R5 is tired of people telling them what to do. This time around, they’re doing it all themselves — and the result is magic. Ahead of their ‘New Addictions’ EP and tour , we talked to the band about their involvement in every stage of the musical process. Prepare to be impressed!
This conversation with Ross Lynch, Riker Lynch, Rocky Lynch, Rydel Lynch, and Ellington Ratliff of R5 has been edited and condensed for clarity. Click through our gallery to see photos from their visit at the HollywoodLife.com offices, and look out for a new video interview soon!
How are you feeling about the upcoming tour?
Ross: We’re very excited for tour. We’re still building it because we have a lot of songs that we want to finish and release soon!
How do you put together a setlist?
Riker: I basically put together the setlist, and then they all go, “Oh, we don’t want to play this song, how about this song?” Pretty much all of my favorite songs, they don’t want to play. [All laugh]
Rydel: He actually really enjoys it.
Riker: I was the musical director for Olivia Holt’s tour, so I liked that and then I dabbled with other artists, too.
So you’re the most qualified to do it.
Riker: I think so!
Ross: We’re trying to become more self-sufficient as a band, because we’re sick of other people doing stuff that’s mediocre. That’s something that he was good at. And like with Rocky and producing. We try to do what we’re most passionate about. For Rydel, that’s doing more of the fashion side of things, and YouTube. She’s good at editing the videos.
That’s so cool. Speaking of which, can we expect a music video soon?
Ross: Yes, we’re going to have a video for “If,” which I’m really excited about. It’s a juxtaposition to the song. You have a lot of “summer” songs that are about a pool party, and this is a pool party…but it’s the opposite. No one’s excited in it, we’re all, like, bored. It’s not your average summer music video.
I thought you were going to say, “It’s a pool party, but everyone dies,” or something.
Ross: That would be sick.
Rydel: Yeah, tell them to kill us at the end of the video!
Rocky: Like really horrible CGI.
Rydel: Tell them to edit it like Doctor Strange.
What’s the weirdest or most unique venue you’ve played?
Riker: There are two parts to this.
Ellington: One is, there was this big amphitheatre in New Hampshire, and it was made to look like a summer camp. There were bikes, an ice cream truck…it was the most insane thing. Video games, everything.
Rydel: There was a lake, so we borrowed the bikes and rode to the lake and went swimming. It was awesome!
Riker: Ages ago, we played this pizza joint in Bakersfield, California, and the ceiling was so short that if Rocky jumped, he would have hit it with his head.
Rocky: There was a beam in the middle of the stage, and if I stood up straight…
Riker: That was the very first tour.
Rydel: I was just at an event, and someone came up to me and said, “I saw you at some pizza joint, like 3 years ago?” I was like, “In Bakersfield?!”
Rocky: That’s so sick.
What was the inspiration for New Addictions?
Ross: Well, for the title, I was just saying it one time: I love new addictions. It’s always nice to have something that’s consuming every thought that you have.
Rydel: All of us have addictive personalities.
Ross: Everyone has something they’re addicted to.
Ellington: It’s also about the digital age. Netflix, Instagram, Spotify…there’s an age of addiction that’s very prominent [dramatically] in this time.
Ross: The songs on the record are a product of us being in studio every day, our lives for the past years. In the studio all day…and the club at night!
The production seems especially lush this time around.
Rocky: Thank you!
Can you talk about that process?
Rocky: When other people produce songs for us, they’re always a product of them putting together notes. When we do it, it has more feeling and has something more to it. I think that comes across in the songs.
Ross: Like everyone else in the world, when we work with someone else, they have a preconceived notion of what we are, because of what we’ve done in the past. It’s much easier to do it on our own because we know who we are and what we want to make.
Rocky: On most of the tracks, we wrote and produced them ourselves. There are tracks like “Red Velvet” where we had a friend come in and do production tweaks, just because when you’ve sat on a song for months and months, it’s nice to have someone do a fresh take on it. But almost all of the songs all started from us.
The lyrics are also sexier on a lot of the tracks…
Ross: Because we’re sexier now!
Haha. Obviously, you guys have “grown up,” but is it challenging to think about catering to your younger fans?
Rydel: I feel like they’ve grown up with us, which is perfect.
Ellington: We’ll see these fans who we knew years ago when they were thirteen or whatever, but now they’re all twenty, and it’s like, when did this happen? But we’re old, too!
Are the songs on the EP inspired by anyone in particular?
Rocky: “Lay Your Head Down” is specifically about a time I had with a girl I met in Japan.
If someone hasn’t heard you before, what song should they listen to first?
Ross: That’s an interesting question because the songs showcase a lot of variety, and it highly depends on what you’ve already heard. If you listen to rap, I’d say “Red Velvet.” If you’re more up on the EDM scene I’d say “Need You Tonight.” If you like pop songs and want a summer jam, “If.”
Ross: In the past year we’ve been in the studio, so we have a lot of songs coming!
Grab New Addictions on Friday, May 12, and look out for a full summer tour announcement soon!