The Driver Era Talks Touring, Long Distance Relationships, Going Shirtless and 'Summer Mixtape'

·4 min read
The Driver Era Releases 'The Summer Mixtape'
The Driver Era Releases 'The Summer Mixtape'

Samuel Fisher The Driver Era

The Driver Era is bringing summer nostalgia to a new level.

On Friday, the duo — consisting of brothers Ross and Rocky Lynch — is releasing their third studio album titled Summer Mixtape. To mark the occasion, the duo spoke to PEOPLE about the record, broke down life on the road and more.

"If you will, it's like our summer mixtape," the Austin & Ally actor, 26, tells PEOPLE. "It's the songs that we were working on in the summer, that we were always listening to. It's just songs about our lives and recent happenings."

Some of those recent happenings, Rocky says, are topics of "intimacy, money, freedom and fame."

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"It's basically about choosing to think highly of yourself, because the world is what you make of it," Ross says. "But there's [also] songs about sex, there're songs about love, and there're songs about belief."

The Driver Era Releases 'The Summer Mixtape'
The Driver Era Releases 'The Summer Mixtape'

Samuel Fisher The Driver Era

The 11-track album features previously released songs "Keep Moving Forward and "Malibu." Summer Mixtape is also the latest release since Girlfriend in October. But unlike Girlfriend's indie approach, the duo made this record with "good vibes" in mind — making this the perfect feel-good summer album.

For Ross and Rocky, 27, — whom you may also recognize from their childhood band R5 — most of their summer has been consumed by their tour, which is set to wrap in November in San Diego. On their days off, the band lays "low" to recharge for the next performance.

"On a show day, you pretty much wake up and it's soundcheck, and then you maybe will get an ice bath, to try and help some muscle soreness [and] for dopamine. It's just helpful," Rocky says.

But there are some challenges that come with touring. For Ross, it means navigating a long-distance relationship with girlfriend Jaz Sinclair.

"Especially coming out of COVID because we spent every day together. All day, every day for a long time now. Pretty much our whole relationship, we've just been attached at the hip," he says. "So that's pretty tough because she's up shooting a TV show in Toronto, being a superhero. It's really cool. But it also kind of sucks."

He continues, "Because by the time I'm done with the tour, it'll be an eight-month long-distance situation. Obviously, we'll see each other and I try to visit as much as possible, but it's still tough."

After this run, however, they've decided to be more intentional about adjusting their schedules to make time for each other.

"I feel like the conversations that we've had recently are mostly, 'Hey, this has been really hard this year and we got to figure out how to come together as a team in the future when we're deciding our schedules so that we don't have to do this again because it wasn't very fun,' " Ross says. "So most of our conversations have just been like, 'Wow, this is so cool. You're killing it. I'm killing it. Fulfilling our dreams in our careers, but let's figure out a better way to logistically do this in the future.'

He also reflects on the parts he loves: "The fun part is just hanging out with the boys and we're drinking and dancing and having a good time and playing the shows every night is great fun. Being in new cities every day, just being on tour. Tours, honestly, is a good time."

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Last month, Ross went viral on TikTok for his shirtless moments onstage captured by fans. When asked if it's become a crowd-pleaser, the star says it's mostly unplanned.

"First time it was in the moment. I think it was just a really hot show and I was just feeling the energy. Everybody was having a good time and that was chill. Then the crowd started being like, 'Take it off. Take it off.' So I was like, 'OK.' But now, after a few shows in, [and] now that it's becoming all of that, I feel like I'll probably dial it back."

Rocky interjects, suggesting he takes "the socks off" to switch it up.

After their tour wraps in November, Ross and Rocky will continue their Girlfriend World Tour, playing shows in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and The UK for the first time.

Summer Mixtape is out now.