Aussie pop-punkers 5 Seconds of Summer return with their second album Sounds Good Feels Good on Oct. 23, and though bassist-vocalist Calum Hood teases it as a more mature follow-up to 2014’s 5 Seconds of Summer, the band still promises plenty of guitar-heavy anthems, some inspired by ’90s bands like Third Eye Blind.
Speaking to EW on the phone, Hood previews the next collection, which features the already-released single, “She’s Kinda Hot,” and relays tales about falling in love, late-night parties, and one crazy trip to Big Sur.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s new for you on this album?
This album is a lot more personal. We were living in a house in L.A. for about three months. It had a studio in it and we mainly recorded and wrote the album with John Feldmann, [Good Charlotte’s] Joel and Benji Madden, and Mike Green. I think the boys and I really poured our hearts and souls into this album. We were on the road for about two years, and some of the songs when we wrote them, we were like 15. This one’s more mature. I think our sound evolved naturally since we’re growing up as well. It’s not totally left field. It’s still got the same roots as the last album.
What do you mean “more personal”?
In the three months we just experienced a lot. We kind of lived life. You gotta party and fall in love, you gotta do all those things. I don’t think you can restrict yourself just because you’re making an album. You need to have those experiences so you can write them.
What does that look like musically?
There’s definitely still guitar-driven songs. It has a lot of different influences. I was listening to a lot of Third Eye Blind and Queen and a lot of ’90s bands as well, which I was discovering. That helped me to write in that headspace. Everyone was kind of going through a different phase at the same time, which helped us write together.
What do you think you took from the ’90s bands?
We just really tried to experiment with some of the guitars. We did a lot of different sounds such as banging on the slide outside of John Feldmann’s house, which added a different bass drum feel. I went through a massive Third Eye Blind phase so I was trying to take those simple melodies over the quirky guitar lines and try and incorporate that into our music.
Is there a story behind the name of the album?
We were recording our songs and we were doing changeovers and we just finished the take. We listened to it back and [guitarist-vocalist] Luke [Hemmings] just said, “Sounds good feels good,” and we were like, “F— that’s great.” I was watching the James Brown documentary last night and he says the exact same thing. If it sounds good and feels good then it must be good. We’re still trying to incorporate our humor into the album. We don’t want the album to be too serious. I think that’s the wrong thing to do for us at this time. We don’t take ourselves very seriously, but we take the music very seriously.
Is there one stand-out story that you have from recording?
A story I really love, but I didn’t actually experience, was when [drummer] Ashton [Irwin] and Luke and John went to Big Sur. They wrote a song on the beach, which is actually the last song on the album [“Outer Space/ Carry On”]. It’s a very special song to me. I just feel like when you’re writing an album that’s something you should do. You shouldn’t be stuck in the studio all day, slaving away. You should go out and record in different places and experience different things. That’s why this song turned out like it did. It wouldn’t have been the same as if they recorded it in a studio.
Were all the other songs written in studio?
One of the songs was written when Luke and John were playing ping-pong, one of those songs where everything fell into place. We didn’t think about things too much.