The Driver Era have big news, and they’re sharing it today.
Words: Jessica Goodman.
It’s a sunny morning in LA. Ross and Rocky Lynch are in their car, just picking up a coffee, and there’s a sense of celebration in the air. Sure, that could be because it’s Halloween. It could also be because it’s Rocky’s birthday in less than 24 hours. But mostly, it’s because The Driver Era have big news, and they’re sharing it today.
Hot on the heels of their first new single of the year, ‘Rumours’, released last month, The Driver Era are about to release their first live album. Recorded at a landmark show in LA this summer, ‘Live At The Greek’ is a celebration of everything that’s made the band who they are today. “We’ve never put a show like this on before,” Ross enthuses of the release. “It’s a one-of-a-kind show. That’s what was fun about it.”
Having previously held concerts from the likes of Sir Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few, the Greek Theatre is one of the US’ most iconic venues. This isn’t the first time the Lynch brothers have performed on its stage. It isn’t even the first time they’re releasing a live recording of a concert they’ve performed there.
Something of a sequel to ‘Live Sometime Last Night At The Greek Theatre’, a concert film recorded by the brothers’ former band R5 in 2015, ‘Live At The Greek’ is The Driver Era’s way of celebrating not only where they’ve come from, but also everything they and their fans have created – and continue to create – today. “The idea behind it was kind of like a celebration for our fans,” Ross describes, “for all the ways that we’ve grown and changed, and they’ve grown and changed with us.”
“There were so many things to figure out, like lighting and where the cameras were going to go and what am I going to wear?”Ross Lynch
Packed with fan-favourite hits and a brand new number featuring costume changes, choreographed dancing, and an on-stage reunion from R5, this is The Driver Era as you’ve never seen them before (unless you were there, of course). “It felt really good,” Ross describes of stepping off the stage after having made it back to the venue nearly eight years after they first played there. “It honestly mostly felt like a relief,” he chuckles.
“There was so much happening,” Rocky agrees. “Normally, if you’re playing LA, there’s already a lot happening. Then on top of that, you’ve got more things going into the show, like show design, lighting design, tonnes of crew, extra everything…” Chaotic though it might have felt at the time, it was born out of a desire to create something truly special for the fans whose support keeps the band doing what they do best.
The duo are quick to give credit to the team they’ve surrounded themselves with, from the musicians who perform with them on stage to the tight-knit crew that helps them keep everything they do on point, and their family whose support and creativity has long inspired their own creative output. “I think our team has been coming in hella clutch recently, with everything,” Rocky expresses earnestly. “Ross, as well, has been coming in clutch” (“Thanks, bro!” Ross chimes from behind his coffee, “You too!”).
“We’ve been slowly curating our team over the years,” Rocky continues. “You move that to the live show all of a sudden, everyone is kind of already in this fluid state of knowing how to do this because we’ve done it together already.”
“There were so many things to figure out,” Ross agrees, “like lighting and where the cameras were going to go and what am I going to wear?” he laments, laughing. “By the end of it, I was like…” He takes a deep breath. “‘Okay. Cool. We did it.'”
It wasn’t until they got to making their new live album and had the out-of-body experience of watching themselves play live on stage through their concert footage that what they’d achieved really started to sink in. “When we first peeped the first round of mixes, and the first rough cut, I remember just being like, ‘Oh wow. We’ve got a whole thing here’,” Rocky enthuses. “‘This turned out pretty nice.'”
“Every artist wants to have our fanbase”Ross Lynch
Recorded just two months shy of eight years after the siblings’ first performance at the Greek Theatre with R5, and released in the same year as The Driver Era celebrate five years since they released their debut single ‘Preacher Man’, ‘Live At The Greek’ is, to put it concisely, a party.
“We really went back to ground zero, then somehow made it all the way back,” Ross describes of their journey since first starting The Driver Era half a decade ago. “We went from playing the smallest rooms we’ve ever played to playing the Greek again.”
As much as the concert was a celebration for the band, the release of this album is a celebration for their fans. “Every artist wants to have our fanbase. Literally,” Ross enthuses with a grin. “Everyone that comes to our shows, they always say, ‘Wow, your guys’ fans are just the most incredible’. And we know that.”
If you’ve been to a Driver Era show, or got caught up in hype for the band online, then you know what he’s talking about. From fan projects to fan art, driving word of the group across social media to dancing in packed-out venues, this is enthusiasm at its most freewheeling and fun – and is there anything not to love about that? “There’s no doubt, no doubt,” Ross emphasises, “I definitely think we have the best fans in the world, for sure.”
“Regardless of what you’re going through behind the scenes or backstage, when you come out on stage, and you see all the fresh faces smiling up at you, and they’re so ready for a good time, it’s like… How could you not be having the best time of your life?!” he beams. “They bring it out of you. It’s incredible.”
Released this December, ‘Live At The Greek’ isn’t just commemorating how far the band and their fans have come; it’s also celebrating how far they’re still capable of going. “The best is still yet to come,” Ross expresses. “Which, I’m sure, is any artist’s mentality,” he allows, “but it really does feel that way. It feels like there’s a lot to be done still, for the sake of our art, and just for ourselves.”
“We like to get a little more metal on the stage”Rocky Lynch
Rocky is quick to agree. “We’ve been working on a lot of tracks the last couple of months,” he enthuses. “There’s two of these songs where I’m like, ‘…what the heck?!'” he grins. “They got some extra sauce in them or something. I really am curious what people are gonna think of these, actually. Because I think they kind of are what people are looking for right now.”
Ignoring his brother’s proclamation that “Rocky, those aren’t out yet! We’ve gotta hype up ‘Rumours’, bro!” Rocky continues, “It’s all about the trilogy. We’re doing it like the big studios now.”
The first new song to be released by The Driver Era this year, ‘Rumours’ landed just after Ross made a starring appearance in the internet-breaking music video for Troye Sivan’s latest smash hit ‘One Of Your Girls’. “I’ve always wanted to be in someone else’s music video,” Ross considers. “Honestly, working with Troye was wonderful. I had already been a big fan. I loved his vision. He gave me some free perfume that he’s making right now, which smells delightful. Overall, it was just a wonderful experience. He’s a super sweet guy.”
As for what he makes of the internet-breaking reaction? Rocky jokingly fields that question for him. “I missed out. I drew the short straw. I didn’t get no lap dances or nothing,” he playfully complains, before laughing and loudly declaring, “the sequel!”
Their own latest offering, ‘Rumours’, is one of a number of new songs the brothers have in the works. “I’m in the studio almost every day,” Ross says. Rocky’s work ethic for the band is just as keen. “Even if I’m driving in my car, I’m working,” he states. “I’ve got some demos playing; I’m in the studio in my mind,” he laughs. “I call it ‘ghost work’.”
For right now, the duo are energised and excited with the promise of “new music and content.” “I don’t think we’ve put out many live renditions of songs, so that’s pretty cool,” Rocky contemplates. “You can go listen to your favourite song in the live format. We like to get a little more metal on the stage.”
“You can definitely look forward to more metal, for sure,” Ross promises through laughter, shaking his head and attempting a more serious answer. “You can look forward to lots of surprises.”
“We’ve got lots of new songs coming soon that we’ve been working really hard on and we’re really excited about,” he continues, “and we’re going to be trying to make as many visual pieces to the sonic pieces as possible.” Whatever medium they’re working in, their enthusiasm for their craft remains as boundless as it always has been.
“There’s stuff happening here, you know?” Rocky enthuses. ■
The Driver Era’s live album ‘Live At The Greek’ is out 8th December. Pre-order a copy here.
The tracklist for ‘Live At The Greek’ reads:
Feel You Now
Summer Time Baby
Omg / Like A King
Need A Man
Keep Moving Forward
I Got You
Take Me Away
Heart Of Mine