Pictured (from left): Joe, Kevin, and Nick Jonas | Photography by Kai Z Feng
What does a boy band do when it grows up? When I met the Jonas Brothers in early September at the Dream Downtown in New York, the question seemed to weigh heavily on their minds. Busy prepping the release of their fifth studio album, V, they were eager to discuss their artistic intent in shaping the sound on their first album as a band in four years — their first since departing from Disney-backed label Hollywood Records — as well as their transition to adulthood, which has seen them pursuing solo careers with varying degrees of success.
On the release of “First Time,” the band’s first single and video since 2009
Joe Jonas: We had planned a big, elaborate video, but the song leaked, so we had to think of a way to make a video in a short span of time. Nick was on his way to host the Miss USA pageant in Vegas, so we figured, let’s shoot a video in Vegas and fly in all of our friends. We spent the money we had for the video to throw a party and film it. People assume that we’re still these young kids. It shows us all as adults having a good time and enjoying ourselves.
On taking time off to focus on solo projects
Kevin Jonas: For seven years, it was nonstop. We had moments where we got frustrated with one another and we really just needed time alone. You can imagine what it’s like for a band to be together all the time, but imagine if they’re family, too. Taking that break was so nice because we worked our asses off, but we did things for ourselves. Then, we came back at the right time to do this all over again.
On Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance
Joe: [Hesitates] It wasn’t my favorite performance of hers. I think that there’s one way of saying you’ve grown up, and there’s another way — I think that’s her way. Look, people are talking about it, so I think it’s working for what she wants.
Nick Jonas: She’s smart. She’s very smart. We’ve always known that about her. She’ll always be successful. [The performance] was funny — I was laughing.
SLIDESHOW: 6 PHOTOS OF JONAS BROTHERS
Nick: Something we’ve been more comfortable with this go-round, rather than three or four years ago, is being more opinionated.
Joe: You get to this point where you can’t live your life trying to satisfy everybody, personally or as a musician. Somebody’s going to find something negative. So we were like, Let’s just be who we are and have opinions — whether it’s on politics or music — and really show who we are as people.
Kevin: With being able to take back masters of our songs and become our own bosses in a way, we have a lot of people hearing new stuff, and maybe they have had misconceptions in the past of who we are as a band. At the end of the day, I think people are surprised to know that we’re a rock band at our core. Things have started to shift where people are starting to feel the passion behind the art that we’re doing.
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On those gay rumors
Joe: We have a lot of gay friends and gay fans. It’s a boy band stereotype; people assume, but we don’t take offense.
Nick: Prior to us being a band, I was a super theater geek. I loved theater and I still do, and I care about fashion, and I care about a lot of things that I feel like stereotypes are attached to.
Joe: [Being in Out] is a moment for us for sure. We keep saying, “Well, it’s about time.”
SLIDESHOW: 6 PHOTOS OF JONAS BROTHERS
On leaving their label, Hollywood Records
Nick: I think we realized that, creatively, we were in very different places.
Joe: We were in that place where we were starting to think about being able to make our grown-up record. We didn’t want to talk about if they would put a parental advisory label on it.
On heeding Demi Lovato’s [who dated Joe Jonas] call for a moratorium on twerking
Joe: I’m great [with twerking]. I’m with it.
Nick: I’m against it. I’ve just reached my limit. It’s just done. It’s too much.
Joe: Bring it on. I’m a fan. I just think it’s appropriate for the right people. Not everyone can twerk.
Nick: Anybody that’s on Diplo’s page — have you seen his Instagram? It’s impressive.
Kevin: I’m straight down the middle. The right amount at the right time.