Joe Jonas: DNCE debut album discussed in interview
'It's not too emotional or heavy,' Jonas says
After an initial release date slated for this summer, a few extra production sessions, and an extended tour, Joe Jonas and his dance-rock band — who will take the TODAY stage on Aug. 26 — are finally ready to drop their debut album after months on the road with Selena Gomez (and a cameo in Grease Live!).
Below, Jonas details what to expect from DNCE’s studio album debut, out this fall, which features songs from their first EP SWAAY, including mega-single “Cake by the Ocean.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: As you’ve been touring, which songs have been the best to play?
JOE JONAS: “Cake by the Ocean.” Playing that live, everyone goes insane. Now “Toothbrush” too. It’s cool to see the reaction [because] you would think that they would be a little bit too left for everyone, but it’s cool to see everyone connecting really well, even in the international markets where English isn’t their first language.
What do you mean by “too left”?
Quirky lyrics. We’re proud of that, and [they] showcase who we are as a band. When you read on a sheet “Cake by the Ocean” or “Toothbrush,” it’s kind of jarring.
Were puns and wordplay something you set out to have fun with when you started the band?
It happened naturally. We didn’t have any expectation or allegiance. We were just creating stuff to create. “Cake by the Ocean” could be free and wild, and we didn’t stress too much about having it follow the rules of songwriting. I’m sure other songwriters would peek into the room and be like, “What are they doing?” But we kind of [threw] that out the window, and we’re glad we did.
You were originally planning to release the band’s debut album this summer. Why did you end up pushing it back to October?
“Cake by the Ocean” and “Toothbrush” had been doing really well for us on radio, so we needed more time to focus on [promoting] those. We didn’t want to keep people waiting for too long, so it’s just two more months. We’re playing a lot of the new songs on tour, so we’re able to get feelers of what works and what doesn’t.
Have any of your songs changed as a result?
Some of the songs needed more production, a little bit more, for lack of a better word, oomph.
Most of the album was done in Max Martin’s studio in Los Angeles. Did that give the collection a cohesiveness?
This was the first time in my career that I can say a full album was done in the same place. I think there’s this beach vibe to the album and overall good vibes, good feelings. It’s not too emotional or heavy. There are songs like that here and there but the core of it is pretty loose.
Are there ballads?
Listening to the songs now, do you think it accurately portrays that time frame of your life?
I think it’s a good reflection. I might not be in the same place in my life, or with certain people. I may not be there but I can step in and out emotionally. I can feel a connection to something that helped me. The songs obviously get me through those moments in time.
The album is coming out soon and you’re still on tour. What does the next year look like for DNCE?
A lot more touring. We have a fall tour lined up, then that brings us into the radio shows in the winter. Next year we’re going to try to do a really big international tour. We love that the most, and we always look forward to that.
The TODAY show is teaming up with EW for a backstage pass to the “Citi Concert Series on TODAY” with exclusive Q&A’s in the magazine and on EW.com. Catch DNCE on NBC Aug. 26.