Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots

Gavyn Bailey

"Lean with it, rock with it, When we gonna stop with it, Lyrics that mean nothing, we were gifted with thought, Is it time to move our feet to an introspective beat, It ain't the speakers that bump hearts, it's our hearts that make the beat."
—from Holding on to You

Twenty One Pilots photo by Kara Marsh

The duo that is twenty one pilots - Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun - not only bring everything they've got to each of their electrifying stage performances, but engage their young audiences in such a way that they move as a single organism, singing along to all the lyrics they've memorized by heart. And it is, indeed, heart that makes the beat at a Twenty One Pilots concert.

Though Tyler plays piano for most of their music, which has been described as a "distinctive fusion of piano-driven schizoid pop and lyrical uplift", he plays a Luna ukulele on several numbers and uses the uke to compose "on the bus". No strangers to the road, Twenty One Pilots has built a fervent national following and are now touring Australia, Europe and Mexico in the first quarter of 2014.

21 Pilots lyric

Luna sits down for an interview with Tyler Joseph:

You guys are serious "road dogs" - you tour a ton. What's one of your secrets for staying "sane" on the road?

Writing and creating on the road has been a tremendous outlet and the key to keeping my sanity.

What does your band name mean?

Ok so, I was in theatre class and we were studying a play called "All My Sons" written by Arthur Miller in the 40's. It was about a father who ran a company that provided parts for airplanes used in WWII. He then found out that his parts were faulty, so he comes to a moral crossroads: 1. He can take the parts back and not send them out, but he will lose a lot of money in a financially tough situation. He would also taint his business and his name and be known as 'unreliable' in his trade. But this would ultimately be the 'right' thing to do. or, 2. send the parts out, make the necessary money to provide for his family, not taint his name, etc. He ends up sending the parts out and twenty one pilots died because of it. His son was a pilot in the war who had lost his life. There was no evidence to prove that it was directly related but his daughter blamed her father for her brothers death. He ended up committing suicide at the end of the play. Here's how we make it relevant: I feel like we are all constantly encountering moral crossroads where the decisions that benefit the "now" will have consequences down the road; but the decision that might seem tough and tolling right away will ultimately be more rewarding. What is our purpose for playing music? We are constantly asking ourselves that question. The answer can change all the time, but for right now we are just going to stick with something as simple as "we want to make people think."

Through your music, you seem to be encouraging people to start thinking and start talking and start sharing and start creating. Even if we find the thoughts disturbing, the conversations uncomfortable, the sharing uneasy, the creating scary. Why is this is so important?

Creating drives the very idea of happiness. It puts us in a place where we share feelings, thoughts, ideas and emotions that make us vulnerable and that can lead us to happiness and joy.

What role does vulnerability play in your work?

Being transparent is important - on stage and in song writing because it is a part of making the first move towards something that is difficult to talk about. Then you hope that people listening make the second move.

What does authenticity mean to you?

Honesty - and the awareness that when you perform in front of a room full of people they smell it if you are not real - and that is a crime.

If I had never experienced a 21 Pilots concert, what could I expect?

Oh, boy . . . you just have to come to a show!

Where will you be touring in 2014? Is there another album in the works?

Touring in 2014 has us all over the world. Right now we are in Australia, February is a full European tour, March in Mexico and so much more as we move further into 2014. In late 2014 we will be taking the next steps for the record but I am constantly creating.

What other talent(s) do you have that would surprise us?

My cooking skills – they're surprisingly bad.

Read and hear more on the Twenty One Pilots Official Website

Vessel
Vessel
, available on iTunes, is the third studio album from Twenty One Pilot, released on January 8, 2013.

ITunes Editors' Notes: Twenty One Pilot's actually has two pilots: Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun. But the complex, hip-hop-infused indietronica of their promising 2013 debut album plays like they have an army of producers and musicians at their disposal. Vessel is one of those rare albums that should leave a noticeable dent in the music world for years after its release.

Tyler plays Luna's High Tide Koa



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