Get to know our locals: Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots are a two piece band from the capital of Ohio that sure have be making a lot of noise. Tyler Joseph on the mic and Josh Dun on drums have created something they are both very proud of with the help of their friends and fans along the way. I had the opportunity to interview and catch Twenty One Pilots play The Underground in Cincinnati, Ohio to a sold out crowd; 300+ kids. It was truly an incredible performance to catch live. I highly encourage everybody that has a chance to see them to do so and move your feet to an introspective beat.

SSP: Hello, how are you today?
Tyler: We’re good!

You guys excited?
Tyler: Yes we are. We really like playing music in front of people. We like playing music in front of no one too; people always make it a little more exciting.

How does it feel to play sold out shows?
Tyler: For me it’s always like, we always thought we would never sell out anything, you know? I always wanted for people to stand at shows, because for shows I played, they were at coffee shops. I thought if I could get people to stand, I could be happy forever and now that people are coming out to jump around and move and experience something, it’s a cool feeling. There’s nothing like it, absolutely nothing like it.
Josh: Same, it’s like, somebody wanting to pay money to come see us do whatever it is that we’re doing is crazy. It’s cool and exciting.

What does your logo stand for?
Tyler: It means Twenty One Pilots, the logo does. Why it means Twenty One Pilots, is it really goes along with one of our songs called “Kitchen Sink.” The whole concept of that song is that I feel that humans are always struggling all the time when it comes to purpose, trying to figure out their purpose is, what purpose even is, what’s the point, justifying your own existence. A lot of kids and people my age struggle with “what’s the point,” and with the logo, what it really means is it’s an encouragement. When someone asks me what the logo means to me, the logo means something to me because I made it mean something to me. That’s the point. The point is that I created something that only I understand and whether or not I decide to disclose the meaning of it, that’s the beginning of purpose for me. The meaning of purpose for me, is by creating something, if it be by writing lyrics, painting a picture, by expressing yourself through art if it’s photography or music or theater, or whatever it is. It doesn’t have to be artistic, but if you create something and only you know the meaning of it, that’s the beginning of purpose for you. When you’re in the room by yourself trying to decide whether to stay alive, you can tell yourself “I should probably stay alive because I’m the only one who knows the meaning of that thing,” so the logo is an encouragement for people to create. That’s what it means.

Any musical or real life influences?
Tyler: The influences question is hard for us to answer because a lot of times we can only think of a few. If we say a few, that’s what you’re going to think of when you listen to our music and Josh and I both listen to a lot of stuff, but at the same time, we don’t digest everything we hear. We don’t make that the reason why we play, because we heard someone else do it. I remember when I sat down with someone to write a song and the first hour of the song writing session were spent looking up bands on the internet and him saying how he “likes this and that.” I don’t understand why people go to references when they want to write songs and create in general. Don’t get me wrong, I’m influenced by everything I hear, but when I decided to write a song, I’m not trying to mimic what I heard before. When you’re done creating that thing you made, you’re going to force yourself to compare it to what it is you heard and it’s never going to be what it is that you want, and you’re going to kill yourself over it.

Why a two piece band?
Tyler: Less crap to deal with, less people you have in your band. With a two piece, it’s just us. We are both up front and there are times in the show where it’s just us doing something. It really pushes us to give everything we have; physically, emotionally, spiritually and give our everything on stage. There came a point when we asked “Do we get a bassist, do we get a guitarist?” We decided to pull it off with just the two of us. Josh is one of those drummers you could just watch play drums. I think drums are things that need to be appreciated and highlighted. We found chemistry that we could only find in a two piece band.

If you could do anything else besides music, what would it be?
Josh: Nothing. Music has been my life since I was twelve. When I started playing, I looked at it as an extreme vision and goal. A different crazy goal that I would like to do is become an astronaut. I always wanted to go to space and explore. I would pursue that if I wasn’t into music, but since I was twelve, I’ve been pursuing music and music only.
Tyler: There’s really no plan B. Plan A is hard and you really got to go for it!

Do you guys like being from Ohio?
Tyler: We love it, we love Ohio. As we grow and influences start to spread, we will always be a local band at heart. We came from nothing in Ohio. I love Ohio, I love Columbus and I love where I’m from. Obviously the weather sucks, but when it starts to get cold, who’s excited for jacket season? I am. I love jacket season.
Josh: Anybody, anywhere, there’s a time where people say that they can’t wait to get out of wherever they are. The more I travel, it makes me realize how much more I love Columbus and where I’m from. I love Ohio and Ohio in general.

Describe each other with one song title.
Tyler: First thing that came to my mind that describes Josh the best is any Dixie Chicks song.
Josh: And the band in general. That describes us in general.
Tyler: The Dixie Chicks, they know everything about us, they love us. We love them.
Josh: “Boys of Summer” by The Ataris would probably be Tyler.
Tyler: A song title that really describes Josh to me is “Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt. When I see Josh play the drums, I picture a tractor and how powerful a tractor is. Man, he plays drums so hard, he’s like an engine. At the same time, it’s not like any tractor. When you see a tractor do tractor stuff, it’s not entertaining. With Josh he’s an entertaining tractor which really stands for “E.T” by Katy Perry.
Josh & Tyler: (Laughs)

Describe your fans with one word.
Tyler: I would say “powerful.” From my angle on stage, I have a powerful thing in front of me: the crowd is powerful. If they’re in the same room or doing their own thing, they all collectively agree on one thing and that’s the band’s message. That’s pretty powerful.
Josh: A word that comes to mind for me is “capable.” I always believed that I could do it. The more we interact with fans that listen to our music, I see that these people are capable of doing whatever they want to do. They’ve been capable of helping us continue doing what we want to do. I think everyone is capable of doing what it is they love to do in life.
Tyler: Like an entertaining tractor!

Photos by Jon Medina

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  1. Krystal Sparks says:

    Such a great interview!! It’s refreshing to get to read a great conducted article that even gets to show off some of their personality. I was cracking up reading their song title answer for each other :D These boys are such an inspiration to a lot of us [the fans]. This show was my first concert so it may seem biased, but their show was beyond amazing; I left with such a buzzing, positive energy and my friend has always said the same (she’s seen them live three times).

    Thanks for getting this out and again, thanks for a great interview!

  2. Tom says:

    This is bbbaaaaaaddddd.

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