They've toured with One Direction and hit No. 2 with their debut EP. So what's next?
Aussies ascending: Listen up, mates. Next in line for the teen heartthrob throne is 5 Seconds of Summer, four Australian lads with perfectly coiffed hair who appear headed for One Direction levels of success. A bold prediction, yes, but the proof is in the numbers: Their She Looks So Perfect EP nearly overtook Frozen's soundtrack on the Billboard album chart when it debuted in the U.S. on April 1, landing at No. 2 and selling 143,000 copies in its first week.
Across social media, the pop-punk rockers have amassed 2.4 million Facebook "likes," 11 million combined Twitter followers and 20 million combined YouTube views for She Looks So Perfect's lyric and music videos. Still not convinced? Then listen to the screams of their fans who snatched up tickets to the band's first North American headlining tour, a 10-date jaunt that sold out in in less than five minutes in February.
One Direction connection: 5 Seconds of Summer — Calum Hood, 18; Luke Hemmings, 17; Michael Clifford, 18; and Ashton Irwin, 19 — will join One Direction on the European and North American legs of their world tour this summer and fall. They also opened for the group last year, and were impressed. "The boys work so hard, and I don't think people on the outside really understand how much pressure they're under," Irwin says. "Just the way they handle day-to-day life being One Direction, it's a cool thing to watch."
Small crowd, big success: Clifford, Hemmings and Hood played music together as schoolmates in a Sydney suburb, drawing fans with YouTube covers of songs such as Chris Brown and Justin Bieber's Next to You. After booking their first gig, they realized they needed a drummer, so Clifford reached out to his friend Irwin on Facebook and said they'd be playing to more than 200 people. "We went onstage and there were 12 people there," Hood says. "Michael sort of over-exaggerated." Irwin calls it his favorite show to date because "it was so new to us. It was a terrible gig, but there was just something about it that me and the boys loved. We knew it was the start of something cool for us."
Boy band? Not exactly: Although they play their own instruments, don't dance and cite Green Day and All Time Low as influences, they're frequently lumped into the "boy band" category. "We didn't really realize we were a boy band until people started calling us a boy band," Irwin says. "I understand and we don't care what people call us, as long as we're making the music we love.''
Multitasking: While opening for One Direction in Melbourne, Australia, last year, "I actually split my pants from my crotch to my knee, so I had to go backstage while the stage was dark and duct-tape my leg, but still be playing at the same time," Hood says. "That was kind of hard to do and it was pretty embarrassing, but I just had to announce it to the crowd to make it less embarrassing."
Home sweet home: While staying in Los Angeles, "fans found out where we were living and they sent us two male strippers, which was pretty funny," Hood says. But at first, they weren't so sure what was going on. The strippers "had flashlights and were shining them through the window. Michael ran up to me and was like, 'There's people trying to break into our house!'"
Under pressure: So how does it feel to be dubbed the next global superstars? "You always feel a bit of pressure," Hood says. "The boys and I have high expectations of what we want to achieve, but we're really just having fun at the moment and taking it day by day."