By Kyle Anderson
October 22, 2015 at 07:38 PM EDT
Robin Marchant/Getty Images

On their new album Sounds Good Feels Good, which is out now, 5 Seconds of Summer wear their influences proudly. The band of Aussies — Ashton Irwin, Calum Hood, Luke Hemmings, and Michael Clifford — grew up obsessing over the possibilities of pop punk and allowing all manner of radio rock to inform their slick sound (and now regularly collaborate with some of their heroes). They already told EW about how much the work of Third Eye Blind informed the songs on Sounds Good, but we caught up with them on the eve of the album’s release to go deeper into the bands that most directly inform the biggest rock band on the radio right now. “There’s a lot of different bands for each of us,” says Hemmings. “Without any of those bands, the sound wouldn’t be the same as it is now.”

Green Day

Of the many bands 5S0S worship, they can all agree on the most successful pop-punk group of all time. “For me, it was their live performance, and the energy that the band has. Also, they didn’t take themselves too seriously,” says Irwin of frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tré Cool. “But they [came] from a tough upbringing, and that appealed to a guy like me. I felt like I could relate to their music when I was younger, and I still can now. That’s the mark of a great band.”


The significantly crunchier guitars on Sounds Good Feels Good were inspired by Clifford and Hemmings’ obsession with the metal gods. “I was definitely that guy at school who would wear a Metallica shirt and be like, ‘Do you like Metallica?'” explains Clifford. “And if you said no I’d be like, ‘Well, then, you suck!'” Adds Hemmings, “I wouldn’t say any of us was a metalhead, but when I first started playing guitar, all I would play was heavy metal for a few years. I think everybody had a metal thing out where we live.” 

My Chemical Romance

The band’s interest in the overall aesthetic of a release (from cover art to music videos) comes from their emo heroes. “My Chemical Romance are my favorite band,” says Clifford. “[Their 2010 record] Danger Days wasn’t just an album. People who listened to it really delved deeper into the music and the band. That’s something we really wanted to do with our album. We’re putting up this artwork in a bunch of different cities. The art is really special to us and our fans really like it.”


Sounds Good is packed with sharp tales of punk-rock love and loss (“Jet Black Heart”), and the group’s focus on storytelling comes from an unlikely source. “It’s classic blink-182,” says Hemmings, who adds that 5S0S’ hit single “She’s Kinda Hot” has depth. “I always love having underlying messages in songs. We get asked what girl is actually kind of hot, and it’s actually not even about a girl, really.”

Good Charlotte

5S0S don’t just like Charlotte founders Joel and Benji Madden, they’re also in business together: The brothers collaborated on both of the band’s releases. “My first gig and my first poster on my wall was Good Charlotte,” says Hemmings. “That’s kind of embarrassing, because I’m friends with the Maddens now. I saw them on stage in Sydney when I was 13 and thought, ‘These guys look f—ing awesome. I want to do that.’ We really picked their brains. We learned everything we could and wrote the best songs we could with them. They’re a huge part of this album.”