Written By:

Luke Hemmigns has levelled up. The lead singer of Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer released his impressive solo project in 2021, and has now dropped the follow up: an introspective 7-track EP boy. Working with producer Sammy Witte, Hemmings' songwriting has evolved naturally with growth and maturity (he's now 27 - we look forward to the album that comes after his Saturn return years), as he came face to face with stillness and silence.

“The majority of the songs for boy were written at a time in my life when I was a stranger to stillness," Hemmings says. "The songs were born on planes and hotel room notepads, muttering under my breath while walking through new cities each day. I was disoriented and overwhelmed by the world and my place in it. Those emotions weaved themselves through this project. The longing for more emotional understanding within myself, the isolation, grief, love, sadness and hope. They’re not intended to be consumed as autobiographical facts, but as an overly dramatic, cathartic, poetic stream of my consciousness. As if you’ve opened my diary and can only read a line from each page.” Ahead of his Australian tour in mid-June, we spoke to the artist about crafting boy and what's to come:

Congratulations on this EP. It’s really thoughtful and beautiful. We especially love how it begins. When did the idea to create this project come to you? When did you begin the process of creation?

Thank you, I’m glad you think so! I’m almost always in a state of writing, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the idea for this project actually culminated. It just sort of happened. Jumbled words of verses, lines of choruses, melodies recorded into my voice notes. All these bits and pieces of songs were written in so many different countries but eventually they were brought into the studio and made into what you hear today.

Why was it important for you to create it? What was your intention with this project?

I believe creating is important for any artist, but for me personally, I think that finishing this EP helped prove to myself that my first album wasn’t just a fluke. I didn’t go into this with the intention of releasing new music to the world or trying to make what I thought other people wanted from me. I just wanted to see if I could write songs I loved as much as the ones I had written before.

Where did you write? Was your environment important to you?

I wrote all around the world for this EP, as a lot of these songs started while I was traveling with the band and in constant movement. After spending so many years of my life on the road, you’d think it’d be a breeze by now, but touring remains an uphill battle for my mental health. I spend so much time on vocal rest, in complete and utter silence, but surrounded by perpetual noise and strangers. It puts me in quite an unusual headspace because playing shows is one of the best parts of being a musician and I’m always grateful, but I admittedly struggle under the pressure of being perceived and judged. Nevertheless, I’d say that the ever changing environment was crucial in influencing my lyrics and what I felt like I had to get out of my system at the time.

What/who was inspiring you? What sounds were you channeling?

My music taste varies throughout the year, with changes in the weather, my mood, working or on vacation. But throughout writing this EP I was listening to a lot of The Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, LCD Soundsystem, The Verve and The Rapture. I wanted it to feel like a modern take on 90’s and early 2000’s indie rock bands.

Who did you work with on the project that brought your vision to life?

I worked on this project with a producer who has grown to become one of my closest friends, Sammy Witte. We met during covid lockdowns and created my first album, When Facing the Things We Turned Away From. I think we work together so well because he knows how chaotic my writing process is and knows when to push me and when to just let me go through the motions.

What was the biggest challenge you had to work through in making this project?

The biggest challenge I had to work through was likely my own ego and insecurities. I kept comparing every half started idea to the fully finished songs I’ve released over my career, which was a disservice to the process and to myself.

The lyrics are very honest and vulnerable. Do you think you’ve been this honest in your songwriting before? Has continuing your solo project been an insightful outlet for you to access a deeper level of truth in your writing?

I’d like to think I’m always honest in my songwriting, but when it comes to the songs for the band, they generally are the amalgamation of stories that represent multiple other people. Being able to speak from just my perspective pushed me to write about personal experiences that I hadn’t touched on within the band's catalog thus far, which felt very cathartic. I also wholeheartedly believe it helps me become a stronger collaborator within the band dynamic.

What did you learn about yourself through making these songs?

I’m a lot more emotional than I ever thought I was, and I’ve grown so much more than I ever thought possible. It sounds cliche, but I’ve learned to just trust my instincts. I have a tendency to be influenced musically and creatively pretty easily, so learning to not look around for approval has been empowering. If I make everything exactly how I want to, then there’s no way to look back and not be proud.

Which song are you most excited for people to hear?

Right now, my favourite song on the record is “Garden Life” so I’m most excited for people to hear that one. To me, it sounds familiar and nostalgic…. Like I’ve heard it somewhere before in a dream or in my childhood.

What’s something you’re passionate about, or that’s inspiring you right now - aside from music?

Cooking, gardening, painting. I can’t say that I’m great at any of the three, but they’re all things that challenge me and keep my hands and mind busy. I find I’m happiest spending my time doing activities that don’t require access to the internet and being connected to so much noise.

What’s next?

Well I’m currently answering these from a tour bus, so I’m focused on bringing these songs to life on the stage and looking forward to playing these songs for everyone back home in Australia.

Listen to boy HERE.