From left, Jack Lawless, Joe Jonas, JinJoo and Cole Whittle are DNCE. (Courtesy Emily Shur)

Joe Jonas breaks out with DNCE


With his family band The Jonas Brothers, Joe Jonas had a Disney Channel series and sold over 17 million albums. So he found it frustrating and confusing when his 2011 solo debut “Fastlife” didn’t immediately catch fire. “I beat myself up a lot because I was so used to this huge success with the Brothers, and because things wouldn’t work instantly,” he says. He took more than two years to carefully plot his next move: DNCE, a playful funk-pop quartet featuring himself on vocals, Korean guitarist JinJoo (who backed Jordin Sparks), ex-Semi Precious Weapons bassist-keyboardist Cole Whittle, and former Jonas drummer Jack Lawless. Its first single “Cake By the Ocean,” from the EP “Swaay,” just hit shelves.


Your brother Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato are launching their own label, to help young artists who feel too vulnerable to record honest songs. Did you go through that?

Joe Jonas: Yeah, definitely. There was a phase, I think, of probably growing up too fast, and some of the lyrics you write maybe don’t match the label you’re with at the time, or, uh, the company that you work with. So I can relate, for sure. Working with my brothers, we would write songs about really personal things, and you’re ready to release them. But sometimes you just had to wait it out.

So how does it feel to sing “Go f—ing crazy” in “Cake”?

Jonas: Ha! I guess you could say it felt good. But more so, it just came through writing the song – when you’re just in it, sometimes you don’t even realize what you’re writing. You just go for it.

And JinJoo, you first met The Jonas Brothers a few years ago, when Jordin Sparks was their opening act?

JinJoo: Yes. I came to L.A. about 10 years ago, and I went to this music school where they did auditioning once in awhile. So the first time I played an audition, I got the callback, then a second, third and final callback. Then they called my name, and Jordin Sparks came up and said, “Congratulations!” I had accidentally become her lead guitar player. And on tour, he introduced himself, but at the time I couldn’t speak any English. So all I could say was, “Hi! My name is JinJoo! Nice to meet you!”

Joe, what was your reaction?
Jonas: I remember early on, my dad telling me, “You guys are going to freak out! Wait ‘til you see this girl play guitar!” And meeting her, I thought, “Oh, she’s really nice and really sweet.” And then I saw her play guitar, and I was like, “Holy s—! This girl can really rip!” I was blown away.


IF YOU GO

DNCE
with Powers
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26
Tickets: $20 to $22
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com

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