Just as we’ve seen every “child star” move on, count Ross and Rocky Lynch amongst the ones who make the transition look easy. Luckily, these two transitioned from their former pop band R5 with their other siblings, Rydel and Riker, without first having mugshots revealed like some of their former Disney cohorts. But, besides being talented model citizens, this brotherly duo have started a new project that undoubtedly moves them into the “edgy,” “cool,” and “sophisticated” categories.
Not to say that we didn’t like R5 – some of us may have seen the Teen Beach movies more than a few times. The Driver Era’s debut single, “Preacher Man,” is a nice continuation of where the boys left off last year with R5’s “New Addictions.”
Contrary to what you might think, there’s no religious connotation within “Preacher Man.” But, if you like pop earworms that stick inside your brain like half-eaten candy, we dare you to listen to “Preacher Man” and then try to pick that nice, sweet, piece-of-a-jam out of your hair. We’re betting it won’t come out.
Check out the music video for the song and then read our exclusive Q&A with Ross and Rocky of The Driver Era, below:
OTW: Why did you decide to call this project The Driver Era?
Ross: We had been trying to find a name for this project for a long time. It’s really hard to find something that is unique and original especially in this digital mayhem where nearly everything has already been taken. So we had settled on a name prior to THE DRIVER ERA, but it didn’t fully fit the vibe we were going for. One day while riding around in our office (Rocky’s car), we came up with THE DRIVER ERA and right after I said it, we knew. We like that it pertains to our time.
OTW: You guys have been making music for longer than a decade together — how have things changed from R5 to creating songs for TDE?
Ross: As you grow as a human and musician, you evolve. Although our process may be the same, we are in a different mindset with this project.
OTW: Walk us through the process of how “Preacher Man” was created — who played what? How did the track start?
Rocky: “Preacher Man” was one of those songs where from the beginning we knew there was something very special about it. I remember playing it a couple times at sound check while touring in South America and people would come and ask, “What song is that? Is it a cover? I love it. Where can I get it.” As far as instruments go: Ross and I play a little bit of everything, but he tends to do a little more keys while I find myself playing bass and programming drums more often.
OTW: You self-produce the tracks for this project - How does it feel to be fully in control of the outcome of each song?
Ross: That’s something that we’ve been working towards for a long time. It’s a really satisfying feeling to be able to play a song that was made solely by us. But there is a certain pressure to that as well - we have to completely rely on ourselves.
Rocky: One of my favorite parts about being in this industry is the freedom to create. A lot of people that are higher up on the food chain will tell you that there are certain rules you need to follow while producing, but I find that the less rules you follow the more unique the product is going to be when it is finished. So, while producing I tend to always try and push boundaries whilst making the current song as different from the last.
OTW: What did you learn from all your musical experiences from when you were in R5?
Ross: The most beneficial thing that came from R5 was all of our time on the road. We’ve played music for thousands of hours together. You learn a lot of things about life and music while traveling the world playing shows every night.
OTW: Where did the idea for the music video come from?
Ross: A music video is always inspired by the song, of course — the lyrics and the mood that the song sets. Then you basically just listen to it over and over again and paint a picture in your head and hope it comes to fruition. I’m really happy with how the “Preacher Man” video turned out. It’s the best execution of one of my treatments that we’ve ever had.
OTW: What do you hope listeners will hear/take away from TDE that’s different from R5?
Ross: You always hope that the songs will resonate with people. That’s really all you can hope for — that it touches a sweet spot for them personally.
OTW: When the song was first released a few weeks ago, what were your initial reactions to the feedback listeners had? Were you nervous of what they would say? Was anything surprising to hear?
Rocky: The reaction to all things TDE have been great. Going into it, you get a little nervous about making such a change. It was a big deal for us and our fans, but the response was better than anticipated. It was a perfect start. We’ve never had this kind of reaction to any song we’ve released before.
OTW: What’s next for The Driver Era? More songs? Live performances? Give us a little teaser as to what might be next…
Rocky: Yes, many more songs! Ross is filming in Vancouver for the rest of the year so I’m gonna fly up there and finish a couple tracks with him, and he’ll visit LA from time to time and we’ll get some work done. We’ll be playing some festivals in the near future. Looking forward to what the future has to offer.