5 Seconds of Summer's Calum Hood Hopes Band's New Album Is a 'Positive Light' for Fans
"It's made me really mindful about other people,” Hood says about the coronavirus outbreak
You can count on 5 Seconds of Summer to give fans new music during this tumultuous time.
The group just dropped their fourth album Calm (stylized C A L M) — and Calum Hood hopes its 12 tracks “can serve as a positive light” as fans practice social distancing. Speaking to PEOPLE, the group’s bassist talked about the genre-bending new album and halting tour plans as the band stays at home due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“As a human, it’s led me to be more empathetic toward people who are not in such a privileged situation as I am,” says Hood. “In terms of physical well-being, mental well-being, or even financial. It’s made me really mindful about other people. I just hope [the album] serves as a positive thing. That’s all it can do.”
As for his own time away, social distancing has given the 24 year old a chance to dust off his record player and listen to some throwback tracks by artists such as Jeff Buckley, David Bowie and Herbie Hancock.
He adds that his bandmates Ashton Irwin, Luke Hemmings and Michael Clifford have stayed in touch through texts and FaceTime calls but that he “tries not to bombard everyone” since now is the ideal time for them to rest — especially Irwin, who acknowledged in a Twitter video earlier this week that he “had started to get sick.”
“I talk to Ashton nearly every day,” says Hood. “It’s funny because it’s actually crazy how much you take for granted seeing people. I used to see that guy every day.”
“He’s probably the healthiest guy I’ve ever met in my lifetime,” he adds. “I’m just hoping that he’ll be able to get through the other side unscathed. He should be all good.”
As Irwin recovers and the “Youngblood” group self-isolates, the band’s tour planning has also been put at a “standstill.” They’re still scheduled to head on their No Shame Tour in Europe starting in May before heading to North America during the fall.
“Everything’s kind of up in the air, especially with touring,” he explains. “It’s out of our hands. We’re not really sure what we’re going to do with that just yet, but once we are able to get back together in a room and talk it out, that’s when decisions will be made.”
But for now, he’s excited for fans to celebrate and listen to the sonically diverse album that is Calm. And if he were to assign a song to each member, here’s what track he’d assign to each member:
Hood would be “Wildflower” because he sings on the track and it represents his “easygoing nature.” Irwin would be “Teeth” because of the track’s influences from bands such as The Cure and Depeche Mode.
“Ashton was really pioneering that influence by bringing in a different side to our style of writing,” he says.
Hemmings would be “Best Years” because the track “sums up his honest songwriting style.” And Clifford would be “High” since it “captures his diversity as a musician” and is the most “Beatles-esque” track on the album.
The album’s title Calm describes the band’s overall mood while making the record.
“There was a freedom and confidence within ourselves to create a great album, and hopefully we did,” he says.
But the title is also a nod to the band member’s first names (Calum, Ashton, Luke and Michael) — an acronym that has reverberated within the group’s fan base since their start. As they’ve promoted the album, the group has gotten a better chance to reconnect with their fans in a more direct way.
Earlier this week, Hood and Hemmings went on Instagram Live and “messed around” with some of their older tracks.
“If we were releasing an album the way we actually do it, we wouldn’t have had time to do that so it’s kind of a really special moment to ground yourself and be with your fans in a time like this,” Hood says.
“I mean, I’ve forgotten most of the lyrics to all the old songs, and they definitely told me that so I think I need to brush up on my discography,” he adds, laughing.
Dropping Calm has also given a chance for the group to see their own fan base evolve with time since their self-titled debut album in 2014.
“Honestly, it’s pretty f—ing crazy,” he says. “You see how their individual fashion styles change and how their music style changes, and how they’re growing into young men and young women who are confident and empowering and liberated within themselves.”
“It’s really just cool to be involved in a forward-thinking generation and to have grown with them in that way,” he adds.
Along with the new album, the group also debuted a collaboration with the Calm App by creating four different remixes of songs off the album that can serve as a way to focus on self-care and meditation.
“It was a huge thing to be able to share that side of me because as vulnerable as it is, at times, it’s a really exciting prospect that other people can thrive and prosper in a world that they might have never been introduced to,” he says. “[Self-care] has definitely become more prevalent in my life over the last few years dealing with everything. It’s a big thing for me right now.”
As fans get to enjoy the band’s new music, Hood also hopes that the album serves as a way to document the person he is today.
“I guess that’s the overall goal,” he says. “To be kind of immortalized within the music. I think that this one captures me in my early adulthood, which would be nice to look back on when I’m older.”
Calm is out now.
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