With only three singles out, The Driver Era, which is a joint collaboration between brothers Rocky and Ross Lynch, have already piqued the interest of loyal R5 fans, new listeners, and the media. Their easy-going, West coast attitude is contagious through their music and we can’t get enough. Luckily, they’re back with a new single called “Low,” and it’s about to become a favourite.
“Low” has an interesting pop melody with urban undertones. When I hop on the phone with Rocky Lynch, who wrote and produced the track, even he couldn’t completely pinpoint what genre this track would belong to. He laments, “When I’m producing and picking sounds, I don’t really have a specific genre in mind. I just kinda follow whatever my natural tendency is. Like, if I’m getting a bass part, I’ll just pick up a bass and start playing it. The sound just kinda shapes naturally, you know? A lot of stuff I do, there’s always a bit of an urban undertone. I can’t escape it. I kinda like that my sound developed that naturally.”
Rocky, who wrote and produced the song, really came to it while working up a melody. “I’m working up a track and no one’s there to sing it. I’m hearing these melodies and feeling these emotions, and so it just kind of happened,” he explains. “‘Low’ is just my take on trying to make the most of life, but at the same time, no matter how good shit’s going, there’s always going to be some random day where you wake up and just feel like shit, and you gotta just kind of power through it.”
While there isn’t a music video in the works yet, Rocky is working on an idea. Ross has been keeping his acting chops warmed up as he finishes up filming the second season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Rocky’s seen two of the episodes when he went to visit Ross in Vancouver and he’s sure audiences will love this series, which premieres on Netflix today.
The duo, most recently, played at the Made in America Festival. With big names on the line-up, such as Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and more, they were surrounded by a lot of creativity and an energized atmosphere. “Philadelphia’s a dope city to play that kind of festival in, because you’re just right in the heart of the city, it’s amazing. I loved seeing those other names on the bill,” Rocky recalls the day. “We’ve been at this for a long time. We’ve been making music, writing music for – it’s like a decade now. If there was no sign of progress, I would say we were doing something wrong. So it’s nice to see that those names were at this festival that we played at, because it shows that yes, we are moving in the right direction, and yes, the hard work is starting to pay off.”
To keep the festival tour going, they’re playing at Florida Man Music Festival along with Weezer, Young the Giant, and more on November 30th. The setlist will include “Low” along with the other singles and a few unreleased tracks. The unreleased tracks are floating, as Rocky said, while they decide whether to put out an EP or an album.
What makes The Driver Era unique and unconventional is the method in which they’re working on their music. “There’s really no limitations for what it can and can’t be because nothing is permanent,” Rocky explains. “There’s no reason to not have an easygoing attitude towards the project because if you try and pinpoint every little idea on what it should be, you’ll kill yourself over it. That’s kind of what I did for a lot of this year was like oh, if I do this, we release a track that I’m singing on, then this has to be where I’m singing on tracks, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be that. It can be, I can sing on one song, and then never sing on a single song for the rest of my life. There’s no definite answer to what The Driver Era is or will be.”
As the year drifts into a close, the boys have a plan to start getting more music out. Once Ross finishes up filming, Rocky and him are headed to the studio. “[We’re] just writing down and recording everything that comes out of us. That’s basically the plan right now. And then hopefully out of that, immediately start releasing more music, kinda not overthink it, just put out tracks.”
To keep busy, Rocky has been working with other artists to help with songwriting and production. He’s recently remixed Sage Charmaine’s song, “Cherries.” He says, “Remixing is fun because you get to take any song and add energy to it, that’s basically my process. When I do remixes, I don’t necessarily think ‘let me do a dance remix,’ I just kinda reproduce it but while imagining some sort of party atmosphere where it fits in. Or like in a car, where people are just driving with their friends at night. I imagine that sort of feel in most remixes I do.”
While we were on the phone chatting, he was in the studio with the singer as well, working on some upcoming tracks. “I love producing for other people, I’ve been doing that a lot this year. I’m working with [Sage] on stuff, I’m doing a couple remixes that might come out toward the end of the year, or I’m hoping sooner, but yeah, I honestly just like having as many outlets for music as possible.”
Stream ‘Low’, below.
Photo credit: Anna Lee.
Words by Naureen Nashid