The following feature appears in the December/January 2017 issue of NYLON.
One month and one day before the November 18 release of their eponymous debut album, DNCE are huddled together in Manhattan’s Root Studios. Since releasing their debut single, “Cake by the Ocean,” in September of 2015, they’ve been moving nonstop, hopping around the United States and Europe for a string of headline shows and opening performances for Selena Gomez’s Revival tour, infecting small towns and big cities alike with their own brand of funk. Now, the four-piece band—composed of frontman Joe Jonas, bassist-keyboardist Cole Whittle, guitarist JinJoo, and drummer Jack Lawless—finally has a chance to sit down, but not for long. In an hour, they’ll head to a photo shoot and then straight to their album release party, where they’ll finally play DNCE for friends, family, and label execs. In the greater scheme of their lives, and possibly the pop-music landscape, it’s the calm before the storm.
“When I listen to it, I think of it like a house party,” says Whittle of the album. “You go in and you walk around, and you go into all the different rooms. Some of them are dark and sexy, some of the rooms are crazy, and some of the rooms have locked doors and some real stuff going on inside.”
Adds Jonas: “It’s a feel-good record that has some quirky lyrics, and may bring you back to an era of music that you grew up with or your parents played in the house.” DNCE melds sonic elements from the last 50 years, from ‘70s funk to ‘90s pop. Similarly so, the band’s cited influences—Hall & Oates, Earth, Wind & Fire, Weezer, Led Zeppelin, and Prince—are across the board.
The one constant, though, is that their music will compel you to jump around (or, at the very least, sway from side to side). And that’s exactly what has led to their instant appeal. “Last year around this time, the music was just starting to connect,” says Jonas, recalling the virtually overnight success of the band’s first single. “We all kind of felt it. We weren’t even sure what the lyrics meant, but the world seemed to react to it. People were falling in love with the music before the band.”
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From left, on Jonas: jacket by No. 21, jeans by J Brand, sneakers by Nike; on JinJoo: tops by A.L.C., skirt by coach 1941, shoes by Christian Louboutin, earrings by Vita Fede; on Whittle: shirt by Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh, tank top by Sacai, shorts by Gypsy Sport, sneakers and socks by Vans, all jewelry Whittle’s own; on Lawless: top by Louis Vuitton, t-shirt by John Elliott, pants by DSQUARED2, sneakers by Vans.