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Music

8.20.2019

The Driver Era is Here: Meet Ross and Rocky Lynch

Ross and Rocky Lynch of The Driver Era are swerving back into the music scene. From their 2000s dance-pop band, R5, to their debut album, X, the multi-talented brothers have found their sound.

The childhood Disney actor turned tween idol, Ross, who stars in the Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,  is leaving his mark on young Hollywood. While filming in Vancouver, he’s challenged with the delicate balance of acting and music; while Rocky, the all-star guitarist and producer, is based in Los Angeles. The boys’ dedication to their new vision, but most importantly, their dedication to each other as siblings, has allowed them to navigate the waters of busy schedules and stardom. The result is a self-written and self-produced album that defies genre and quite literally rocks.

While they were in LA with some downtime, Carianne Older (aka @peggyshootsfilm) captured the boys in their matching jerseys, playing ball, and messing around, as brothers tend to do. Check out some exclusive behind the scenes footage soundtracked to “Feel You Now” below.  

 You are fresh-off your sold-out nationwide tour. What’s your favorite part about touring? 

 Ross: The lifestyle is pretty fun. It gets pretty rambunctious, but it’s really nice to play music every day in front of new people, and to get fresh reactions off the material is always great– to see what people like. 

 Rocky: I like the aspect of touring when you’ve been in the same city for too long, and that could be anywhere from six months to a year depending on your preference, but then all of the sudden you’re like, “oh shit I’m in Europe for two months.” It immediately takes you out of whatever your daily routine is that everyone kinda has, like the coffee you make and whatnot. All of a sudden you’re just on a bus, in Europe, doing whatever. 

 Ross: It’s fresh. 

 Rocky: Yeah, it’s immediately just a fresh place. 

 Ross: New accents. 

 Rocky: And it just stops everything– it’s sick. 

 Ross: Yeah, I love that too. 

What’s the craziest memory you have from this past tour?

 Rocky: Oh the 4/20 show. Definitely.

 Ross: The 4/20 show. Freakin’ Nashville was bonkers. We went to Broadway street in Nashville, these girls took us out. 

 Rocky: That was fun. 

 Ross: Yeah, we lived it up. We literally went to Broadway street before and after the show. 

 Rocky: How did we have that much time that day?

 Ross: I don’t really know. But that was really, really fun – man, so many good times on that tour. Atlanta, Nashville, North Carolina, those were our standouts for sure. 

Album X serves as a 10-year anniversary project since your first ever live show. How does it feel to perform music as The Driver Era as opposed to R5?

 Ross: You know, being on stage is liberating, always. I would like to say it’s changed dramatically, but the truth is it hasn’t really. We still love it, and we still go up on stage every night and pour our hearts out and do our absolute best to be ultimately present. The music actually puts you in the moment really nicely, that’s the best thing about music. It’s always been what we love to do. It’s been 10 years. We’ve been doing it for a long time, and we’re not going to stop anytime soon. 

Because you had complete creative freedom with this project, did you ever feel more vulnerable releasing music or more susceptible to any feedback than when Hollywood Records was kind of calling the shots?

 Ross: Hollywood Records I think actually put more pressure on us than was necessary. I think they should’ve let us do what we do best, which is be the creatives. That’s really what we’re doing with The Driver Era and it feels really good. It feels like one cohesive project. We’re really loving it. We’re loving putting the music videos together. We write and produce all of the songs. It’s a completely self-sustained process that we have going, and it’s really nice. There was, however, maybe a little bit of hesitation towards releasing the first body of work because it was a blank slate, and of course, you want to put your best foot forward and release things that you’re proud of. Ultimately, I feel very proud of X, but there definitely was a moment of pre-show jitters. 

What are some of the main themes you explore in this album? 

 Ross: For this album, the songs came from all different times in our lives. Every song has its own concept and own feeling and vibe. They all sort of stand on their own, while I think still being cohesive as a record. But there are a lot of themes. There are themes of love, there are themes of irrational and emotional thinking, there are themes of insatiable tendencies. All things life, I guess you could say.  

How do you feel your relationship as brothers plays into your dynamic in the studio when creating music? 

 Ross: I think we’re just ultimately really comfortable with each other. 

 Rocky: There’s a level of honesty between us that really helps when being in the same room for hours on end. You never fully know somebody unless you’ve grown up with them since being a baby, and that’s kind of what we did. So, while writing and producing and whatnot, we both know when something is where it needs to be. Like we’re like, “Alright, sick– that part is there.” It rarely is like, “We should go this way…No we should go this way,” and we end up not arriving at a solution. It’s clear when it’s yes or no. 

 Ross: Right. It also allows us to spend hours and hours on end and not need time apart, which is very valuable because then we get more time to actually make music. Even your girlfriend you could get sick of, you know what I’m saying? [Laughs] Let’ say, for example, “Alright I need some alone time,” but when it comes to your brother, it feels like alone time already. 

 Rocky: Yeah. You’re already in a relaxed state. 

 Ross: Right. You don’t need to do anything, you’re just existing. 

 Rocky: I would love to find a girl that could be there with us. 

 Ross: Yeah, me too. But, you know, so far they want to be above the music and that’s just not cutting it yet. [Laughs]

 Rocky: Hendrix, bro. He once said he wishes he could make love to music. 

 Ross: Yeah– that’s right, that’s right. 

Do you have a specific routine you follow when in the studio? 

 Ross: No there’s no routine or structure. 

 Rocky: It’s just whatever we like. 

 Ross: I actually think that is a very powerful trait. The ability to consistently adapt and redo your way of working because you always arrive at a place where you’re like, “Oh fuck, okay. This is sounding bad” or, “I got to fix this” or whatever, and it’s never really the same process of how to fix it. That’s actually super beneficial if we’re able to… like we’re in Vancouver now, and we don’t have a sub, and no bass at all, but these are the instruments we have… let’s work with that, and we end up turning that into a song. So, our process is adaptive to whatever we have and / or need. 

 You guys both mentioned that the inception of the song is one of your favorite parts of the music-making process. What are some ways you get inspired musically?

 Ross: I literally get inspired musically by having a guitar in my hand or a piano at my hips. And then you just play until you like it. Eventually, you get to the point where you’re like, “Oh, that’s magic. That’s magic right there.” It’s like…

 Rocky: It’s like sex. 

Ross this one’s for you – I’ve read that while you’re in Vancouver filming for Sabrina, you bring your own portable music studio with you. Is it ever hard to mentally transition between acting mode and music mode? How do you balance your time between both?

 Ross: Yes, I do have a studio in Vancouver with me. Rocky has come up and we’ve worked from there as well. The transition between acting and music is a bit difficult because if you’re acting, you have to keep your head in the game. Say you’re on set, and even though there is loads and loads of downtime, I can’t necessarily write a song in between scenes because it kind of disrupts that process. So, if I’m going to be working a lot on the acting side of things, music kind of has to take a back seat for a second. I’ll still play guitar or piano every day, but I’m not actively creating a song per se. That is difficult, from time to time, to separate those, but I’m having a really good time doing them both. It’s nice to give it a changeup. 

I love the concept of the name “The Driver Era” – that you feel it almost encompasses all aspects of the past, present, and future. Are you guys the types to more so live in the moment or are you typically thinking about what’s to come?

 Ross: We do our best to ultimately be here and remain present as much as possible. 

 Rocky: The initial idea of the name was because we do like the idea of how the past, present, and future all align. With that in mind, that’s actually been our main focus the last couple years honestly, is how to be extremely present. 

 Ross: Because the present fixes all your problems. If you’re here right now, then you’re not worrying, first of all, which is great. It’s a good thing to focus on for anyone and everyone. 

While we’re on the topic of the future…I’ve read that you’ve already started working on the next big project. What can we expect for the upcoming album? 

 Ross: We got fire flicks for days. All that it takes is, you know, 0 to 100 real quick. Once we get a deadline, then we start finishing things. The next project, or album if you will, is coming along very nicely… we’re still trying to pick which songs we want on it because there are lots of them but have no fear. 

 Rocky: The Driver Era is here [Laughs]. 

 Ross: That’s right– it’s going to be freakin’ fire.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Carianne Older

VIDEOGRAPHER: Sarah Ritter

Stay tuned to Milk for more music moments.

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