There’s a bit of identity confusion in R5 these days that has nothing to do with the quintet’s music.
After Riker Lynch’s recent runner-up finish on Dancing With the Stars, his younger brother — R5 frontman and Austin & Ally co-star Ross Lynch — tells Billboard they’re being mistaken for each other. “A lot of people confuse me for Riker now, and it never was that way,” Lynch reports. “A lot of people will come up to me and be like, ‘Riker?!’ and I’m like, ‘No. No, it’s not me.’ And then we’ll always be like, ‘Riker, show us your moves’ and stuff like that.”
Jokes and mistaken identities aside, the Lynches and the rest of R5 — siblings Rocky and Rydel Lynch and cohort Ellington Ratliff — are gearing up for the July 10 release of the group’s second album, Sometime Last Night, which features the track “Dark Side,” premiering exclusively below. The follow-up to 2013’s Louder had a difficult gestation, and Ross Lynch tells us that R5 even withdrew an entire other album intended as its sophomore release at the start of the year.
“We had this whole record finished and mastered, and shortly after we had it all mastered and put all the money into it we scrapped it all,” Lynch recalls. “We just went into the label (Hollywood Records), and we were like, ‘Listen guys, we aren’t really feeling it. It’s not really genuine to us, so we’re just gonna rewrite everything, basically.’ It really wasn’t going in a direction. It resembled [Louder] too much, and we weren’t really growing. We’re still trying to find our sound and figure out what we are as a band, and we figured that didn’t do it justice. It wasn’t very genuine.”
So R5 went back to work, with Ellington and Rocky Lynch coming up tracks while Ross Lynch was on the sets of Austin & Ally and a feature film that’s due out this year. “Dark Side,” Ross says, was actually the first song of the new batch to come forth. “I think it was at that moment that we realized we actually have the capability and the skill set to just write the whole record,” Lynch says. “And then we just kept writing songs and beating off songs that we previously had. We had a checklist; We’d be like, ‘Alright, ‘Dark Side’ is better than this song, so it’ll take that song’s spot, and then this song can take this other song’s spot.’ We basically worked our way down and replaced the whole record,” though Lynch notes that some of the bonus tracks from the deluxe edition of Sometime Last Night were songs intended for the original album.
As heard on “Dark Side” there are some definite funk influences at work on R5’s new album, which Lynch credits to listening to plenty of Michael Jackson while growing up. There’s a bit of crunchy rock, too, on tracks such as “Lightning Strikes” and “Did You Have Your Fun?,” but the predominant feel of the 11-song set — produced primarily by Rocky and Matt Wallace — is decidedly pop. “We definitely wanted to make it pop for sure because we felt like that’s where our fans are,” Lynch acknowledges. “We wanted to please the people who are actually supporting us, but we wanted it to be interesting, too, and a lot of these songs we actually didn’t really have much of a thought process about. They just kind of came out of us, which I feel is probably the best way to write. If you let the song write itself, I think it’s better.”