joe jonas and his band talk current affairs

Fuelled by enough Cake By The Ocean to last a lifetime, DNCE are taking their energetic live show global.

by Francesca Dunn
27 April 2016, 11:41pm

Joe Jonas (singer, formally of multi-platinum selling Jonas Brothers fame), Cole Whittle (bassist, strong hair cut), JinJoo Lee (guitarist, female badass) and Jack Lawless (drums, awesome surname) are DNCE. You might remember them from that Gigi Hadid-directed, Fat Jewish-starring music video where they perform next to a giant Cake By The Ocean. In London for a day full of press and time spent cosying up to Robb Stark on a popular Friday night chat show, we caught up with the band - minus a sick JinJoo - as they prepare to tour their debut Swaay EP with Selena Gomez. Over a table of candy, we discuss topical issues such as the new season of Game of Thrones, the US election, Prince's death and the never-not-relevant Nicolas Cage...

Do you guys remember the first time you met?
Joe: I first met Jack on thanksgiving in the States. A mutual friend said he'd be a great drummer and he just showed up - his mum dropped him off with his backpack and his drums and me and my brothers interrogated him.

Like on The Walking Dead when they vet people before letting them join the crew.
Joe: 100%.
Cole: I met them the same day actually. One of my best friends introduced me to Joe and I showed up at the studio and we looked at each other and we were like two dogs that pass each other in the street and sniff each other and then their tails start wagging and ten minutes later they're best friends and talking about doing karate in the basement together. And then Jack came in and he was the chillest dude ever and all of a sudden we were best friends. I think that's how great bands start.

And which fictional crew would you say you're most like?
Cole: X-men.
Joe: Or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Cole: And probably a bit of Powerpuff Girls too… a crossover.

All strong choices. So you guys are based in LA, right?
Joe: We're based in suitcases pretty much… but Cole lives in Brooklyn and we're in Los Angeles.

And looks like you were at Coachella last weekend?
Joe: We played a party and it was awesome. It's a pretty overwhelming festival, always a lot going on, but we had a great time.

What's your go-to DNCE move?
Cole: There's this video of a golden retriever online and he's in his dog yard and he does this little side to side head thing and then starts bouncing so me and Joe like to do that in the club. We take inspiration from dogs in general.
Jack: I'd say mine is probably the awkward head bob.

With your single Cake By The Ocean, you must be over all of the cake-themed press that you've had to do? 
Joe: Yeah, it's usually at least one piece of cake a day, which isn't too bad. We thought we'd be getting a lot of fan cake gifts…

Which is surely quite scary - you don't know what they're putting in there…
Joe: Yeah, you have to be very careful. But there are definitely worse things that you could be sent.
Jack: It's nice that people care enough to bring a cake to be honest. It's kind of cool.

The music video was directed by Gigi Hadid, who I didn't realise was into directing… how did that come about?
Cole: We knew her already and she worked on it with our friends Black Coffee, these young weird crazy fraternity kids who turned out to be brilliant filmmakers. So they made it together and i think aesthetically, it was a great representation of a huge cake on the beach.

It was!
Joe: Yeah, the treatment wasn't that complex...

I mean, why overcomplicate things? Next up came Pay My Rent... has a love interest ever paid your rent before?
All: No!
Cole: Oh actually, yes! Absolutely. Years of it. I just forgot about it.

Always handy. So are you guys into UK music?
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. I grew up on Oasis, The Verve…
Jack: Ever since the Arctic Monkeys came out I've been obsessed with them. They're stuff is greats.
Joe: 1975, they're from here, right? They're doing really well. I like when they do covers.

Joe, your brother collaborated with Stormzy last year… you guys won't be going down the grime route then?
Joe: That'd be rad… I think as we spend more time here and get to know more UK music it'd definitely be cool to collaborate more.

You've been known to cover Kiss in your live shows… what did Prince's death mean to you?
Cole: I think just as musicians and fans of people who are awesome and change the world with their personal style, we're sad. It was the same with David Bowie, you know? These pioneers are eternal; they've made so many things to make people happy and excited and fall in love with art. That's what we focus on.
Joe: Kiss has been fun to play for the past few months but now it's gonna be a bit more emotional… but like Cole said, his legacy is going to live on forever.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were sixteen?
Cole: Nothing, because every single mistake or thing that kind of sucked led us to being here together.
Joe: I'd probably just wanna know who's gonna win a sporting event that I bet on with my brothers. And I'd just keep winning.

Like in Back to the Future! Now back to the future of the United States; what's your take on the current political situation?
Joe: I think it's definitely entertaining and a little scary… to be honest we just try to focus on the music, as cliche as it sounds. It's obviously a major concern but at the end of the day, we still get to be musicians.
Cole: If we wanted to see a circus, we'd just go to the real circus…

Good point. But you agree that it's important for young people to vote if old enough and to understand what's happening?
Joe: Absolutely. I think it's important to have an opinion and vote. And you know, young people are changing the world so they could be the ones that make sure the right person gets in the right place.

And will you be voting yourselves?
Joe: Yes.

For secret candidates?
Cole: Well, Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… he's the dark horse.
Jack: He hasn't been announced yet, but when he does!
Cole: Free pizza and skateboards for everybody!

I'm sure you've all grown up with and around a lot of famous people, but has there ever been anybody that you've admired so much you've asked for an autograph from or a selfie with?
Joe: There've been a few people that I've tried to get pictures with for other people, like, my brother would like this person or something… actually yesterday we were on Graham Norton with the guy that plays Robb Stark from Game of Thrones and we were geeking out. We got a photo with him, so we'll frame that for the tour bus!

You're big Game of Thrones fans then?
Jack: Cole and I have only seen the first couple of seasons but Joe loves it.

I see. And who's your favourite character?
Joe: Jon Snow's pretty amazing.

Do you think he's alive or dead?
Joe: I think he's dead but I think he's gonna come back to life. I think bad magic is gonna bring him back.

I think you're probably right. What's the last dream that you remember having?
Jack: It wasn't a dream, but last night I woke up and started to get ready at three in the morning because I thought it was time to go. I was just staring at the door like, what am I doing?!
Cole: Joe always has these dreams where he's on some cool mission. But a day ago he woke up too fast and couldn't remember the mission but knew that it had been really awesome.
Joe: Oh yeah, I tried to get back to sleep to continue it but it didn't work out.

Cole, do you not have dream missions?
Cole: Well my mission is just to be awesome… I'm trying so hard. I had some weird dream where a hot girl was riding a bike with cheesecakes stacked up high and there were way too many and I kept on waiting for it to fall but it didn't.

Wow, the cakes are infiltrating your dream state. Anyway, finally, what movie do you think Sway would best soundtrack?
Joe: Probably National Treasure… definitely something with late Cage.

You just wanna see him moving around to your sound…
Joe: Yeah, with his big old body.

Game of Thrones
Joe Jonas
Gigi Hadid
music interviews
cake by the ocean