Joe Jonas Something About SS17. You’ll know DNCE even if you think you don’t. Their debut single “Cake By The Ocean” was originally released in 2015, but is the song that keeps on giving. From constant radio play and summery advert syncs; there has barely been a moment over the last 18 months that the cheerful song hasn’t soundtracked. And even if you think you don’t know anything else about the LA four-piece, you do. Their leader is one Joe Jonas, former teen heartthrob and pop superstar for over a decade. He rose to worldwide fame as part of the Jonas Brothers, alongside his siblings Nick and Kevin, making wholesome pop-rock that earned them roles beside Miley Cyrus on Hannah Montana and their own Disney shows.
Now 27, Joe is still as capable of making whole rooms swoon with his swooped back dark hair and piercing dark eyes as when he and his brothers were household names around the world. Before the Jonas Brothers had officially split and were still on hiatus, he struck out on his own, releasing the electropop and R&B inspired solo record “Fastlife” in 2011. He’s since said he wanted it to have a “Hall & Oates meets disco-funk vibe”, but was steered by his label to work with producers who had worked with other Disney acts like Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. The album was deemed a commercial failure after its release but it was a valuable lesson and gave Joe the confidence to trust his own instincts. Now, Joe is leaving his safe pop past behind him.
Along with bandmates Cole Whittle (bass), JinJoo Lee (guitar) and Jack Lawless (drums), Jonas is now making disco-funk flecked pop that’s bold, infectious and forever fun. Unusually for a major label-signed pop band, DNCE tour pretty hard. While they have not been out on a headline run for over a year, the quartet has kept itself busy with plenty of support slots (including opening for Selena Gomez on her tour) and festival dates. They’re happy to be back with fans they know have made the trip out just for them. “When it’s your own crowd it’s just a celebration with your fans,” Joe says. DNCE make music that’s both worth celebrating and a worthy soundtrack for that party.
When we speak, the band are just about to wrap up their latest US tour and are heading to Montclair, New Jersey for a homecoming for Joe. “I grew up down the street, only a few minutes away from where the show is going to be,” he explains, driving through New York.
Joe Jonas Something About SS17 – Print Issue released Thursday 13.04.17
Your debut album DNCE has been out for a few months now. What are your feelings about the record?
“I’m just so thrilled that it’s out now. There’s nothing better than these really intimate and personal songs that you write and then you perform them live and hear a crowd singing them back to you. It’s really special. As the music industry starts to shift quite a bit where more people are releasing singles than albums, I think it’s still special.”
Some songs are very personal to you… Is it hard to perform them every night?
“It can sometimes be uncomfortable, but you know that this could be a fan’s favourite song or it could have gotten them through something. That’s at least what you hope for. I’ve caught the eyes of certain fans on this tour. I could tell that was their song – maybe that was their break-up song or their make-up song. That’s the beauty of music – you can find ways to relate with artists and fans.”
The album got pushed back a few times because of how well the singles were doing.
“Yeah it was. At first we were frustrated because we didn’t like to see the reaction of the fans being bummed out that we were putting the album back. It’s hard to explain that it’s a good problem. If my favourite band said that, I would probably just say, ‘Oh you guys aren’t ready yet’ or, ‘The album doesn’t sound good’. But it started to become a joke for us. We’d look at each other and be like, ‘Hey, guess what guys? The album’s been pushed back again’. It got pushed back five or six times. We were joking around like, ‘Are we gonna leak this?’ But it’s a good thing and we all look back and we’re all so thrilled with how well the songs did and we’re riding that wave.”