The Driver Era Talk “Preacher Man,” New Direction & Innovation: Interview
Brothers Ross and Rocky Lynch spent the better part of the last decade churning out glistening pop/rock confections with their siblings as part of R5. Or they did when Ross was not honing his acting talents in feature films such as 2017’s chilling My Friend Dahmer. Today (March 16), the pair are officially launching a unique artist project to continue expanding their musical horizon. Rebranding themselves as The Driver Era, they made a bold debut with the release of their genre-defying single “Preacher Man.” With a writing credit from Julian Bunetta’s Family Affair team, the hard-lined track introduces a more mature sound and sets them on the path to world domination.
“Hey Mr. Preacher Man, I’ve been playing with a heart like a violin. I’ve been stumbling through the door after 6AM. Fix my soul so I don’t lose a love again,” Ross belts over hand-claps and lush instrumentation on the track’s opening lines. Making a strong statement with their debut, the pair are poised to take things even further with a bevy of tracks in the works. Armed with unique perceptions of the future of music and a hunger to continue evolving and developing their own sound, they are likely to find a niche in the market and hold on for years to come.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Ross and Rocky about their decision to relaunch as The Driver Era and moving forward with “Preacher Man” as their new single. We also explored their opinions about evolving genres and plans for the next year. In the process, the brothers opened up about dream venues, songs to look forward to hearing and their forthcoming music video. Learn more about the pair and listen to their debut track below!
I wanted to start by asking what’s it like working creatively with a sibling?
Ross: I Like it a lot. I think Rocky and I work really well together. Like, I don’t necessarily have to convince him of any good idea that I have. Whereas sometimes I will meet someone that, like doesn’t necessarily agree with me that much, which is frustrating. Because I‘ve got it easy with Rocky. We generally do like everything that the other makes. So, it’s a really pleasant creative process for me personally. What do you think?
Rocky: Yeah, I think it’s good to find somebody that you agree with on most things but there’s still a little bit of them kind of making your shit better. And I think Ross and I have that in a great amount of bulk. Because like he said we work very cohesively and very fluidly without problems, but at the same time we’re getting a lot done and what we’re doing is, we feel, is very good. You want to look for that perfect match.
What was your guys’ reasoning for launching as The Driver Era and how did you land on the name?
Ross: The reasoning behind Driver Era was, we had been a band for about 10 years. And I just actually read this Einstein quote this morning that I thought was really interesting. It says something along the lines of “attempted failures, you do something over and over again the same way expecting it to have a different result, and it really doesn’t.” So, I think eventually, we kept doing this project and we really liked doing that project, R5, but eventually you know, as things do, it was time to evolve and change. And through extensive talks and communications through the band and the label and everyone that was involved in the project, we decided that maybe it was time to do a new project. This being the creations of The Driver Era. And then since then it’s kind of been about what this project’s gonna be and how we’re gonna craft it. And really, Rocky and I’s idea is just to have, especially in a day of social media and YouTube and all this creative freedom that the internet’s created, our real main goal is to just be completely honest and expressive with our music and to just be able to share it with everyone and to be able to collaborate more with other artists that are of the likes of us and are of our age and that we agree with and to really just try to push the envelope not only for ourselves personally but as far as music goes in general. And that’s kind of what The Driver Era is standing on right now.
How would you guys say that you have evolved since releasing New Addictions as part of R5 last year?
Ross: I was really proud of New Addictions. That was among some of the first work that we had ever done in-house completely and released. And I thought that was sort of a really good representation of the growth that we had accumulated through those 10 years of being a band. And that was just kind of like that last, how do I say…
Rocky: I kind of look at that, as that was like the start of this whole new idea with New Addictions. That was like “ok cool, we can do most of this stuff on our own.” Like we know how to produce, we know how to make a record. And that was kind of like evidence of that.
So it just kind of led to the next step?
Ross, what made you guys select “Preacher Man” as the debut single for The Driver Era?
Ross: We didn’t really select it. It was kind of, you know, when you get a lot of people involved in a project you’ve kind of got to… You’ve got to play the game internally before it goes world-wide. But you know, we all agree that it should be the first single. I’m not saying that we don’t agree. I’m just saying that that was the reason.
I’ve read a couple teasers about some other tracks that you guys have already recorded. Rocky do you have a favorite that’s on the way still?
Rocky: Do you know what songs you heard?
I haven’t gotten to hear any, but I was reading in the presser that you guys were talking about “Afterglow” and “Flexible.”
Rocky: Yeah, I would say that right now, out of all the tracks that are finished, I think “Afterglow” is definitely one of my favorites to tell the truth.
Awesome, what about you Ross?
Ross: Oh man, I’ve got a lot of favorites. Most of which probably aren’t on any of the lists as of yet because we haven’t really sent them out for everyone to hear yet internally. But there’s a lot of really cool songs coming out. “Afterglow” is a gem. That’s definitely one of my favorites.
You guys have already shot a video for “Preacher Man,” and that’s coming out shortly. What was it like being on the set for the video?
Ross: It was tiring. It was late at night, and everyone was drinking coffee having a good time. It was pretty fun though. But, you know, as music videos go and as most filming processes go, there was a lot of ‘hurry up and wait.’ You’re just kind of hanging out a lot of the time. It was really fun though.
That kind of leads into my next question. Ross, how does a music video shoot differ from a film project like My Friend Dahmer or Status Update?
Ross: Music video shoots are just, like, super chill. They’re probably just the chillest of any shoot that you can do. Because you’re just like hanging out, chilling at crafty, talking to probably some girl that’s in the music video that’s probably pretty cute. And then you’re just like ‘Oh, action?’ And then you sing your song for the camera, and that’s pretty much it. Um, for a movie, you just have extensive research. You’ve got lines. You’ve got blocking. You’ve got, obviously you have some of these similar things in music videos as well. But there’s a lot more riding on your shoulders for a film.
And for the “Preacher Man” video it seemed like it was thematically a little bit more mature than anything you had released before as R5. What was the inspiration behind it when you were starting to put together the creative package?
Ross: The main inspiration was just the tone of the song and how that made, well how it makes you feel when you listen to it. There’s a certain darkness to it, and I just felt it was necessary to reflect that in the music video. There’s also a sort of sensual factor in the lyrics, and in the vibe as well. And I thought it was the same thing to capture in the music video. So, it was just inspired by that particular song.
It comes together really nicely, and I love it. The whole song is such a great listen and the video is so entrancing.
Ross: Well I’m glad you dig it. That’s great.
Thanks. In the past you guys have worked with the likes of Tritonal and earlier you opened up about the opportunity to work with other artists who are around the same age as you and who kind of have a similar experience. Are there any dream collaborators you guys would like to work with as part of The Driver Era?
Ross: Yeah, definitely. I mean we’re pretty much open for anything. Cause there’s a lot of times you guys can get to the studio and maybe you write something really special or maybe it’s an off day for someone. And there’s too many incidents when that happens. So, we’re down to get in the studio with really anyone. I don’t know if there’s anyone in particular that I’m like dying to get in the studio with. I mean it would be cool to get in with someone on a rap front more like, I don’t know, Post Malone or someone. That’d be dope. But, honestly anybody. We’re down to see what happens.
In the press release that I read, you guys talked a bit about your desire to break down barriers between genres, which you just kind of alluded to again with mentioning Post Malone as a collaborator. Can you expand a little bit about why you think that’s so important with music nowadays?
Ross: I think it’s so important nowadays because everyone, literally because of you know, Spotify and YouTube and all these other platforms. Everyone is listening to everything. Any genre. It doesn’t even matter anymore. Like I was hanging with my cousins last night that are significantly younger than me, and they were playing explicit rap music. Like, and they were, they’re not like super young but they’re young. And I was just kind of thinking about it. And it’s just crazy to me. And I think it’s kind of exciting when you meld genres and try to create something that’s new and that’s interesting. Especially today, it’s so hard not to make something that’s already been made before. And a lot of people are territorial over their creations but like, everything’s been done. So how can we possibly make something that’s not ever been heard before? And a good way to go about that is to sort of make something that melds some of these genres together and to go off of what’s working, which is a lot of this trap-rap and stuff and seeing what we can do with it. And really exploring just anything. You know?
Absolutely. It’s always finding the next new thing. What do you guys have planned for the rest of the year?
Ross: For the rest of the year we’ve got… Well, there’s a possibility that we might be touring. There’s a possibility of a few festivals that we’re in talks for right now. There are acting possibilities that are coming up for me that I am currently either going to have to say “yes” or “no” to in the next week pretty much. There’s just a whole bunch of stuff going on. Really the only thing that is almost 100% certain is that there will be music throughout the year released. And depending on the success of the current song that is released will determine when the next is released. But, yeah, there’s so much potential for the rest of the year for all sorts of different things like that. But I would expect some touring and some festivals and obviously music.
And if you guys do hit the road for a tour how do you put everything together and get ready for a show like that?
Ross: We probably should start thinking about that right now if I’m going to be honest with you. Because we don’t really know what that format’s going to be like right now. I have actually a lot of design ideas for the look of it and how I kind of want it to be perceived but not what the layout is if that makes any sense. That’s kind of confusing. But yeah, we’re in talks for that right now. We’re going to figure that out very soon.
When you hit the road are there any songs in particular that you’re really looking forward to performing or is it pretty much just that you’re just equally excited to get new music out there?
Ross: I’m excited to hear some of these songs that we’ve got cooking up in the garage. See how they sound on really, really big speakers with the crowd singing back for sure. Honestly, one of those being “Afterglow.” I would love to hear that song in a little theatre with people singing back at us. But really, yeah just anything that starts from our fingertips, into our computer and then massively published onto Spotify I’d love to hear it in a large crowd format.
Do you guys have like a dream venue that you’re really like to play at some point?
Ross: Probably Red Rock if we had to pick one. Because we’re from Colorado, and yeah, it’s just kind of an iconic venue for us.
Well maybe you’ll get to figure something out for the tour this year. That’d be great.
Rocky: Yes it would!
Ross: It would be sweet!
And definitely hit up Cleveland because we never get enough good shows!
Rocky: Cleveland, let’s go!
Ross: Oh, Cleveland, yeah!
Rocky: We’re down! Go Browns!
Alright, I will let you guys go! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me!
Ross: Yeah you too! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!