5 Seconds Of Summer are back and better than ever with Youngblood, their third full-length after a three-year gap between records. While fans eagerly awaited new music, the four-piece were busy writing but also taking care of themselves to maintain mental health.
In the early stages of the band’s rise to notoriety, guitarist Michael Clifford became the fan-elected mental health spokesman, which he wasn’t comfortable with at first.
“It happened at a time where I was in a really bad place,” Clifford says. “I would have liked for that to have happened after I had been through it so I could talk about it with the knowledge of how to get through it, but when I was first put into that spotlight of being a mental [health] advocate, I was still so dark in my own head about my problems. I would have liked for that to play out differently.”
Clifford used the time away to “figure it out” before returning to the public eye and embracing the role he had been given.
“I’m so lucky as a person now to even be regarded as someone who could be an advocate,” he says. “It’s pretty surreal to think one person could make such a difference.”
Clifford believes if he can even help one fan get through a dark time, then his job is done.
“We’ve had so many people who support this band,” he continues. “And I’m sure a lot of them struggle with mental health issues. If I can help one person, then this is all worth it. I know that’s cheesy and everyone has said that, but everyone says that for a reason. Because, well it’s true.”
Clifford isn’t the only member of 5SOS who opened up about his mental health as Ashton Irwin delved into fears of alcoholism.
“I’ve always been terribly afraid of becoming an alcoholic,” he says. “On the road, you have this constant state of being the life of the party; that’s what being in a touring band is.”
Irwin’s fears stem back to his childhood.
“My upbringing is…interesting,” he says. “I didn’t have a father, and my mom has struggled with alcoholism my whole life. I’ve grown up kind of bringing other people up…I’ve had to be relentlessly positive, and I have a very depressed mind.”
Like Clifford, however, he found a way to cope during the band’s time away between albums.
“I actually dove inward for the first time,” he says. “I was living alone, and the only way I was able to focus on the album was diving into my actual songwriting and processing who I actually was through song. I was feeling down and the most depressed I’ve ever felt, but apparently that’s when you create your best work.”
When questioned about words of advice for fans currently struggling, Clifford acknowledges that not everyone deals with things in the same way.
“The main thing for me was being aware of your feelings,” he says. “If you can acknowledge it, you’re already halfway there. A lot of the time you can kind of wonder what’s wrong with you, you can say there’s this or that…but it’s not until you acknowledge it and you make a conscious effort to believe whatever it is you’re going through.
“It gets bad before it gets better, so it’s being aware and accepting that you have those issues and then learning how to deal with it,” he continues. “You really just have to understand what’s going on with you before you can start to move past it.”
Irwin agrees with Clifford’s advice.
“I look back on it now, and I’m thankful for the feelings, and I’m thankful for the process,” he says. “It was a very weird time in my life, but it’s just another process and now we have the album Youngblood, and it totally articulates the way I was feeling. It’s the truest album we’ve ever released.”
5 Seconds Of Summer open up about all of this and more in the latest issue (AP 360). The band will be hitting the road later this month with the Aces as support in the U.S., and dates can be viewed below.
08/27 – Toronto, ON @ RBC Echo Beach
08/29 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
08/30 – Boston, MA @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
09/01 – Allentown, PA @ The Great Allentown Fair
09/02 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheatre at Virginia Beach
09/05 – Vienna, VA @ Wolf Trap
09/07 – Allegan, MI @ Allegan County Fair
09/08 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
09/09 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Armory
09/11 – Rochester Hills, MI @ Meadow Brook Amphitheatre
09/13 – York, PA @ York Fair
09/14 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
09/16 – Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
09/18 – Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
09/19 – Atlanta, GA @ Coca-Cola Roxy
09/24 – Nashville, TN @ Nashville Municipal Auditorium
09/26 – Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP
09/27 – Irving, TX @ The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
09/28 – Sugar Land, TX @ Smart Financial Centre
09/30 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
10/02 – San Diego, CA @ Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
10/03 – San Jose, CA @ Event Center at San Jose State
10/05 – Seattle, WA @ The Paramount Theatre
10/11 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
10/12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek Theatre
10/23 – Glasgow @ O2 Academy*
10/26 – Manchester @ O2 Apollo*
10/29 – London @ O2 Academy Brixton*
11/01 – Birmingham @ O2 Academy*
11/02 – Sheffield @ O2 Academy*
* Without the Aces