Interview: Twenty One Pilots on 'Blurryface', touring, and new music.
Twenty One Pilots really need no introduction - having sold out their past two visits to New Zealand, the latest of which being at Vector Arena - it goes without saying that most New Zealanders are familiar with the duo, made up of Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun.
In our brief catch-up with the two, we managed discuss the depth of their album, ‘Blurryface’, while simultaneously gifting them with candy leis - they lamented, "It’s hard to talk about 'Goner', while thinking about pineapple lumps…”.
We spoke to Twenty One Pilots about new music, humanity, as well as played a game with them in which we discovered Tyler’s favourite Celine Dion lyric, and much more…
"I was attracted to songwriting from the beginning because of what it did for me, it helped a lot."
COUP DE MAIN: Your latest album 'Blurryface' deals with an array of emotions - specifically surrounding the human psyche of anxiety. Do you think that fear is the strongest human emotion?
TYLER JOSEPH: I’m sorry, I have a rope of candy around my neck and I’m drawing myself-- yeah, I think that fear is definitely a force to be reckoned with, so, it’s something that is a focus of a lot of the content that I like to mess around with.
CDM: On 'Lane Boy', you say: "But I know a thing or two about pain and darkness / If it wasn’t for this music I don’t know how I would have fought this." Do you find music a therapeutic outlet for dealing with what’s going on inside your head?
TYLER: Yeah, that’s a very accurate way of describing it. I was attracted to songwriting from the beginning because of what it did for me, it helped a lot. That lyric, I still stand by it.
CDM: The closing track on the album, 'Goner', has been around since 2012 - but in a simpler form, without the second verse. Was there a specific moment where you realised you needed to have 'Goner' on the record, and did you write that second verse with that in mind?
TYLER: Yeah, 'Goner' was definitely the oldest song on the record, because it was an idea that was hanging around for a while and I knew I wanted to release, but I actually had several albums-- like through ‘Vessel’ and ‘Blurryface’, I had the chance to release it and just never got around to, not got around to, attempted, for many hours and days trying to figure out how this thing should end and what it should feel like. It was actually the last song that we recorded on ‘Blurryface’ and it barely made the cut - if we ran out of a couple of more studio days we probably wouldn’t have had that song on the record, that’s how close it was. But yeah, I think it is exactly what it needs to be now and I’m glad that it made it because it’s almost like I finally can just get rid of that thing that had been, in a sense... Not to be too dramatic, but it kind of felt like it was haunting me for a couple years where, "I gotta finish this," and Josh obviously was like, “I can’t wait for that thing to be done man,” because it was something that we both really liked.
CDM: Josh, obviously Tyler is the lyricist/lead-singer in the band, but do you also have a hand in helping him with songwriting? How does the process work between you two when creating music?
JOSHUA DUN: Obviously!
TYLER: Obviously… I’m the lead singer. I just wanna make sure that was clear.
JOSH: No, that’s obvious.
TYLER: Did you catch that?
JOSH: Yeah, I got that. I kind of just cheer him on, pretty much for everything, and then that’s kind of-- I feel like, my role, and I feel good about it.
OUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT EACH OTHER IS…
CDM: In 'The Judge', you say, "Shaking hands with the dark parts of my thoughts." Do you think it’s important to come to terms and acknowledge the darker side of humanity - a side that is so often ignored and swept under the rug?
TYLER: I wouldn’t use the word humanity, because I’m not in any way trying to pinpoint this broad thing that is happening all over the world. I know what’s going on in here and that’s it, and that’s all I’ve ever claimed to know. So with me, yes, I do feel like that question/statement holds true and it can be tough to go down that road. It’s almost like everyone knows it exists but you almost would rather just leave it alone, and as you get older actually, and I don’t mean like become an adult or whatever, I’m talking about weeks go by and you’re getting older, that road becomes more and more easier to ignore. So, music has kept that alive, to know that it’s still an option to go down there, and keeping some sort of rope behind you so that you can make your way back and not lose yourself. But it can’t be helped to go down there, you just can’t stay down there all the time.
HOW WE FEEL ABOUT BEING IN NEW ZEALAND…
CDM: You wrote ‘Blurryface’ while on the road and playing live shows around the world. Have you been writing new music on the road at the moment?
TYLER: Yes. We’re always working on something. We don’t know exactly what it’s gonna be and what the story is gonna be yet, but live music inspires us, so when we get to play in front of audiences every night, it’s like, “What else can we show them? What else can we make, to give to them to see what they do with?” They’re inspiring.
TWENTY ONE PILOTS x COUP DE MAIN…
Twenty One Pilots’ album ‘Blurryface’ is out now - click here to purchase.
Watch the ‘Heathens’ music video below…