If you’re obsessed with ‘Kissing Strangers,’ read on. In this exclusive interview, I catch up with Joe Jonas and Cole Whittle of DNCE to hear about the band’s upcoming tour with Bruno Mars, working with Nicki Minaj, their Undercover Lyft prank, new music and more!
You’d be hard-pressed to find another band right now who brings as much excitement to a live show as DNCE does, and they’re only just getting started. Joe Jonas, Jack Lawless, Cole Whittle, and JinJoo Lee are about to head to South America on tour with none other than Bruno Mars, and I can’t think of a better complement. “We love playing live music and it’s our favorite part of what we do. Once we’re out there, we’re one wild animal together,” Joe tells me of the group’s boundless energy, “We bounce off each other.” I’ve been seeing these guys live for a few years now, and I can confirm that there is a sufficient amount of bouncing that goes on.
And what about a followup to this spring’s earworm, “Kissing Strangers?” “We’re always working on music,” Joe hints. “We have a handful of songs we’re excited about. If we like something that we feel will connect with our fanbase, we’ll put it out, like a little gift.” Well, I’m greedy, and I want a Christmas morning’s worth of presents, okay? But we’ll have to be patient, because as Joe says: “No talks yet about an album. But we are constantly creating.”
Here’s the rest of our interview, which has been edited and condensed for clarity:
I feel like “Kissing Strangers” is a great sequel to “Cake By The Ocean.”
Joe Jonas: Working with Nicki Minaj was definitely the highlight for us. In the back of our minds when we were writing it, we felt like there should be an addition to the song, and she responded so well. We were so pumped to have her on the song. It’s definitely our jam right now.
Which one of you plays Nicki when you perform it live?
Joe: Cole actually does the Nicki rap live! He does her justice.
Cole Whittle: Yeah, we love doing it live.
Who do you want to collaborate with next?
Cole: We’re big fans of different legends. Outkast is one we’ve always had our minds on. Or, there’s nothing to say that Bon Jovi can’t come in and drop a hot sixteen on us.
Joe: We’ll take it back to our roots.
So you’ve started writing more music…
Joe: We’re trying to plan a writing camp trip with some friends of ours and go to one of our favorite cities. Do some songwriting, zone out, work on the music and get inspired.
And for the few songs you have already, what do they sound like? Are you taking a different direction at all?
Joe: We’re best at kind of flying by the seat of our pants. If we have an idea and it sounds different than what we’ve done before, we run with it. But we’re always comfortable in a “garage” phase, like disco funk, and that’s always where we end up.
How do you keep your live show dynamic?
Joe: We try to always bring something to each city, whether it’s change the setlist or add new cover songs, and make it something that people want to go back and see again. We’re happy to put out songs, but the live show is what it comes down to.
You guys always seem like you have so much fun. I want to talk about that Lyft prank.
Joe: It was such a blast. It was funny because personally, I wore a hat. I don’t think I’ve worn a hat in 16 years. We dressed up like dorks and some people knew it right away, and some people hadn’t heard of our band. They were like, “I don’t know your dumb band!” That’s part of the fun.
How’s it feel to be going on tour with Bruno Mars?
Joe: Not only will it be a thrill because he’s a great tour mate, but it will be our first proper tour in South America. We’ve been dying to make our way to South America. We have a lot of fans down there and it will be a special experience to play these shows and see them. Bruno in general is an amazing artist live. He’s the total package.
Definitely. How about more headline dates after that?
Joe: Yeah, we want to do a lot of new tour dates. We’ve been booking shows like crazy, we’re all over the place, and that’s part of the fun. We have a show coming up in Alaska and it’ll be our first trip there. After that, Jack [Lawless], Cole and I will have been to every state in America!
Who would you love to tour with?
Cole: We’d love to go out with a curveball, like a rapper or a classic rock band. The fun thing about DNCE is that we do a bunch of different stuff and none of it makes sense together. We can probably go out with anybody and have a good time.
Joe, what can we expect when you co-host the iHeartRadio MMVAs with Alessia Cara on June 18?
Joe: It’s going to be a blast. I’ve been able to be a part of the show throughout my life and to go back and co-host it, it’s going to be sick! I’m looking forward to getting up there and working with Alessia. We’ve toured with her. I’m going to open the comedy side a little bit. We’re going to perform as well. They do this huge stage outside and the audience is always amazing.
Joe: I think the five-year plan is just ride this wave. We want to release way more music throughout the year and go on a bigger tour, a world tour that takes us around for 6 or 7 months. Eventually we want to play on the moon and be everyone’s favorite band on the moon.