“We’re not a boy band — we’re a band,” says the Australian pop-rock group’s Ashton Irwin.
“We wanted to stay under the radar for as long as we could — now is the time for us to really show the world what we’re about,” says Ashton Irwin, the 19-year-old drummer of Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer, which released its stateside debut EP, “She Looks So Perfect,” April 1 on Capitol Records.
Mission accomplished. The group has received little radio play (it just debuted at No. 40 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart dated April 12) and even less media exposure in the United States, but industry forecasters expect the EP to sell between 140,000 and 160,000 in the week ending April 6 — which could place it at or near No. 1 on the Billboard 200 dated April 12. The coup was boosted by the EP’s $3.99 price tag and weeks of impressive preorders, but the group’s rabid fan base isn’t just reflected on the charts: 5 Seconds of Summer’s first U.S. headlining tour, which will begin April 11 in San Francisco, sold out all 10 dates in less than five minutes in March. In the week of April 5, the band debuted on Billboard’s Social 50 chart (which ranks the most popular artists on YouTube, Vevo, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Wikipedia, Myspace and Instagram) at No. 25. All told, 5 Seconds of Summer look set to be the next big boy-band phenomenon.
Indeed, its out-of-nowhere success recalls One Direction’s stateside takeover in 2012, and there are key links between the groups: They’re both represented by Modest! Management, and Capitol chairman/CEO Steve Barnett oversaw One Direction’s U.S. rollout when he headed Columbia. And 5 Seconds opened for One Direction on the latter’s mammoth, 100-plus-date Take Me Home world tour in 2013.
Accordingly, the 5 Seconds craze has gone global: Its new single “She Looks So Perfect” — a guitar-driven blast of punchy pop-rock featuring the hook “She looks so perfect standing there in my American Apparel underwear” — hit No. 1 on the Official U.K. Chart dated April 5. And since preorders launched on Feb. 24 (Feb. 25 in the United States), the EP has topped the iTunes album chart in over 50 countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Finland, and Venezuela, according to Capitol.