Over the last few months, The Driver Era – aka brothers Ross and Rocky Lynch – have been steadily releasing a stream of new music, from the lo-fi alternative pop of ‘Places’ to the yearning ‘OMG Plz Don’t Come Around’. Each track has been accompanied by a music video made by the band and their collaborators, seeing them build their own indie cottage industry and keep themselves occupied in quarantine.
In the latest edition of NME’s In Conversation series, the pair discuss their plans for a second album, keeping it in the family and their pursuits outside of music.
Their latest single ‘Fade’ details the “inevitability of fading away”
The duo’s most recent release comes in the form of ‘Fade’, a slow-burning piece of soulful pop that continues their streak of delivering a series of brilliant standalone singles. It was first written three years ago when they were still signed to Hollywood Records, and they say the was process was “how songs should be written” – no second-guessing, just doing things because it sounds good.
Speaking about the subject matter, Ross explains: “It’s all about the inevitability of fading away. It’s just about making the most of every moment.”
“We were predicting coronavirus two years ago,” deadpans Rocky. He’s joking, but it’s a valuable message for us all to take note of, given our circumstances.
They’re being spurred on to make a strong second album by “non-musicians”, releasing singles and the prolific nature of rap
Although they’d previously suggested their second album – the follow-up to 2019’s ‘X’ – would arrive late this summer, we’re going to have to wait a while longer for it to arrive. But don’t fear – when it does eventually materialise, it should be a considered, proper body of work spurred on both by artists they admire (and some they don’t).
Ross explains that they’re tried of “personalities” randomly releasing tracks, rather than legit artists. “Full transparency: we’re kind of fed up with all the non-musicians releasing singles in the world. So we want to do a large release, we want to make a whole bunch of music to go against that trend.”
At the moment, they’re predicting a record made up of somewhere between 15 and 20 songs, to be released next summer, and say having a jam-packed tracklist was inspired by the hip-hop community. Says Rocky: “Rappers are really good at that because they just get in the studio and they’re just like, ‘Yo, this is dope’, and they’re just flowing. They put out 20-song albums every year.”
Working with their extended family lets them pay things forward
When you’re in a band with your brother you might want to widen up your pool of collaborators to beyond the rest of your family. Not if you’re in The Driver Era, who regularly work with other brother Ryland and teenage cousin Gordy Destjeor on their self-made music videos.
“The biggest pro [of working with family] is giving someone the opportunity,” says Ross. “For instance, Gordy could go to film school or he could come and do some music videos with us. He’s getting that hands-on experience in a real-life scenario and he’s getting the opportunity to work.”
“It happens naturally because we live with Ryland and see other family members often,” adds Rocky. “It just makes sense. Why fix what ain’t broken?”
Don’t expect to see them touring until the social distancing era is over
As the pandemic continues to trundle on and lockdown conditions fluctuate, we’re seeing more and more artists coming up with ways to perform in accordance with social distancing regulations. Some are holding gigs in parks and others are giving punters their own little pens, six feet apart from anyone else.
The Driver Era recently announced a UK and European tour for next May, when the world is hoping to be back to some sort of normality. If it’s not, though, don’t expect them to turn the gigs into socially distanced ones.
“I think [touring post-Covid] will be pretty chill, even if it’s at a point where a lot of the crowd is wearing masks,” Ross says. “People are used to being like, ‘Oh, let me just throw a mask on and do my thing and go out’ now. I think it’ll be exciting.”
There’s one problem that Ross envisions, though – the very nature of their gigs. “Almost every show that we ever have done is a mosh pit full of people that are sweating on each other and dancing on each other,” he explains. “The people coming to our shows are trying to have a good time. I just hope there are no restrictions – at that point, I think we’d just wait to tour. We want people to have the time of their lives.”
We should have seen more of Ross as Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’s Harvey
As well as being one half of The Driver Era, Ross is also a rising actor and is best known for his role of Harvey Kinkle in Netflix’s Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled by the streaming platform after its fourth season (which will air later this year).
According to Ross, that series shouldn’t have been its last. “What’s funny is we probably would have had 10 more episodes had Covid not happened,” he says. “But it just didn’t make sense financially for Netflix, essentially.” Add that to the list of things the pandemic has robbed us of, then.