You may have heard their catchy single, Cake by the Ocean, that is still dominating the UK charts at its 31st week in the top 40 – but DNCE are proving that they are more than just a one hit wonder.
Joe Jonas, one third of the teen pop band The Jonas Brothers, has separated with Disney once and for all as he joins with Jinjoo, Jack and Cole to create DNCE – and yes, that ‘A’ was left out on purpose. The band mates collectively each have over a decade of experience in the music industry, having toured with the likes of CeeLo Green, Charli XCX, Jordin Sparks, Semi Precious Weapons and of course The Jonas Brothers, they are no new comers to the stage.
MTV’s 2016 Best New Artist winners are currently travelling the world touring since Cake by the Ocean made its way into the charts, so we met with DNCE ahead of their sold out show at the Islington O2 in London to get to know the one year old band a little better.
You guys have just come from New Zealand, how was that?
Joe: It was great, we were in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and then the longest thirty hours to get here. We kind of hit the ground running which is probably the best way to fight the jet lag. We got here yesterday about six to the hotel, and we started at like eight or nine o’clock, so we had to keep things moving but its been a good 48 hours.
How long are you in London for?
Joe: We’re here for another fours days before we head to New York.
So it’s been about a year since you guys started, how did you get together?
Joe: Well, I’ve known Jack and Jinjoo for almost ten years and Jack I were living together and talked about starting a band; we threw around a bunch of different band names for a while. Eventually it started getting serious when I called up Jack and was like dude this is a reality, this idea that we had. Jinjoo was touring with some friends that we knew, Charli XCX and Ciara so she got off tour with them and then we met Cole through a mutual friend and had the perfect connection.
Obviously having that chemistry is important, when did you guys know that this was going to work?
Cole: The first time that we actually played together, all four of us with all our instruments, I think that movement is a huge thing; some people don’t move well together and some people move the same way. We just started moving around together when we were playing music and were just weaving in and out of each other like it was water or something, and we just all knew it was something really special.
So Cake by the Ocean is currently at its 31th week in the UK charts, how did you come about writing this?
Joe: That’s cool I didn’t know that. It was kind of an accident, a happy accident in a way. We were working in the studio, kind of having writers block with producers that came from Sweden and on a break they were telling a story about having Cake by the Ocean which was Sex on the Beach, the drink, so we were like that could be a funny idea for a song. So we started joking around, writing this fun tune and ending up creating Cake by the Ocean.
So your new single Toothbrush is out with the model Ashley Graham in the video, what’s that song about?
Cole: That song is about the beginning of a relationship when your hanging out with someone new and it’s a good vibe and it gets to that point when you start to think about maybe leaving something at somebody’s place, just to test the water. I think it could be five minutes into someone’s relationship or a couple of weeks, but it’s that cool moment where it might be something real.
How did you come up with the name, DNCE?
Jo: Another happy accident, (they all giggle) we were trying to come up with endings for a while and each one was either taken or we’d sleep on it and think that isn’t the right band name. So a late night, one eye open trying to text each other to get some ideas, and someone miss-spelt dance and ‘dnce’ was written. We liked the way it sat out, its not perfect, it kind of reminds people of moving and that’s what we want people to do with our music.
So Jo, have you found a lot of your fans have moved with you from the Jonas Brothers to DNCE?
Jo: I’ve definitely seen familiar faces. Although one thing we’ve learned a lot from DNCE is that our music lived before the visuals, so I think we were figuring out who we were before they saw a music video attached to anything. So it was really cool to hear stories about how people found our music. The song, Cake by the Ocean for example was being streamed by Spotify and Apple Music for months before the video came out, so it was kind of special how we got to watch a fan base grow organically.
Yes because you were playing secret shows in New York for a while?
Jo: Yes we did, we were playing a week worth of shows in an underground bar. Its really special to us, we still try and go back to that bar just to reminisce. I think we are going to do another run of shows there hopefully, just to go back to the roots of things.
You’ve all come from experienced musical backgrounds. Jinjoo, you are from Korea and started playing guitar, tell us about that?
Jinjoo: I grew up playing with my siblings and having albums in Korea, so I am used to being in a band. When I was 19 my Mum had the idea for me to go to America alone. At time I wasn’t ready, I was afraid as I couldn’t speak English and I was very comfortable making music with my family back home. But I found some courage and faith and decided to make the trip to a music school in Hollywood. About a year later I did an audition for Jordin Sparks and got the gig. Everything happened accidentally.
Jack, I hear you were in college when you first started playing for The Jonas Brothers.
Jack: Yeah, I was two months into college and I got a call from a friend who were with these guys who said (interpreting a low male American voice) ‘you gotta play with these they’re ganna be huge next year.’ I was like sweet. I met Jo the day before our first gig and we just took off on the road and had no idea what I was getting myself into, it was crazy.
Cole, were you classically trained in piano?
Cole: Yeah I was. I started playing when I was six and my piano teacher lived across the alley from me and she was really cute so I think that’s why I wanted to go every week. As soon as I realized that you got to hang out with chicks if you were in a band I was like ok. I forgot everything I knew about piano and started playing base.
So you’re currently touring, where are you going next and how’s it all going?
Joe: We are going to New York, were up for a music video award for MTV, so we’re going to fingers crossed take something home. Then were doing a couple of TV shows and just announced were doing a couple of shows with Selena Gomez here in the UK, which will be rad. We are planning the rest of the year right now; we have the album coming out for November so that will keep us really busy. We want to continue to tour, that’s where we feel the most confidant. We enjoyed the last six, seven months its been so nice to just stay on the road so hopefully we’ll get a big tour going next year and just sleep on that bus.
So is touring your favorite part to the whole musical process?
Joe: Yeah defiantly.
Cole: The reason why we are alive is to play music to as many people as possible. It’s like a drug for us. Even when we are writing that’s the vision for us, to be playing and to feel the energy.
So you’re performing tonight at the O2 in Islington, what can we expect?
Joe: Well its going to be pretty awesome to be able to play a show here, the last time we played was in a small little bar to kind of just announce the band over here. Now we put this show on sale and it sold out really quickly and so these are heard core fans that are coming out tonight and supporting. We’ve been reading tweets from all over the place to come to the show tonight.
Yes there’s already a queue way down the road outside we saw when we came in!
Jo: Yeah we’re really excited and were playing new songs off the record and a few covers, and making a few special adjustments for this show in particular and we just hope that were leaving with some memories.
Describe the band in one word
If all the records in the world were destroyed, and you could only save one, what would it be?
Jinjoo: Cake by the Ocean (giggles).
Cole: I’d do Matthew McConaughey’s Spoken Word and read by Mathew McConanughy. I don’t know if that exists, but hopefully by then.
Joe:I really like The Matthew McConaughey one… Jack, I need to think about mine.
Jack: Trying to think real answer or silly answer. I’ll go real answer, The White Album by The Beatles.
Joe: I am just going to bring an extra pair of headphones because they all said great answers, I wanna see what they got.