Formed on the plains of Columbus, Ohio, the alternative duo that is Twenty-One Pilots has been rocking the stage with the drums, voice, and ukulele and/or piano combination since 2009. The band’s members that are still together today consist of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. The interesting name was influenced by an Arthur Miller play, All My Sons, in which the main character suffers with a moral dilemma when he finds himself responsible for the death of twenty-one pilots during World War II. This idea of moral quandary is what inspired its’ name and much of the lyrics as Josh explained to us. The boys’ style can be described as a string of genres that are tied together in a knot of unhinged beats.
Their first two albums were self-released – one self-named in 2009 and the other, Regional at Best in 2011. Fueled by Ramen (a subsidiary label of Warner Music Group) signed the duo in 2012 and their first album under the label, Vessel, was released just last year. The group is most known for its hit Holding Onto You, which hit #11 on the Billboard Alternative Song charts. House of Gold has also gained popularity after they performed it live on Conan for their late night debut; the video is now also available on YouTube.
Now Twenty One Pilots comes to Stockholm for their very first time in the Swedish capital with their sound complimenting the mysterious and foggy weather that his come over our shores. We had a chance to chat with drummer Josh Dun to know more on what Twenty-One Pilots is all about…
What do you define your sound or style as?
There were times where you could tell what kind of music a person listens to by body language, the way they talk or the way they dress. 10 years ago everyone had a specific genre they listened to. In present times people have become broader with their music taste. Everyone doesn’t necessarily have only one style or sound that they love.
We were exposed to a lot of different music as young kids. When I was a teenager I always wanted to make music that incorporated all these different styles that I liked. That’s what we wanted to do – put all these different sounds together. Particularly with the drum I find it so amazing how different beats of the drums can create all these different styles of sound. That’s what we try to explore. We want to create something that people haven’t heard before.
But if I had to give a definitive answer I would go with the bridge between alternative-pop. A writer once called us “schizophrenic pop.” I always liked that. We don’t want to pigeon hole ourselves into a certain category. We hope we appeal to fans of all different styles.
Some say your poetic lyrics have many religious references. Is this something you’ve done on purpose?
To be honest, Tyler is the lyric writer because he’s just so naturally gifted at it, but we’ve had a lot of the same experiences. We both grew up in religious homes and that’s our back ground so it’s natural for it to be a part of our lyrics. But I think our lyrics go beyond that – they are very purposeful and are about relationships, life, inner struggle, morals, etc. I think songs are a great outlet for things that are often uncomfortable to speak about with other people.
Will you be playing any new songs at the gig tonight?
No, it will only be songs that have been previously released. In my personal opinion I don’t really like when bands play things that the audience hasn’t heard before. It kind of breaks the connection with the band. We want people to always feel a part of the show so we don’t want to play things that people don’t know. But some people may have not heard all our stuff that’s out so they may get a new experience anyway!
How do you feel about being in Stockholm for the first time?
I know I speak for the both of us when I say how crazy it is to know our music has reached over oceans and reached out to people in places we’ve never been before. I’m very excited but a little bit of intimated because you never know how a crowd will respond but we’re really honored to be here and we know we’ll give Stockholm all that we’ve got.
Words by Angela Markovic
Twenty-One Pilots will be at Fryshuset on January 4.
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