Sunday, June 24, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Interview: Jingle Ball's Joe Jonas tastes second-round success with DNCE

It's been one heck of a year for Joe Jonas.

After an unsuccessful stint going solo, the ex-Jonas Brother is hitting a serious stride as the frontman for pop-funk band DNCE, a reinvention of sorts for the former Disney phenomenon.

The band picked up a Best New Artist win at this year's MTV Video Music Awards, had a summer smash hit and released a self-titled debut album. Jonas and drummer Jack Lawless, guitarist JinJoo Lee and bassist Cole Whittle will play the Jingle Ball at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday. It should be a piece of Cake (by the Ocean) for Jonas, 27, who is no stranger to the holiday tour.

The concert, with a free pre-show outside, is one of 12 iHeartMedia Jingle Balls around the country. Tampa's lineup includes Pitbull, Fifth Harmony, the Chainsmokers, Lukas Graham, Daya, Martin Garrix and Jon Bellion.

Jonas, on-brand with his band's positive message and up-beat funky vibes, couldn't help but stay happy while talking about his new musical venture and Round 2 at viral success.

Congratulations on your Best New Artist win. How does that feel?

Feels great. We've had quite a few nominations recently. It's been a fun and incredible year and I'm just glad it's still going.

You've known Jack, Cole and JinJoo for years. But what's the biggest difference between working with family versus working with friends?

I think probably the biggest difference with family is that you can be brutally honest at times when it comes to songwriting. We always ended up figuring out ways to balance the writing process, but there would be days when all I wanted to write was a happy song and all Nick wanted was a sad song. And sometimes there would be too many cooks in the kitchen. With DNCE, we don't have as much compromising. We're just having a blast during that process and taking every second to enjoy it.

And how does Tampa stack up to other Jingle Balls around the country?

I would say it's definitely going to be a warm holiday. It's fun because you go to all these freezing cold cities, then with Tampa you can go to the beach before if you want to — before a holiday show — which is always interesting.

Now that you've done a number of Jingle Ball gigs, how do you feel about the format? Do you feel like it still works? Or is it getting a little stale?

Honestly, I really do love it. I think it's kind of nice just have this amazing artist community come together and play a show. And it works because it's different from what you're used to. You get to celebrate a year, particularly with artists you don't get to see together unless you're at an award show. You'll finish one show and then be like, "Okay, see you tomorrow."

Anyone in particular you're excited to share the stage with?

Our friend JoJo is playing a couple of the shows. She's so talented and it's always good to see her. And Niall (Horan) is playing a few Jingle Balls and I love that new song he's got out there.

DNCE is known for doing a lot interesting covers, but now you have a full album to pull from. Can Jingle Ball guests still expect a cover or a Christmas jam?

Oh, definitely. We're going to bring up a couple Christmas songs just for fun. It's always fun to see those crowds sing along to a Christmas or holiday song, mainly because it's pretty easy to remember the words. And since we have so many new songs, the audience being able to sing all together with us is great.

Speaking of new songs, that EP was a great taste of DNCE, but you guys really took your time putting out the full album. What was the thought behind that decision?

Some songs needed that time for us to be able to ease into them and watch how they kind of unfolded. We grew a lot as artists and people and songwriters. I think it was released at the right time. But there were moments when I would forget that the music wasn't out, since we were constantly touring with the music. I'm just really thrilled to have it out there in the world. I think it was a year in the making, which was good for the writing and recording process to really have that time to make sure it was the sound I wanted it to be.

I'm sure you can look back at some of your phases and laugh at yourself. What's your most cringeworthy moment?

I've had a few fun memories, probably some hairdos that I look back and laugh on. Like, what was I thinking?

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