THE DRIVER ERA: DRIFTING INTO THE NEW
Photos / Mallory Turner
Styling / Fernando Pichardo
Grooming / Lauren McKeever @ Wilhelmina LA
Story / Angie Piccirillo
Starting out as children in the entertainment industry has its’ pros and cons — and while it’s often a good thing, serving as the training ground for what’s to come, sometimes musicians outgrow the box they were bred in… The band R5, made up of mostly Lynch siblings, was no stranger to huge success as a pop band that toured the world, but there was simply a moment where they knew it was time to move on…
With every bands’ death rises a new project from its’ ashes — but is R5 really dead? Maybe it’s just melted down into liquid form and is re-shaping itself into something new? We may never know. What we do know, is that brothers Rocky and Ross Lynch aren’t finished making music and are reclaiming their space as the new, cooler, edgier duo: The Driver Era. The brothers have made sure to side-step any confirmation of the official end of R5, simple saying “It was important for us to show people that we weren’t exclusive to R5, and we hope to have many outlets for creation in the future.”
For two guys who grew up in the entertainment industry, a place where questioning yourself and your art can become the demon that destroys your art — these two are instead ready to try anything and experiment anew — all the way from their music, to fur jackets and sequined banana printed pants. For Ross and Rocky, nothing is scary — which means there’s only more creativity teeming between the two of them.
And rather than dwell on the fact that R5 may actually be over — we can instead move on and enjoy the new music from the new project. The new songs have the same pop melodies we loved from their former R5 days — but adds a major coolness factor with new electro-millennial minimalism production brought to us by way of the guys’ “office” SUV. Ross says of their wheels, “I like to call the X6 “the office”. It’s where a lot of decisions are made. It’s our think tank. We have everything we need in there. Roll the windows down, take a cruise somewhere in LA, turn the stereo up, talk for hours. We spend a lot of time in that car….”
Rocky also claims the name, “The Driver Era,” was conceived in this office on wheels. “We actually made the name in the X6 while having a conversation about where the future will be with automobiles,” he says. “Most [of our] songs we started and finished in our house studio in Sherman Oaks. And we finished them while Ross was flying back and forth from Vancouver. We’ll occasionally go on drives in my car and listen to mixes — we write lyrics [in the car] as well.”
Trips in the X6 may be few and far between for the guys for most of 2018, since Ross booked a role on Netflix’s yet-to-be released live action series, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” which has moved Ross to Vancouver temporarily — and away from his musical counterpart, Rocky. At our release party, Ross had mentioned during our audience Q&A that he hadn’t planned on doing any TV work this year and was planning to focus primarily on The Driver Era, and creating new music. But after a few screen tests, he was hired almost immediately — and the plans for The Driver Era had suddenly took a detour. Ross soon changed his signature golden locks to dark brown for the role, literally freaking out fans everywhere. Don’t get it twisted though, Ross seems to only have sheer excitement for the series — and seems pretty amused that fans care so much about his hair. The distance doesn’t seem to stop the guys from creating new songs however, since Rocky often makes trips up to Vancouver just to write songs.
As for how the rest of the idea for the new band formulated, The Driver Era’s conception started around 2015. “Although we didn’t have the name at the time, there were extensive conversations about the future and possible change. We knew it was inevitable, it was just a question of when and to what extent. It was a big concept, especially because our biggest goal with R5 was to tour the world — and we were successfully doing it. So we continued for awhile, all was good,” they say.
Along the way, the two brothers realized they had a more distinct connection and similar outlooks on life — Ross says of their connection, “At the time, I was reading a book called “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. In the book, he talks about how a third consciousness can be developed between collaborators. Rocky and I, after working together forever, have very similar ideas and perspective which makes our collaboration fluid.” If you happen to catch these two together, it’s easy to see their connection goes as deep as having conversations with only their eyes to smug smiles while taunting each other about an inside joke. With that type of connection with a band mate, it’s easy to see why the songs come out pretty catchy.
Once 2017 hit, the idea of starting something new was brewing again and they felt it was the right time, and thus The Driver Era was officially born — and apparently, the bands’ announcement of the project threw many fans for a loop when they saw a new Instagram page pop up out of nowhere. The guys said on that specific day, instead of answering all the questions about their new project — they made their way to the beach instead. “You can’t help but think of the pros and cons when making any big decision. We knew it was going to be positive in the long run even with temporary backlash. I think the majority of fans knew that change was coming at some point,” they say.
Once the release of “Preacher Man” occurred in March, fans could rest at ease that good music would continue to be made — some of The Driver Era’s new tunes are what you could say is the best we’ve heard from these two since, well, birth. They add, “The Driver Era is the closest representation of our current relationship with music. We have been playing now for over half our lives, and we’ve toured the world multiple times now. Our lives have had a constant soundtrack, either supplied by records that we love, or, even better, by songs that we write.”
Since these guys have been working in the music industry for well over half their lives, they attribute their stellar musical knowledge to their former band: R5. “R5 was essentially our college. We put in a lot of hours rehearsing and touring. We got to travel the world when we should’ve been in high school. Going to exotic places and learning about people and culture. That’s the greatest gift that music has given us thus far. Music also gives you awareness of time. How rules can be broken; How sometimes mistakes are temporary and can be amazing; The best is when music completely brings you into the present and nothing else matters. [It] usually happens on stage.”
But did the catchy melodies of “Preacher Man” surprise anyone though? It didn’t surprise us at all — we made sure to cover the release of the single back in March. “The reactions for Preacher Man have been extraordinary. One of our musician friends texted us: ‘Boys! ‘Preacher Man’ is playing at the gym and there’s a naked guy in the locker room singing along while he mixes his protein shake. Proud of you guys!!!’ Wasn’t expecting that one…” Rocky says. Must mean everything likes it, right?
Ross adds, “Everyone liked Preacher Man before it was released. So we were hoping to get the same reaction from the public and that seems to be the way it’s been. It’s off to a good start, and we will see just how far it can ride.”
After “Preacher Man,” the guys released the laid-back vibey Island-inspired tune, “Afterglow,” which we named a drink after for the guys’ release party. The guys seem to have specific memories about the songs origins, “Most of my romantic moments come with cheap rum and late nights on the beach —This one specifically happened over New Years in Cabo,” Rocky says.
FULL LOOKS, PHILLIP LIM. SWEATERS, MARC JACOBS. SHORTS, PATAGONIA. SOCKS, UNIQLO.SANDALS, BIRKENSTOCKS.
In the end, I guess we can assume R5 may simply be on a “break”? Because Oddly enough, the rest of the band joined The Driver Era boys on stage at a festival appearance recently — so maybe do not fret, my hardcore R5 fans? Still, the guys insist The Driver Era is a whole new project. Ross says, “The Driver Era inspires new ideas and frees up old constraints. When we are creating for TDE, there is a certain mood we are trying to capture, and the same could be said of R5. Just the fact that it is different, inspires different ideas.” Rocky adds, “I think the biggest difference is time. We’ve given music a lot of our time the past 10 years and I think it shows in The Driver Era.”
We can only assume that there will be more music to come the guys — and we can’t wait. The guys played a few additional records for us at the party, teasing the fans with more things to be obsessed over than just Ross’s hair. The guys say, “We’re just excited to get some new music out there for people to check out — the fans are really gonna love it. There are a few people that listen to our records and record reaction videos on youtube that are pretty funny!”
FULL LOOKS, LIBERTINE.
FULL LOOKS, JOYRICH.
FULL LOOKS, PHILLIP LIM.
CONNECT WITH THE DRIVER ERA: