21st century posterboy

HERO 31 cover interview: Ross Lynch in conversation with Becky G
By Ella Joyce | Music | 27 March 2024
Photographer Fabien Kruszelnicki
Stylist Davey Sutton.
This article is part of Print Edition

As the frontman of The Driver Era, Ross Lynch commands the stage: he cuts a classic rock ’n’ roll silhouette, empowered by a die-hard fanbase who scream equally as loud in person as on social media.

Last time we spoke to Lynch in 2018, he had just made the leap from Disney star to the titular role in Marc Meyers’ Jeffrey Dahmer biopic, My Friend Dahmer. But now, away from the screen, The Driver Era live shows have become his playground, performing alongside his brother Rocky. Following the release of the band’s debut live album and concert film, Live At The Greek, immortalising their summer 2023 sold-out performance at the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Lynch and his bandmates begin 2024 with anthemic new single, Get Off My Phone, and a sell-out South American tour culminating with playing Lollapalooza festival in Brazil.

Before the fame, Lynch was just a kid hanging out in LA with his friend Rebecca Marie Gomez, aka Becky G: now a multi-award-winning artist herself and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 alumni. Having known each other for nearly two decades, these childhood friends-turned-global superstars are some of the hottest tickets around.

Vest, trousers and belt all by CELINE HOMME SS24

Becky G: There you are! Are you in LA?
Ross Lynch: I am, are you?

BG: Yes. Dude, I just heard the new song… All the feels, all the vibes.
RL: Oh thank you, I appreciate that.

BG: Is that something you guys recently worked on?
RL: Yes, we wrote that in September, so relatively recently. I’m sure you’re the same way, but I’m constantly writing music and this was one that people just seemed to like and gravitate towards, so it made sense to release it now.

BG: We should probably go all the way back because I feel like people don’t really know how old we were when we met each other. It’s wild to me how there have been so many parallels in our careers and throughout all of these years they’ve continued to intertwine at different phases. I was nine or ten when I met you, isn’t that crazy?
RL: Woah. How old are you now?

BG: I just turned 27.
RL: So if you were nine, I was ten. That’s crazy. When’s your birthday?

BG: March 2nd, when’s yours?
RL: I’m a December baby – I’m a Capricorn. Are you a Pisces?

BG: Yeah, I’m a Pisces in every way.
RL: Do you identify with that?

BG: I definitely do, I very much check the box of ‘emotional as hell’ [both laugh] I definitely check the box of creativity and being a water sign, we just go with the flow, we love everybody, we get along with everybody. Interestingly enough, we’re also at the end of the zodiac spectrum so we’re a grand, intuitive horoscope. We accumulate all of the knowledge of all the other signs, which give us this frequency – so they say – and I love to believe that about myself. [both laugh] But we’re also not all there sometimes, it’s funny.
RL: You’re making me wish I was a Pisces, this sounds great.

BG: I also wanted to talk about the fact that we both come from really big immediate families because that’s one of the things that was so refreshing when I met you guys. I knew nothing about the industry, no one in my family had ever pursued it – I was the first one in my family to take this big jump. I remember when we met at that dance studio and I met your mum, your sister, all your brothers, it kind of felt like home because I come from a big family too, and sometimes it can be lonely doing what we do. It’s dope seeing how your artistry has evolved and continues to embrace that unity with your family. Do you feel like that’s something which has kept you grounded?
RL: Yes, I think that’s one hundred percent a factor. You can take it a lot of ways, it’s probably the way I was raised, the fact my family is so close, but it also has to do with my ideologies and beliefs. I’m not interested in the concept of being better than people, I’m more along the lines of thinking that everyone has a beautiful story. I definitely think my upbringing and tribe influences those ideals as well.

“I’m just trying to have fun, I’m just trying to get out there and see through the bullshit and have a good time – that’s my main objective.”

BG: That’s kind of the way I feel too, and I think it’s translated into my ability to collaborate. My mentality has always been a ‘we’ mentality, not a ‘me’ mentality and I think that comes from the idea that sharing is caring when there are multiple of you growing up in a household. You’re part of something bigger, and being reminded of that in the grander scheme of things is such a blessing, especially in a generation like the one we live in where it’s so easy to get consumed by self.
RL: We saw you live in Mexico and your show was so refreshing, it reminded me of our dance upbringing. I’m in a band but you’re so obviously the star of the show. I really enjoyed your performance.

BG: Thank you so much. One of my favourite memories from the run we did last year was having you guys side-stage, it was so full circle. There was something so special about that for me. I remember I was like, “Let’s take a picture, I need to send it to my mom!” [both laugh] You know what it’s like to be on these lineups with so many incredible artists, but what are the chances that you see homies you started with from over a decade ago?
RL: It’s extraordinarily special.

Top, jeans and boots all by CELINE HOMME SS24

BG: You guys are touring soon, right?
RL: We’re going to play Lollapalooza in South America which is going to be fun, hopefully we don’t get into too much trouble. [laughs]

BG: When I got the 3am text of, “Sorry we went out dancing, we stopped at this random spot,” I was so glad I went to sleep. [laughs]
RL: I just randomly found the videos I took that night, you honestly missed out I’m not going to lie.

BG: Well, I hope it’s not the last chance I get to get rowdy with you guys because I got a little FOMO.
RL: Definitely not, I’m sure we’ll see you in Italy or at some random festival.

BG: I feel like it’s always the random festivals. One of my favourite things about touring is not just the show itself and getting to sing in front of an audience and share that moment with them, but it’s also in the little things. I remember going to Europe for the first time and thinking, “Wow, the toilets are different.” [both laugh] It’s a culture shock, the food and the coffee taste different. What would you say is your favourite part of touring?
RL: Definitely experiencing different cultures, different cuisines, different tendencies, I always like trying to notice the rhythm of a place – I think that’s fascinating. For instance, if you’re in LA there is a hectic rhythm to it, which is almost overwhelming at times. But then you go somewhere like Colorado and the rhythm is chill, then you go to Japan and the rhythm is respectful, I like noticing how people are living or existing. But, overall I think the best part of touring is the camaraderie with the people you’re travelling with and experiencing things that are out of the ordinary, developing stories you can share for the rest of your life. Where is the craziest place you’ve played a show?

BG: One that was really hard on me was Bolivia because of the altitude. Thank god nobody told me beforehand, but the airport we landed in is one of the most dangerous apparently and I remember it was one of those shows where you needed the oxygen tank, it wasn’t just for medical practice.
RL: I don’t think people realise how hard it is to sing and do cardio at the same time, that is so hard – you’re pretty much an athlete.

BG: Not only that, alcohol gets to your head a little quicker and you know my pre-show ritual is a shot of tequila. [laughs]
RL: You’re also tiny!

BG: It did what it had to do, but it did what it had to a little bit more intensely than what I’m used to. [laughs] Do you guys have pre-show rituals?
RL: We have this tradition where we go “Ahhhh”, all the way up and I swear we’ve been doing this for over fifteen years but at the top of the climax, we all come down and say, “Ready, set, rock,” because that was the very first song we ever made. It’s kind of funny now but it’s such an old tradition we can’t not do it. We talked about having a big family dynamic, are you travelling with your family?

“I want to play [a song] and have my own little private dance party.”

BG: Yeah, my cousin is my DJ and I bring my siblings out to work on the tour now and then.
RL: We do that too, we’re bringing our cousins on this next run.

BG: That’s awesome. Those are the things that have allowed me to create moments of safety, when I feel like the Becky G that needs to flip the switch and go and kill it on stage and pull that energy out of myself that I may not have when I’m in the bus post-therapy. I was still doing therapy while I was on tour, I would need a thirty-minute break afterwards to ground myself and think about how I’m going to manifest the energy I want to lock into. Sometimes from the first song I’m like, “What was I worried about?!” Then sometimes I’m five songs in and thinking, “I’m really struggling, I want to cry every two seconds.” I’m trying to find my rhythm.
RL: I feel that, I totally know what you mean. I don’t really think about it, to be honest with you though, but I understand what you’re saying and I get it. I’m just trying to have fun, I’m just trying to get out there and see through the bullshit and have a good time – that’s my main objective. [laughs]


BG: Has there ever been a time when you were creating something and to be so vulnerable in it was intimidating? For instance, the last album I released was a regional Mexican album and it’s the closest to my roots I’ve ever gotten. I wrote a song about my grandfather who had passed away and was a catalyst for making this specific album. It was like going back to the streets that raised me, going back to Inglewood, being in the locations I grew up and retracing those steps. Even though my family are still there and I drive past these things on an everyday basis, it was different to actually piece it together in a body of work, share it with the world and have it no longer be just mine. There was something really vulnerable about it that was so liberating for me as an artist, but at the same time still so raw. I sang that song every single night on the tour and seeing other people have such a physical emotional reaction to it, making signs with pictures of them with their grandfather, there were nights where I couldn’t even get through the song and they had to sing it for me. Was there a moment for you in your career where you were like, “I feel like I’m tapping into something really special here, but I know it won’t be mine anymore.”
RL: I want to hear you sing that song now. I feel that way every time a song comes out, because before its release I like it when it’s just mine, and it’s my little secret. Then giving it up to the world, I do find it to be kind of uncomfortable and vulnerable.

BG: There is a type of therapy called ‘parts work’ and it literally is as if you’re creating a family tree for yourself, you identify all these different parts of you. For me, there is this fun, sensual side that comes out with certain party songs and I think the reason why it felt so new for me was because this was a very vulnerable side of me that I had never created art from. Rick Rubin talks about how to be an artist is to be a vessel, you tap into the frequency and your job is to make and create and have no real deadline.
RL: Totally. I like that no deadline philosophy but I have yet to exercise it. Do you pay attention to deadlines?

BG: I think it’s something worth acknowledging as artists working today who are just naturally being put under this pressure to create all the time. I remember releasing my first album and then two months later everyone was like, “When’s the next album?!” What happened to the days when an artist used to lock up in a studio for two years, make a beautiful body of work, present it to the world, promo it and then tour it for another two years? Then maybe you lock up for two years again to make the next album, you had these cycles that were a lot longer wheareas today we can create just to create – it’s a singles market in a sense, which is fun sometimes to play around with and create dope shit. Do you guys write a song and then not touch it? Or do you write a song, live with it and revisit it?
RL: It depends, ideally I like to listen to it a few thousand times. I want to be clicking play on it because I love it, not to fix something. I want to play it and have my own little private dance party. [laughs] When you find some magic and it seemingly never gets old, I like that feeling a lot.

GALLERYRoss Lynch / HERO 31

Interview originally published in HERO 31.

Buy HERO 31 here.

LEA at PREMIER HAIR and MAKE-UP using HAIR BY SAM MCKNIGHT and TOM FORD BEAUTY; photography assistants JODY EVANS and BRUNO McGUFFIE; fashion assistants ALEX TRILLO and HENRY BOUFFLER; grooming assistant ALYSSA KRAUS; special thanks LEO THE KITTEN


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