Jonas Brothers are opening up about feeling limited in the early years of their career.
“I don’t feel as frustrated now as I did then,” Joe, 29, says of their time signed to Disney, where they made movies like “Camp Rock” and had successful singles. “We were having to censor ourselves, I think any artist could relate. That’s not fun. We were at a standstill with our TV show and the movies. We were young adults, having to pretend like we’re young teenagers.”
Despite the quasi-identity crisis at the time, Joe adds that complaining about their Disney days is “such a weird mindset to get into, because we have Disney to thank for so much, they got us started in our career.”
“It was sort of a rocket ship to the moon during that time. When Disney played our video for ‘Year 3000’, everything changed. It all started to happen when Disney got on board. Our years doing ‘Camp Rock’ and TV shows were really formative,” Nick, 26, agrees. “… [Those years] are a major part of our story and a big way that our fans connect with us and continue to today.”
“Before this becomes an indictment of Disney and Disney culture, I think it’s important to say that, though we felt limited at times, bottom line, Disney was really good for us; really good training wheels for anybody that wants to become a musician or entertainer, as far as work ethic and all the rest,” Nick continues, adding that they don’t consider themselves “defined” by their Disney years. “There was a balance to it all, and we could have had it a lot worse.”
As fans of the brothers likely know at this point, Nick initiated their split back in 2013 to pursue a solo career, but was also the one to suggest a reunion when he began playing Jonas Brothers songs at his shows to great response.
“We lost touch with what we wanted to say, because we were trying so hard to say something different from what we said in the past, musically and creatively,” Nick explains of their split. “We understood that our level of success and fame had reached a point, where our musicianship and writing and performing abilities needed time to grow and catch up to it.”
The reunion was finalized when they began filming their upcoming Amazon documentary, “Chasing Happiness” — which will hit the platform June 4 — and let go of all the baggage they had held on to from their breakup years prior.
“[We had] the kind [of conversations] probably only brothers can have without wanting to throw a table at each other,” Kevin, 31, says of their cathartic pre-reunion talk, which, he promises, are “in the doc, and they’re heavy.”
“The choice to do this wasn’t out of need, it was more, ‘This is something we really want to do together,'” Kevin adds.
Nick agrees, saying that the reunion is “all about having fun” and making sure that they “take what we do seriously, but don’t take ourselves seriously.” The guys plan to accomplish this by both embracing their past and looking to the future.
“It really took the last six, seven years to figure out who we were as people and what kind of music we wanted to make,” Nick says. “… If we had continued to try to push things forward the way we were operating, it might have been difficult. Perhaps we would have had to make bolder statements… shocked people into understanding who we are. I think the world is more accepting of us as adults than they would have been if we insisted, ‘This is who we are now, accept us.'”
As for their new album, Happiness Begins, which will debut June 7, Nick promises there’s both new and old — with everything including what the magazine describes as “one trap beat and one yeehaw moment” — as they try and “bottle happiness” and put out “positive vibes to the world.”
“We had a real sense that it was important for us to stay authentic to who we are,” Nick says. “When you go back and and listen to Jonas Brothers records, they’re written and produced as rock and roll records. That doesn’t mean that we can’t try out other sounds, or go on a journey to get there.”
The comeback is already successful, with “Sucker” hitting the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, a feat the guys had never before accomplished.
“The best part of this go around is the fact that those fans have lived with our records for so many years that they’re part of their lives, and they’re really meaningful to them,” Nick says. “We can feel that energy.”
“It’s been incredible, being back together after the longest time apart and spending this amount of time together in the studio, not to mention actually announcing this stuff and the response to the music,” Kevin agrees. “It’s been so overwhelming and so exciting. It means so much to us to be able to do this again as brothers.”