What started as a family passion in Colorado has now become the well-known pop group, The Driver Era. The years of stardom on Disney and Glee meant this musical family was never far from the spotlight. With each sibling growing up, between pursuing their own projects and starting families, R5 became 2: The Driver Era. Although Ross and Rocky Lynch are the frontmen of the band, this doesn’t mean they’ve stopped touring with their siblings. As the brothers arrived in Dublin for the fourth time, they sat backstage in the green room of Vicar Street with Trinity News to delegate advice, chat about authenticity and discuss their music careers so far.
“The cultural significance of the crisp sandwich was clearly lost on the brothers, as they mindlessly placed Mr Tayto aside.”
On their Girlfriend World Tour, the duo strolled in from exploring the city, to delve into meeting their lively fans for a sold-out backstage meet and greet. This pre-show ritual was uniquely Irish, with one fan handing the confused brothers a packet of Tayto — the cultural significance of the crisp sandwich was clearly lost on the brothers, as they mindlessly placed Mr Tayto aside. Another fan gifted the brothers an Aldi cowboy hat, while a third introduced the Americans to an extra-large tricolour. Recalling his first time in Ireland, Rocky ventured to the Aviva to see The Script, and chatted about his love for the Irish band’s music.
“The Driver Era acknowledged the family dynamic both on stage and off, discussing the importance of the strong bond between one another while on the road.”
Life on tour allows the four brothers and their team to travel, see the world and gain experiences to discuss when creating more music. This cultivates the perfect balance of doing what they love and curating lifelong memories along the way, which the brothers highlighted as being integral to inspiring new music and life as an artist. When speaking about the creative process behind songwriting and performing, Ross said, “It’s about being a human that’s relatable so you can have something to offer people. I think it’s important as an artist to find the balance in your life to go get experiences and get pieces of the world so you can accurately reflect culture and society.” When it comes to the team, everyone has a role to play: their older brother Riker performs bass on stage with The Driver Era, and the youngest of the siblings, Ryland, works behind the scenes as well as opening the shows with an energetic DJ set. The Driver Era acknowledged the family dynamic both on stage and off, discussing the importance of the strong bond between one another while on the road.
Established in 2018, The Driver Era strives to build an image that Rocky agreed is “a bit more old school organic.” For many artists who have started careers on Disney or Nickelodeon, it has proved difficult to create an image/brand that is not solely tethered to those outlets. The brothers have shown the possibility of moving beyond past musical experiences in films such as Teen Beach Movie, by taking a new stance; seen through their latest album, Summer Mixtape. Going forward from the days of youthful television programmes to a more mature style, the brothers described their music as maintaining a nostalgic feel for summer fused by more explicit themes of love, sex and passion.
“…they have fortified their passion for music and continued this family’s musical legacy across new themes, genres, and countries with their world tour.”
Ross discussed the musical origins of the band, saying, “Our oldest brother Riker just took a liking to entertainment at a really young age, and we all just followed suit because he was the oldest brother and we all looked up to him.” From a young age the five siblings have been present in the media, between acting and singing. “It was just about following passion and it’s always been fun,” explains Ross, reflecting on the clear changes in their musical trajectory as The Driver Era, surpassing their early years of performing as a family. This difference in genre ultimately stems from a desire to produce music that encompasses both “raw expression” and an awareness of how “aesthetic still means a lot for artists.” Taking this route with their newer songs, Ross and Rocky are able to do what they love for the sheer enjoyment of it. Alongside Riker and Ryland, they have fortified their passion for music and continued this family’s musical legacy across new themes, genres, and countries with their world tour.
Ross and Rocky were quick to reminisce on their past gigs in the iconic Vicar Street, which has housed acts such as Lana Del Rey, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. With a capacity of 1,500, the cosy and intimate venue was packed with adoring fans who travelled across the country to hear songs such as: San Francisco, A Kiss and Malibu. This celebrated Irish venue has often been the springboard for many up-and-coming artists. We are surrounded by mass musical talent in college, and when told about Trinity-based bands playing at the annual Trinity Ball, the brothers bestowed their advice for anyone starting up within the creative scene: Rocky told all aspiring musicians “Don’t hold back. If you’re trying to make music or write something and be creative you’ve got to somewhat get over the hump of resistance or whatever that is. And even more so, don’t hold yourself back.” Ross agreed with his older brother, saying, “work on your craft because practice makes perfect.” Making it big isn’t an easy journey, and The Driver Era reflected on the countless hours spent writing, rehearsing, recording and creating that has helped them get to where they are now. As an aspiring musician, putting yourself out there and creating a brand can be scary, but The Driver Era encourages musicians to approach their passions head on.
“Life on the road has its ups and downs, but the importance of family and authenticity were stark when meeting with The Driver Era.”
It was clear that the brothers prioritise more than just chasing fame and fortune. Taking an authentic route, the band is completely averse to social media, and have even missed the extensive fancam thirst traps of Ross’ tour performances. Being genuine artists fuels The Driver Era, and as Ross put it, “we’re not necessarily eager to exploit the social media stuff — most of that stuff’s happening organically and that’s super cool, but for whatever reason we just haven’t really been inclined to do that ourselves.” Outlets such as TikTok are great ways to garner a viral following and gain an audience, and the app has inadvertently done so for the Lynch brothers’ newest musical venture. However, they both agreed that in a way, their fanbase have taken control of the social media aspect of their career. This, in turn, has aided in creating a widespread platform for both their music and image, allowing the brothers to continue doing what they love without the pressures of marketing and advertising. Publicity from a collection of viral TikTok videos is just a fortunate by-product of immersing themselves completely in the music and their Girlfriend tour.
Now, the brothers continue on their tour around the globe, with gigs in Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands on the horizon. Life on the road has its ups and downs, but the importance of family and authenticity were stark when meeting with The Driver Era.