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Twenty One Pilots

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Twenty One Pilots
Twentyone Pilots at Press conference of Soundbox in Bangkok.JPG
Twenty One Pilots in Bangkok in 2015
Background information
Origin Columbus, Ohio, United States
Years active 2009–present
Labels Fueled by Ramen
Past members
  • Nick Thomas
  • Chris Salih

Twenty One Pilots (stylized as twenty one pilots or TWENTY ØNE PILØTS) is an American musical duo that originates from Columbus, Ohio. The band was formed in 2009 by Tyler Joseph along with former members Nick Thomas and Chris Salih, and currently consists of vocalist/keyboardist Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun.[10] 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.[11] They released their signed debut, Vessel, with Fueled by Ramen in 2013.[12] Their second signed album, Blurryface, was released on May 15, 2015 through the same label.


2009–11: Formation and Twenty One Pilots

The band was formed in 2009 in Columbus, Ohio by college friends Tyler Joseph, Nick Thomas and Chris Salih.[11][13] Tyler 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 causing the death of twenty-one pilots during World War II because he knowingly sent them faulty parts for the good of his business. Tyler explains that this story of moral dilemma was the inspiration for the name of the band.[14] 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.[15][better source needed] These included an original song titled "Time to Say Goodbye" and a cover of "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri. They were originally available for free download, though the option has since been removed.

In mid 2011, Thomas and Salih sequentially left due to busy schedules. Both posted farewell notes on the band's official Facebook page.[16][17] Joseph was then joined by Josh Dun,[13] former live drummer of House of Heroes.[18]

2011–12: Regional at Best and Fueled by Ramen record deal

Their second self-release, Regional at Best, was released 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. [19] Although many labels fought over the band, it was ultimately decided that they would sign to the Atlantic Records subsidiary label Fueled by Ramen.

During the same year, the duo also gave fans two free, otherwise unreleased, songs via their email newsletter: the original version of "House of Gold" and a single entitled "Two."

On February 11, 2012, the band released a music video on YouTube for an unreleased song called "Goner".[20] "Goner" was rewritten and re-recorded for its release on Blurryface in 2015.[citation needed]

2012–14: Vessel, television debut and Quiet Is Violent World Tour

In April 2012, at a sold out show at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, they announced their signing to Atlantic Records subsidiary label Fueled by Ramen.[13] On July 17, 2012, they released their debut Fueled by Ramen recording in the form of a three song EP, entitled Three Songs. In August 2012, they embarked on a short tour with Neon Trees and Walk the Moon.[19] 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.[21] It was released January 8, 2013 and reached No. 58 on the Billboard 200, No. 42 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 band has also covered "Mad World" by Tears for Fears.

The group 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.

Twenty One Pilots performing in 2012

On November 12, 2012, the official music video for "Holding on to You" was released on YouTube.[22] Sequentially in 2013, music videos for "Guns for Hands" and "Car Radio" were uploaded on January 7 and April 19.[23][24]

In May 2013, Fall Out Boy announced that Twenty One Pilots will be touring as opening acts on the Save Rock and Roll Arena Tour the following Fall.[25]

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 to YouTube.[26]

On December 24, Christmas Eve, Tyler Joseph participated and sang "O come, O come, Emmanuel" at Five14 Church's Christmas With the Stars in New Albany, Ohio. The official video of the performance was uploaded to YouTube on February 14, 2014.[27] He also performed a magic segment with David McCreary for the show.[28]

On December 31, New Years Eve, the music video for Twenty One Pilots' song, "Truce", was uploaded via YouTube.[29]

Also in December, the official music video for "Migraine" was uploaded via YouTube (only limited to the UK region) and Vimeo. However, both were deleted shortly after.[30] On March 17, the band performed a set at the mtvU Woodie Awards during SXSW.[31]

The updated version of the song "Lovely" was found on the bonus tracks of Vessel, which became available on the UK and Japan versions of the CD.[citation needed] The song was a remastered version of "Lovely" from Regional at Best.[citation needed]

Lead vocalist Tyler Joseph in 2014

In 2014, Twenty One Pilots played a number of music festivals and other events all around the country, such as Lollapalooza,[32] Bonnaroo,[33] Boston Calling, and Firefly.[34] As a result, they took the show requests from different cities and blended them into the Quiet Is Violent World Tour, beginning in September 2014.[35]

On April 13, Twenty One Pilots performed "Car Radio" at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards.[36] On April 28, the band performed "Car Radio" on Late Night with Seth Meyers.[37]

On December 31, 2014, the band released a music video for the song "Ode to Sleep".[38]

2015–present: Blurryface

Main article: Blurryface

On March 16, 2015, the band announced that Blurryface was to be released on May 19.[39][40] They also released the first single, called "Fairly Local".[41] Their second single of the album, "Tear in My Heart", and its music video were released on April 5, 2015.[42] On April 28, "Stressed Out", the third single from the album, was released[43] along with a music video.[44] "Stressed Out" peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and number one on both Alternative Songs and Hot Rock Songs.[45]

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.[46] 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."[47]

The band began the Blurryface World Tour on May 11, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. The US part of their tour started on September 8 in Washington, D.C. The tour went to in the United States, Australia, South East Asia, Japan and Europe.[48] They toured with Echosmith and Finish Ticket.

The band began its Emotional Roadshow World Tour starting in Cincinnati on May 31, 2016.[49] The tour will go through the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia.[50][51] It was announced that Chef'Special and Mutemath would be joining them on the tour.[52]

On June 16, 2016, the band released the song "Heathens" as the first single from the Suicide Squad soundtrack. A music video for the song was released on June 21, 2016. [53]

Musical style and influence

Twenty One Pilots' previous band logo

Twenty One Pilots bring a mix of piano (sometimes an electronic keyboard or a keytar), synthesizer, drums (sometimes mixed with electronic drums), vocals, and occasionally the ukulele. Their songs are usually poetry-based (written by Joseph and Dun);[54] Joseph has stated that when poetry is too long, he needs to start rapping to fit the lyrics in.[55]

People typically have trouble affiliating the band to a specific genre to describe them, since they bridge so many.[56] 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.[14]

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.[13][57]

Twenty One Pilots' official band logo as of 2015

In regard to their logo, Tyler 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 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.[58]

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.[14]


  • Twenty One Pilots (2009)
  • Regional at Best (2011)
  • Vessel (2013)
  • Blurryface (2015)

Band members

  • Tyler Joseph – lead vocals, piano, keyboards, ukulele, synthesizers, bass, guitar, drums, percussion (2009–present)
  • Josh Dun – backing vocals, drums, percussion, trumpet (2011–present)
  • Nick Thomas – bass guitar, keyboards (2009–11)
  • Chris Salih – drums (2009–11)

Concert tours


Opening act


Year Ceremony Award Nominated Result Ref.
2013 MTV Video Music Award Artist to Watch "Holding on to You" Nominated [59]
MTV Europe Music Award Best Push Act Twenty One Pilots [60]
2014 Alternative Press Music Awards Best Live Band [61]
Album of the Year Vessel
Breakthrough Band Twenty One Pilots
Best Drummer Josh Dun
2015 Best Live Band Twenty One Pilots
Most Dedicated Fans
tumblr Fandom of the Year
Teen Choice Award Choice Rock Song "Tear in My Heart" [62]
2016 iHeartRadio Music Awards Alternative Rock Artist of the Year Twenty One Pilots Won [63]
Alternative Rock Song of the Year "Stressed Out"
Billboard Music Awards Top Duo/Group Twenty One Pilots Nominated [64]
Top Rock Artist Won
Top Rock Song "Stressed Out" Nominated
Top Rock Album Blurryface Won
Alternative Press Music Awards Artist of the Year Twenty One Pilots Won [65]
Album of the Year Blurryface Won
Best Music Video "Stressed Out" Nominated
Kerrang! Awards Best Live Band Twenty One Pilots Nominated [66]
Best Fanbase Won
Teen Choice Award Choice Rock Song "Stressed Out" Pending [67]


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External links