Joe Jonas has come a long way since his days with the Jonas Brothers. Although it was Nick’s decision to disband the group, Joe ultimately agreed that the Jonas Brothers had ran its course and it was to time venture into other venues. While the 28-year-old singer had previously released a solo album, “Fastlife”, back in 2011, he felt that he was meant to be in a band. Enter DNCE.
When Joe first brought together Jack Lawless (drummer), Cole Whittle (bassist/keyboardist), and JinJoo Lee (guitarist) to form DNCE, the eclectic pop-rock foursome quickly proved to be a breath of fresh air in the music scene. Why DNCE you asked? It happened by mistake when someone misspelled “dance” as “dnce”, missing out the “a”. The group decided that DNCE was perfect for them as it paints the imperfect awesomeness of 4 different individuals coming together.
When DNCE was in town for their first ever Malaysian concert, we got the chance to get up close and personal with all 4 members at Le Meridien, Kuala Lumpur. During the press conference, the quartet cited winning the MTV Video Music Award for “Best New Artiste” and collaborating with rap queen Nicki Minaj on “Kissing Strangers” as some of their top favourite moments of their career.
That morning, Universal Music Malaysia also announced that their self-titled album had just reached platinum. In celebration, 2 famous Nasi Lemak cakes from Tiana Kitchen were presented as a token of appreciation.
During our sit down with DNCE, we got them to elaborate on their personal musical journey and what has changed since starting out. Of course we couldn’t let them get away without asking them about their thoughts on their Asian fans and which K-pop artistes they would like to work with.
Check out our interview below:
We heard that your EP “SWAAY” was inspired some funky stories. Can you share?
Joe: Most of our music is more like a universal idea of what it can mean to you. “Pay My Rent” can be literal but it can also mean when things go really south for you and you really need that person that you love and care about (to be present). Knock on wood, if you had a bad accident and you need someone to feed you food or if you want somebody to just come and visit your house, or if you need money or any physical appreciation, I think that’s what it comes down to. For “Cake By The Ocean”, some producers were telling a story about drinking the cocktail, Sex on the Beach, but they confused it with “cake by the ocean” and we loved that (mispronunciation) and went with it.
Again, congrats on your album hitting platinum here. Did y’all expect it?
Cole: We never expect anything. We try to approach everything like we’re lucky to experience it. We’re so lucky to be here in Malaysia, to play a concert for our fans and meet them. We hope that we can be the biggest band here so we can come back and build the DNCE world.
Are you surprised by the success of “Cake By The Ocean” that it even has its own urban dictionary definition?
Joe: It’s like that never ending song for us. We’re so proud if it. It kicked off everything for DNCE so we wouldn’t even know where we’d be without it. It’s a special song that has taken a life of its own and has a stamp in culture. Years from now, we’re still going to be thankful for that jam.
Joe, you’ve been in the industry for many years now. Do you still view success the same way you did when you first started out with your brothers? Has it changed?
Joe: Yeah, I think so. I care less about the stuff that doesn’t really matter. When you’re younger, you’re super concerned about what people think about you, like the way you look. As you get older, the stuff that really matters are your music, being nice to people, and having a great time. Nothing should get in the way of that. That’s where my perspective changed. We try to be the nice people in the room because it takes a lot more effort to be mean and rude and perceive ourselves as the best band out there.
Every song on the LP was written by you. Is it important that the music you put out is written by you? (P/S: Cole Whittle contributed to “Unsweet” and “Almost”).
Joe: It actually came down to timing. We were still developing the band at the moment and coming together to define what the band was going to be. We always find ways to collaborate, whether when we’re travelling, touring, or in the studio, we’ll try and write together. The music kind of just happened really fast cause we were also balancing between recording and touring.
What’s your favourite song of the year so far?
Joe: It’s tough to say 1 song. I think Kendrick Lamar’s album has done a lot for music lately. He’s just one of the most incredible performers. “Unforgivable” is pretty unreal too.
The K-Pop scene is also pretty huge around the world. Given the chance, who would y’all like to collaborate in the future?
JinJoo: SNSD (aka Girls Generation), because they have 8 girls.
Joe: I’m the only guy that would work with G-Dragon. I think I met him in passing before, really quickly. We’d love to collaborate. That would be really fun.
JinJoo, you were in an all female band before joining DNCE. What was it like, going from that kind of craziness to this kind of craziness?
JinJoo: Regardless if it’s all-female or all-male group, to me, a musician is a musician. (Being in CeeLo Green’s all-female band), the music was really funky, I had a really good time. But when I had another opportunity, I moved on. So it wasn’t really different.
What are y’all most fascinated about with regards to the Asian culture?
Cole: I think that the spirit and the love of being alive is such a gift. And everywhere we’ve gone – whether it’s Japan or Korea – there’s just an appreciation for being alive. No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s a good time or bad time, you wake up in the morning, the sun is shinning, you have some good food, and that’s what the experiences are about. We really felt that in Asia.
What’s the biggest misconception for DNCE?
Cole: That we’re aggressively good looking. Like, wow! (laughs)
Cole, have you ever been successful at convincing the rest of the gang to pick up your dressing style?
Cole: Oh no, that would be bad. We don’t need more of this (points to his outfit). If anything, I just encourage anyone I meet to dress how they feel. There’s a lot of power in fashion and clothing.
How do you decide your #ootd?
Cole: I look at what I have. Cause it’s a really weird collection. None of it makes sense and I rarely buy anything. I just find things or people give me things. Somehow every morning, I just see exactly what I wanna be that day.
What do y’all always expect from fans when y’all perform?
Joe: We expect fans to have the best time ever. To be wild and crazy. We can’t wait to meet them, to perform with them, to hear them sing the songs that they’ve been listening to. We’ve gotten a lot of messages about coming here, so we can’t wait.
Curious to know our thought’s on DNCE’s concert at KL Live? Read our concert review here.
Special thanks and much love to our friends from Universal Music Malaysia for having us!