It’s hardly in dispute that 5 Seconds of Summer are one of, if not the, biggest bands to break out of Australia in the last 12 months. Having earned themselves the best-selling debut album of an Australian artist in the US, it’s hardly up for debate.

However, what has been in debate, seemingly since the Sydney boys first popped up on our charts and radio waves, is whether or not 5SOS actually qualify as a “band” at all. Ask their fans, they are most certainly a bonafide rock band.

But, ask almost anyone else, and they’re a manufactured boy band. A pop product no different from the Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, or the countless solo artists that major labels give fake back stories to and then funnel into the increasingly overcrowded market.

Amongst the bitter dispute, one voice seems conspicuously silent, and that’s the boys themselves. Speaking recently to Fairfax Media, the members of 5SOS explained why they don’t prefer to be called a boy band and the reason may surprise you.

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“That implies that we don’t play and we don’t write our songs,” explained lead singer Luke Hemmings. “It makes us seem a bit fake. Starting in a garage and writing our own songs and playing them in pubs to 10 people; I don’t think [being called a boy band] does us justice as a band.”

Indeed, according to a Fairfax bio on the controversial group, in December 2011, before they were attracting attention from major labels, the boys had their first ever show at Sydney’s famous Annandale.

According to red-haired guitarist Michael Clifford, the boys aren’t interested in being a boy band as much as leading the charge in bringing rock and roll back to radio airwaves. “There’s nothing we would love more; for rock music to be on the radio, in the top 40 and stuff,” he said.

“That’s always been the theme for us, we want to combine rock and pop together and have it on the radio,” Clifford added. And they look to bands who’ve succeeded with this precarious mesh of styles as their biggest inspirations.

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“We started the band because of bands like Blink-182, Green Day, All Time Low, stuff like that. We’re on the same side as all other people in rock music,” Clifford explained. Indeed, as Rolling Stone writes, their first performance consisted solely of Blink-182 covers.

However, it bears remembering that while they may not think of themselves as a boy band, they’re certainly closely affiliated with one. In fact, they’re financially linked to one of the world’s biggest.

As Tone Deaf reported back in October, One Direction hold a financial stake in 5 Seconds of Summer and we don’t just mean recruiting them to support their European Tour. The members of 1D and their management own shares in the four grassroots rock and rollers.

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