You’ll almost certainly have heard DNCE’s huge debut single ‘Cake By The Ocean’, and you may know they’re fronted by former Jonas Brothers singer Joe Jonas. But who exactly are this chart-conquering four-piece and what are they about? We sat down with Joe and bandmates Jack Lawless and Cole Whittle (sadly fourth member JinJoo Lee was stuck in bed with tour lurgy) to get the lowdown on DNCE.
How did the band come together?
Joe: “I’ve known Jack and JinJoo for over 10 years and we’ve always talked about starting a band together. In the past we’ve come up with all sorts of band names like Tick Jack Joe, C Minus, Butt Heavy…”
Jack: “Joe would call me up every six months and say, ‘We’re doing this.’ I’d be like, ‘Is this really happening?’ And this time it actually did.”
Joe: “JinJoo was on the road with Charli XCX so there was some logistical stuff to figure out, but she said yes straight away. And I met Cole through a mutual friend who I was writing songs with, Justin Tranter. They were in the band Semi Precious Weapons together.”
Cole: “I feel like the four of us crashed into each other at the right time. We’re supposed to be DNCE. This is the only way it could be.”
How did you guys come up with the band name? After rejecting “Butt Heavy”, of course.
Cole: “We were were all texting each other one night and someone misspelled the word “dance”. And I dunno, it was kind of a Eureka moment. It seemed right because it’s imperfect and there’s something fun and imperfect about us as a band.”
How would you describe the DNCE sound?
Cole: “I think it’s like disco-funk hits as played by a really cool garage band. We’re into funk bands like Sly and the Family Stone, The Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind and Fire. But we’re also rock ’n’ roll kids so Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Jane’s Addiction are all influences. Those two sounds coming together is what we’re about. We have a rock ‘n’ roll attitude but we kind of play funk.”
What’s the story behind ‘Cake By The Ocean’? It’s not really about cake, is it?
Joe: “We were working with some producers from Sweden and they kept telling us this story about having cake by the ocean. I was like, ‘Are you guys talking about sex on the beach?’ They were like, ‘Well, yeah.’ After having writers’ block in the studio all week, we wrote this song in like 10 minutes flat with Justin Tranter. It could mean the actual act of having sex by the ocean, or it could mean eating pastries by the boardwalk. It’s whatever you want it to be. We think of it as a party anthem for any occasion.”
Do you think people know what it’s really about?
Joe: “When I see my mom singing it, that’s a little weird…”
Cole: “In some kitchen somewhere there’s probably a sweet Grandma thinking it’s about the cake she’s going to bake later that day. But that’s beautiful because it’s kind of about that too.”
When can we expect to hear your album?
Joe: “Because ‘Cake By The Ocean’ has been so huge, we’ve had to push back our next single and the album. Which is an awesome problem to have. We want to share our music with the world, but this gives us more time to add new songs and perfect everything. I still feel like we’re evolving as a band even daily.”
Jack: “We’re mostly done with the album, but we’re aiming for a late-August release.”
Finally, what do you want DNCE to stand for?
Cole: “If you see us on stage, we’re running around like crazy people. At our shows we don’t want anyone worrying about what people think of them or what they’re wearing or how they’re dancing. The nature of the band is just a really carefree view of the world. So far I think we’ve attracted every kind of person to our shows and that’s the greatest crowd you can have. “
DNCE’s debut EP ‘Swaay’ is out now