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Twenty One Pilots

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Twenty One Pilots
Twentyone Pilots at Press conference of Soundbox in Bangkok.JPG
Josh Dun (left) and Tyler Joseph in Bangkok in 2015
Background information
Origin Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Genres
Years active 2009–present
Labels
Website twentyonepilots.com
Members
Past members
  • Nick Thomas
  • Chris Salih

Twenty One Pilots (stylized as TWENTY ØNE PILØTS) is an American musical duo originating from Columbus, Ohio. The band was formed in 2009 by lead vocalist Tyler Joseph along with former members Nick Thomas and Chris Salih, who eventually left in 2011, and currently consists of Joseph and drummer Josh Dun. The duo rose to fame in the mid–2010s after several years of touring and independent releases.

They put out two self-released albums, Twenty One Pilots in 2009 and Regional at Best in 2011, before being signed by Fueled by Ramen in 2012. Their label debut, Vessel, was released in 2013. The duo achieved breakthrough success with their fourth album, Blurryface (2015), which produced the successful singles "Stressed Out" and "Ride". In addition, the single "Heathens", recorded for the soundtrack of the film Suicide Squad, made the group the first alternative artist to have two concurrent top ten singles in the U.S. The duo has won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.[1]

History

2009–2011: Formation and Twenty One Pilots

The band was formed in 2009 in Columbus, Ohio by college friends Tyler Joseph, Nick Thomas, and Chris Salih.[2][3] Joseph came up with the band's name while studying All My Sons by Arthur Miller, a play about a man who must decide what is best for his family after knowingly sending out faulty airplane parts for the good of his business and causing the death of twenty-one pilots during World War II. Joseph explains that the story's theme of moral dilemma and choosing between the easy and the right decision inspired the name and formation of the band.[4][5] On December 29, 2009, they released their debut, self-titled album, Twenty One Pilots, and began touring Ohio.

In 2010, the band released two officially unreleased tracks to their SoundCloud account.[6] These included an original spinoff of "Time to Say Goodbye" by Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman and a cover of "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri.

Salih left on May 8, 2011, and Thomas left the next month on June 3, 2011, both posting farewell notes on the band's official Facebook page.[7][8] Joseph was then joined by Josh Dun, former touring drummer of House of Heroes.[3][9]

2011–2012: Regional at Best and Fueled by Ramen record deal

Twenty One Pilots performing in 2012

Their second self-release, Regional at Best, was released on July 8, 2011, with the new lineup consisting of only Joseph and Dun. The album was accompanied by a free CD release show on the grounds of New Albany High School. In November 2011, they played a sold out show at Columbus' Newport Music Hall, attracting the attention of a dozen record labels.[10] They ultimately signed with an Atlantic Records subsidiary label called Fueled by Ramen, the same label responsible for the commercial success of artists such as Panic! at the Disco, Paramore, and numerous other alternative acts.[11]

That same year, the duo put out two free, otherwise unreleased songs via their email newsletter; the original version of "House of Gold" and "Two".[12][11]

On February 11, 2012, the band released a music video on YouTube for an unreleased song titled "Goner".[13] "Goner" was rewritten and again recorded for its release on Blurryface in 2015.[14]

2012–2014: Vessel, television debut and Quiet Is Violent World Tour

Twenty One Pilots performing live in 2014

In April 2012, they announced their signing to Atlantic Records subsidiary label Fueled by Ramen during a sold out show at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion.[3] On July 17, 2012, they released their debut Fueled by Ramen recording in the form of a three-song EP, Three Songs. The next month, the band embarked on a short tour with Neon Trees and Walk the Moon.[10] They worked with Greg Wells, producer of Adele and Katy Perry, on their first full-length album on the record label Fueled by Ramen, Vessel.[15] It was released January 8, 2013, and reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200, No. 9 on the Digital Albums chart, No. 17 on the Internet Albums chart, No. 15 on the Rock Albums Chart and No. 10 on the Alternative Albums Chart.

The duo had their first charting single on radio charts in America with "Holding On to You", which reached 11 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart; additionally, the singles "Guns for Hands" and "Lovely" reached No. 21 and No. 67, respectively, on the Japan Hot 100 after "Lovely" was released as a promotional single for the band's trip to Japan.[16][17]

On November 12, 2012, the official music video for "Holding On to You" was released on YouTube.[18] Sequentially in 2013, music videos for "Guns for Hands" and "Car Radio" were uploaded on January 7 and April 19.[19][20]

In May 2013, Fall Out Boy announced that Twenty One Pilots would be touring as opening acts on the Save Rock and Roll Arena Tour the following fall, along with Panic! at the disco.[21]

On August 8, 2013, Twenty One Pilots performed "House of Gold" on Conan in their late night debut. On October 2, the music video for the song was uploaded onto YouTube.[22]

On March 17, Twenty One Pilots performed a set at the mtvU Woodie Awards during SXSW.[23]

The updated version of the song "Lovely" from Regional at Best was included as a bonus track on the UK and Japan versions of the Vessel CD.[16][17]

Lead vocalist Tyler Joseph performing in 2014

In 2014, Twenty One Pilots played a number of music festivals and other events all around the country, such as Lollapalooza,[24] Bonnaroo,[25] Boston Calling, and Firefly.[26] As a result, they took the show requests from different cities and blended them into the Quiet Is Violent World Tour, which began in September 2014, and ended the same year.[27]

On April 13, Twenty One Pilots performed "Car Radio" at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards.[28] On April 28, the band performed "Car Radio" on Late Night with Seth Meyers.[29]

On December 31, 2014, the band released a music video for the song "Ode to Sleep".[30]

2015–present: Blurryface and Emotional Roadshow World Tour

Twenty One Pilots performing at Shepherds Bush Empire in late 2015

On March 16, 2015, the band announced that Blurryface was to be released on May 19.[31] They also released the first single, called "Fairly Local".[32] Their second single of the album, "Tear in My Heart", and its music video were released on April 5, 2015.[33] On April 28, "Stressed Out", the third single from the album, was released[34] along with a music video.[35] "Stressed Out" peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and number one on both Alternative Songs and Hot Rock Songs charts.[36]

Blurryface was released two days early on May 17, 2015, and sold 134,000 copies in the first week in the United States, becoming the band's first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.[37] On May 22, 2016, Blurryface went on to win the category of "Top Rock Album" at the Billboard Music Awards, and the band also won the category of "Top Rock Artist".[38]

The band began the Blurryface World Tour on May 11, 2015, in Glasgow, Scotland. The U.S. part of their tour started on September 8 in Washington, D.C. The tour went on in the United States, Australia, South East Asia, Japan and Europe.[39] They toured with Echosmith and Finish Ticket.[40]

Twenty One Pilots performed "Stressed Out" on Late Night with Seth Meyers on September 14, 2015.[41]

The band announced a London show in February 2016, and later announced a run of UK dates, with a second London date added. They toured with Transviolet.[42] This run of UK dates ended the Blurryface tour, with The Emotional Roadshow being announced soon after.

The band began its Emotional Roadshow World Tour, which started in Cincinnati on May 31, 2016.[43] The tour will go through the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia.[44][45] It was announced that Chef'Special and Mutemath would be joining them on the tour.[46] Irish singer Bry joined the tour for its European leg.[47]

Twenty One Pilots performing in London in 2016

On June 16, 2016, the band released the song "Heathens" as the first single from the Suicide Squad soundtrack, earlier than the expected release date of June 24, after the song leaked onto the Internet on June 15.[48][49][50] A music video for the song was released on June 21, 2016.[51] "Heathens" was played during the ending credits of the film.

Twenty One Pilots became only the third rock act to have two singles simultaneously chart in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100, joining the Beatles and Elvis Presley, in addition to becoming the third duo to accomplish this feat, after OutKast in 2003 and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ten years later.[52]

On September 14, 2016, the band released a cover of the piano ballad "Cancer" by My Chemical Romance as a part of the tribute album Rock Sound Presents: The Black Parade. An animated lyric video followed the release of the song.[53]

On October 8, 2016, Twenty One Pilots was featured as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. They performed toned-down, orchestra-accompanied versions of "Heathens" and "Ride", in what Rolling Stone called their "most high profile performance yet".[54] The band later performed a medley of "Heathens" and "Stressed Out" on the American Music Awards of 2016, where they also accepted their first awards on American television for Favorite Pop/Rock Duo and Favorite Alternative Rock Artist.[55]

In an interview with Alternative Press in November 2016, Twenty One Pilots stated that after their last show in April 2017, they will be "going dark" to focus on new music. Joseph stated that he would like to focus on lyrical content of the music, and bring the music back to the "authenticity, lyrics, delivery, and fearlessness of songwriting" similar to that of the self-titled album.[56]

On December 19, 2016, Twenty One Pilots collaborated with alternative rock band Mutemath, for a five-song EP, TOPxMM, uploaded onto the band's official website free of charge, as well as onto YouTube, in the form of a twenty-five minute long video of the bands performing the songs live in studio.[57][58][59][60] On February 12, 2017, Twenty One Pilots won a Grammy Award for "Stressed Out" in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category.[1]

On March 27, 2017, the band began selling tickets for what they called a "Tour De Columbus", a five-date hometown tour taking place in June 2017. Originally announcing the first three dates, two more dates were added after the original shows sold out within minutes.[61] The duo will be playing the venues they played as a local band including The Basement on June 20, Newport Music Hall on June 21, Express Live! on June 22, Nationwide Arena on June 24, and Value City Arena or "The Schott" on June 25.[62]

Musical style and influences

Alternative logo used on the cover of Blurryface
Twenty One Pilots' previous band logo
Twenty One Pilots' official band logo as of 2015

Twenty One Pilots bring a mix of piano (sometimes an electronic keyboard or a keytar), synthesizers, drums (sometimes mixed with electronic drums), vocals, and occasionally the ukulele and bass. Their songs are usually poetry-based (written by Joseph and Dun);[63] Joseph has stated that when poetry is too long, he needs to start rapping to fit the lyrics in.[64]

The band's musical style has been described as alternative hip hop,[65] electropop,[66][67] indie pop,[68][69] pop rock,[70][71][72] and rap rock.[72][73] They have also been described as pop,[69][74] electronica,[69] hip hop,[74] and reggae.[75][15] People typically have trouble affiliating the band to a specific genre to describe them, since they bridge so many.[76] However, many fans (and themselves to a degree) have labeled their genre as "Schizophrenic pop" (also known as Schizoid pop), a technically unofficial subgenre of pop.[4]

Although many of their songs contain allusions to Christian theology and have messages (even if implied) about God, and all members of the band (past and present) are Christians, Twenty One Pilots is not considered a Christian band.[3][77]

In regard to their logo, Joseph stated in an interview that:

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 what 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.

— Tyler Joseph explaining the band's logo.[78]

According to the band, their purpose for making music is "to make people think", as well as encourage them to find joy in what they come to believe in life.[4]

Fandom

Skeleton Clique logos

The band's fandom has been dubbed the "Skeleton Clique", though many fans call it the "Clique" for short. The Skeleton Clique have logos which appear as two long lines that have several shorter lines overlapping it, and an alien-like head on the top for the left one, and a skull-like head for the right one.[79]

Band members

Current members

  • Tyler Joseph – lead vocals, piano, keyboards, synthesizers, ukulele, bass (2009–present)
  • Josh Dun – drums, percussion (2011–present)

Past members

  • Nick Thomas – bass, piano, keyboards (2009–2011), backing vocals (2009)
  • Chris Salih – drums, percussion (2009–2011)

Discography

Concert tours

Headlining

Opening act

Awards and nominations

References

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External links