I love all the songs that we wrote. With the second album, though, we’ve toured the world for a few years and we’ve done some stuff. We’re older now and we’ve been through more. On the second album I think that really comes across. It’s much more personal.
Irwin: All we know is that we really connected to this next album lyrically — more emotionally than we did with the first one. And it really makes us react as people, so hopefully that transfers to the fans.