Sound Off: The Driver Era
May 9, 2020
The Driver Era is only the latest project to come from brothers Ross and Rocky Lynch who have been making music together for over ten years.
For The Driver Era, it all started with the first single Preacher Man, an eclectic vibe of pop, retro, and alternative sounds that actually charted on the Billboard Alternative Charts. After that release, the band went on to release other singles like Low and Welcome to the End of Your Life, each and every one sounding a bit different from the last culminating a sound that would end up being their debut album X. X, releasing in Summer ’19, was considered ‘genre-less’ as the duo experimented in sound with a new found freedom in this new era of music and expression.
Their double single release “OMG Plz Don’t Come Around” and “flashdrive” came shortly after the outbreak of COVID-19 and a string of cancelled shows, but that hasn’t stopped them from preparing for their sophomore album.
Keep reading to find out more about the duo’s new sound, musical inspirations, and the ever important “Why isn’t Rocky blonde anymore?”.
1. Where does the inspiration behind songs like ‘flashdrive’ and ‘OMG Plz Don’t Come Around’ come from?
Ross: “flashdrive” is a song that Rocky wrote and produced by himself. When I asked him about it he said, “’flashdrive’ is about the threshold between good and bad. I feel like everyone has that one vice that they can abuse.”
“OMG Plz Don’t Come Around” was written when we were living in our mom’s house with our little brother Ryland. He was having a hard time being in love with someone that he believed to be unfaithful.
2. What do you see as the tonal differences between R5 and The Driver Era and how has the creative direction shifted since becoming The Driver Era?
Every song we put out as The Driver Era is different than the last. We tend to make music that way because we don’t like if a song sounds like something else. R5 is an even more extreme difference because of the way we make music and the different people that were involved in the decision making process of R5.
3. The last group of songs released as R5 namely ‘Hurts Good’ and New Addictions resemble the early sound of the The Driver Era. Was there ever a question as to who would use these songs? (R5 or The Driver Era)
That was around the time we decided we were really gonna take the reins on the music we create. The Driver Era wasn’t a full fledged idea at that point yet.
4. For Ross: In CAOS, you cover songs from both Wheatus and The Knacks. Were you involved in the process of choosing these/ how did this come up?
Roberto (the creator of CAOS) called me out of the blue before we started filming parts 3 & 4, wanting to see how I felt about the Fright Club becoming a band, and I was down. We (Jaz, Lach, and I) would always be making music during our downtime on set already so it made sense. I gave Roberto a few suggestions for songs like ‘My Sharona’, but ultimately he is the boss man and makes all the calls for CAOS.
5. As a musician do you ever find yourself creating and realize that something you’ve written is heavily influenced by something else?
Sometimes we will reference our favorite artists like “dude thats so Kanye” or something, but for the most part we get the most satisfaction when what we are creating feels new and original.
6. Who are some of your big musical inspirations?
INXS, Prince, Pharrell, Tyler The Creator, xxxtentacion, Kanye, Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Kings Of Leon, Bill Evans, Frank Ocean, Drake, Calvin Harris, and so many more. <3 music
7. In R5 you were able to collaborate with New Beat Fund, what would be a dream collab for The Driver Era?
Honestly anyone that we fuck with. The vibes in the room just have to be good.
8. For Rocky: You’re involved in all aspects of music creation, even production. What are some of the differences/challenges you face while producing for TDE?
The main challenge that I think we both face is getting a song to a place where we want to release it. We have a lot of songs that idle at 50% because we always want to work on something new.
9. What has been your most personal song to date?
Every song feels personal to us. We spend a lot of time on them so they all feel equally personal.
10. Describe your sound in 3 words.
Eclectic, strange, soulful
11. Did growing up in Littleton effect your career in any way?
Not really no, but we are forever appreciative for our parents being courageous and moving us all out to LA to pursue a pipe dream.
12. Preacher Man released in 2018 and your first album X released last year. Do you feel like your sound has changed since those releases?
Yes, I feel like it’s constantly changing. Growing with us. We are always learning new things in sound and psychology. Our music reflects our growth in life.
13. For Rocky: What happened to the blonde?
I got tired of having to dye it. I like putting the least amount of effort into hair :)
14. Can you both tell us a secret?
Rocky is a flosser. He never not flosses like a weirdo.
15. What does popular mean to you?
It means someone spent a lot of money.
16. Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects?
We’re mostly working on music right now during the quarantine. Album later this year.
Keep up with The Driver Era and all of their antics on Twitter and Instagram @thedriverera as well as Rocky and Ross separately @rockylynch and @ross_lynch!
Also be sure to stream “OMG Plz Dn’t Come Around” and “flashdrive” right here:
- Photographer Devin Kasparian @Devin.pdf