Keeping It Fresh: A Conversation with The Driver Era

The Driver Era © Elias Tahan
The Driver Era have effectively made themselves known with an effervescent, infectious energy, triumphing in already proving their sonic efficacy.

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“I think if we would have done this any earlier, it wouldn’t have been right. It wouldn’t have felt right,” Rocky Lynch explains of his newest project, The Driver Era. “So I think it came at the perfect moment; you know, Ross and I are getting into our mid-20s now […] I think all of those years making music and touring [with R5] has been leading up to this moment. No better time than now.”

The Driver Era © 2018

The Driver Era © Elias Tahan

Rocky Lynch and his brother, Ross Lynch, are certainly no strangers to the entertainment industry — as members of pop megalith R5, it’s fairly difficult to dissociate from that. They have still nonetheless successfully managed to navigate their respective celebrity statuses with ease and poise, remaining level-headed and personable despite unique circumstances. Now, however, the Lynch brothers are venturing off into a whole new world of their own, working together on a new musical project, The Driver Era.

The Driver Era, solely comprised of the two Lynch brothers, is a delicious conglomerate of sounds, blending together neo-soul vibrancy with rock purity and bouncy pop sensibility. They have effectively made themselves known with an effervescent, infectious energy, triumphing in already proving their sonic efficacy in an ever-saturated industry. The duo’s first single, “Preacher Man,” is wholly exemplary of this; through glistening instrumentation and Ross’ raw vocal tone, the track is a glimmering introduction to what The Driver Era has to offer. And offer, they have; offer, they will.

“[Y]ou know, we’re just trying to make music that people like,” Rocky Lynch says. “If you like our stuff, dope; stream it, come see us live when we tour. If not, we’ll see you around.”

Listen: “Preacher Man” – The Driver Era

A CONVERSATION WITH THE DRIVER ERA

Atwood Magazine: Hello! Thanks so much for chatting – I really like the new single a lot; it’s a really cool sound, very unique and diverse. Can you tell me a little bit about recording it, and why you decided to make this the first single?

Rocky Lynch: I would say that the reason this was chosen as the first single is because it’s kind of just like, one of those songs that had life to it from the beginning. It started floating around and we started playing it for people, whether it’s been friends or people at the label, it’s always been like, one of those one-listen songs. And we have other songs in the works right now, where people have been like, eh, whatever, but for “Preacher Man,” it just has this universal appeal to all ages, and any genre you like, you can still listen to this kind of song; whether you’re into country, or rap, you can still shift your ears for a second and enjoy this. So, I think that’s definitely the main reason for this being the first single. And recording this, honestly, was really fun; we were in Malibu, in the Malibu Canyons, at a really nice home studio. But, yeah, I love the song, and I’m happy everyone’s digging it. I’m stoked that it’s finally out.

That’s exciting! It’s a brand new launch pad. So then, coming into this new project, and coming from previous projects, how have the previous things inspired what you’re doing now, and going forward?

Rocky: Honestly, it’s always been—ever since I started writing and producing music, it’s just always been a learning curve. It’s, how can I get better? How can Ross and I get better as writers? How do we want to market the music that we make? And doing all of those years with R5 kind of, you know, prepared us for this moment. And it’s—I think, if we would have done this any earlier, it wouldn’t have been quite right. You know? Consistently over the last couple of years, we’ve been like, okay cool, how do we want to go about doing new things? Do we want to keep R5 going, or start something new? I think if we would have done this any earlier, it wouldn’t have been right. It wouldn’t have felt right. So I think it came at the perfect moment; you know, Ross and I are getting into our mid-20s now […] I think all of those years making music and touring [with R5] has been leading up to this moment. No better time than now.

I do always keep my eyes and ears open, just to see what’s happening, to see what everyone else is making, and just kind of, seeing how what we’re doing fits in to the market.

It’s like a pinnacle, culmination of everything. And having been a part of the ‘industry’ for a couple years now, has there been anything that you’ve noticed, that’s changed a lot, or has consistently stayed the same?

Rocky: The one thing I’ve noticed about this industry is that it’s really all about who’s friends with whom? But that’s really how anything gets done. That’s why it’s kind of—even though it may not be so healthy on your liver—it’s kind of healthy to be out and about and engaging in social events, because that’s really where you’re going to establish a friendship with someone, and you end up working with them on future things. That’s kind of what’s going to make or break you: who your friends are.

Preacher Man - The Driver Era

Preacher Man – The Driver Era

Is there anyone in particular that’s helped push The Driver Era forward, with what you guys are doing?

Rocky: Like, friends?

Friends, or is there anybody that’s doing something that you’re seeing, and you’re trying to emulate what they’re doing?

Rocky: I mean, we’re always looking at other artists, to be honest. Any time there’s New Music Friday, or any time people are releasing new music, I’m always listening. I’m always curious what other people are doing. I wouldn’t say we necessarily look towards those artists for guidance, or make our band the way that they are, but I do always keep my eyes and ears open, just to see what’s happening, to see what everyone else is making, and just kind of, seeing how what we’re doing fits in to the market. But we usually try to keep the imagination going—and that’s really how we’re all here today, is people’s imaginations. We’re consistently just trying to do that; doing something new, keeping it fresh, and that’s the goal.

And going off of that – the name ‘Driver Era’ is inspired by the future.

Rocky: Exactly! It’s very future-leaning.

So, how, then, looking at the future—how do you want to continue to incorporate that theme? Or, do you want to be diverse in what your themes are? Are you trying to be cohesive with a brand?

Rocky: In terms of what The Driver Era will be like a couple years from now?

Yeah, or just looking ahead, now that you’ve put out the first single, what do you think would be next?

Rocky: I mean…we got a couple of ads on alternative radio stations before [Preacher Man] came out, which is insane; that’s really good for any band, and it’s insane for us, from where we’ve come from and been, to be on alternative radio, it’s like finding a unicorn on Mars. We’re right in the middle of things right now. I imagine there’s some sort of album towards the end of the year, and just consistent music. I mean, Ross just booked his TV show [as Harvey Kinkle in the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina], so he’s in Vancouver for the rest of the year, literally. So, he’ll visit from time to time in L.A., and I’ll go out there, and we’ll hopefully keep the creative process going. I like to write a lot by myself; it’s nice to get an idea down and then bring Ross in, and vice versa, but then there will be times that we’ll go into the studio at the same time, and crank out a track. So there may be kind of like, one-on-one writing over the next couple of months because he’s not here, but it’s just trying to keep that going. Ross is hella busy, but we’ll try to keep it going; more music, more music always.

Yeah, or just looking ahead, now that you’ve put out the first single, what do you think would be next?

Rocky: The term genre is becoming more and more of a blurred line now, as the years go on. So like, “Preacher Man” is an alternative rock song; we have another song that I can best describe as a “beach trap” song. It almost has like, a Post Malone thing, with like, a Weezer thing. And it’s not like, Oh this sounds like a Post Malone song, or this sounds like a Weezer song, that’s just, the best way I can base its sound on.

It sounds like a Driver Era song, because that’s what it is!

Rocky: Exactly. And, while being close to those specific sounds, it’s still entirely its own thing.

I love the moment when you’re in the first stages of writing a song, and you’ve got this feeling inside like, oh, this is kind of good.

The Driver Era © 2018

The Driver Era © Elias Tahan

Good stuff. So, we kind of touched on this a little bit, but based on your experiences, do you think that ‘success’ is measurable in any capacity? Or, how do you think it could be measured?

Rocky: A lot of people measure success on the number in your bank account, but that is obviously the most superficial way of measuring success, and I wouldn’t measure it that way. I think success is happiness. If you can wake up a majority of your days with a smile on your face, then that is success to me. That’s all I’m looking for. If I’m still making music, and if I’m happy, then I’m good. If I’m not happy making music, then I’m going to do something different. I’m going to venture into something entirely new.

What has caught your interest now? What do you like doing if you’re not in the studio?

Rocky: I mean, it’s tough; whether it’s investing, or maybe starting a business—we actually just started a record label ourselves, and we signed The Driver Era to it, it’s a sub-label. So even though that’s music related, that kind of is still a different part of the business, so I think that is something that would take me out of the studio, because I’m doing something else that’s not just in the studio writing a song.

We’re just trying to make music that people like. If you like our stuff, dope; stream it, come see us live when we tour. If not, we’ll see you around.

As a musician, then, what is your favorite part about making music?

Rocky: I love the moment when you’re in the first stages of writing a song, and you’ve got this feeling inside like, oh, this is kind of good. That’s the best moment. It sucks when you’re in the studio, and you’re putting work in, and you’re just like, this doesn’t feel right, or it isn’t good, or whatever you want to call it—those are tough days; but, finally, when it comes around, and I’m working on something new, and it feels good, and I’m relating to this, and we’ll make a rough demo and play it for people and they’re catching on to it immediately—that’s kind of the best feeling for me.

Very cool. And do you play any other instruments?

Rocky: I dabble in a little bit of everything; being a producer, that’s what you do. But, I’m not extraordinary at any of them, because I spend most of my time writing a song, and that doesn’t involve me playing a shredder solo. I’m making a melody and using pretty simple chords, while throwing in more unique sounds with those chords to create a new sound. I’m not necessarily sitting around learning guitar scales. I don’t spend much time practicing music; I practice writing more.

How long does it typically take you to write? Is it instantaneous, if you have any idea do you immediately knock it out, or does it become an arduous process?

Rocky: It all depends. There are some songs that’s like, this feels great, here it is, and there’s other times where it’s like, cool, this is an idea, but we may not revisit that specific song for like, six months.

Sometimes things are good in the moment; sometimes you need to revisit and rework it.

Rocky: Yeah, it seems like the best products usually come very quickly in the beginning stages of the writing process. It usually happens pretty quickly, and then it’s like, the last bridge or whatever it is, tends to take a little longer.

Got it. So, what is one thing that you want people to know about The Driver Era, now that you’re out there?

Rocky: I would say that, you know, we’re just trying to make music that people like. If you like our stuff, dope; stream it, come see us live when we tour. If not, we’ll see you around.

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Preacher Man - The Driver Era

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📸 © Elias Tahan

:: Preacher Man – The Driver Era ::

Maggie McHale

Maggie is the Chief Music Director for Atwood Magazine, currently living in Philadelphia. She also works as a Digital Marketer for Fame House, a Philly-based Universal Music Group subsidiary. She is heavily involved in the arts and music scene in the City of Brotherly Love, often enjoying (and even preferring) going to concerts and museums alone; just generally loving and exploring the city that she calls home. A self-proclaimed “hug enthusiast” and dog lover, Maggie also enjoys fashion, travel, the paranormal, and drinking way too much coffee. In addition to writing for Atwood, she freelances and contributes to JUMP Magazine. (Fun fact-She also once slow-danced with Boyz II Men in Las Vegas.)