"We’re used to not fitting in…" – twenty one pilots
Before they hit the stage at Download Festival, oddball vaudeville pop duo twenty one pilots sat down with us to talk about their plans for the follow-up to their last album Vessel and to lay out how a Twenty One Pilots musical would work…
How’s your summer been so far? Enjoying the festivals?
Tyler (Joseph, Piano/Vocals): “We’ve been back and forth to the States all summer. There are so many opportunities and we really feel like you either do a summer where you cater to festivals or a summer where you cater to your own headline shows. This summer we're doing festivals.”
Josh (Dun, Drums): “We’ve got plans though, we’re going to be back here a couple more times.”
Tyler: “I think we’re coming to the UK in November for some more shows, so you’ll get to see us again.”
The sound you guys have doesn’t naturally sit with what’s on offer at this festival…
Tyler: “It’s a little angrier than what we do. If you’d asked us to play here five years, now only were we not a band yet, but we’d have struggled to get on the bill. They’re (Download) moving into a direction that’s a little less hard rock, we don’t claim to be hard rock, we’ll bring our piano and see who comes to see us.”
“We’re used to not fitting in, when we were coming up in Ohio, we never played on a bill that made sense, not one time. We’ve done everything from hip-hop bills to hard rock, we just try and appeal to people who love music and like something a little bit different.”
You’ve started work on the follow-up to Vessel, how far along are you?
Tyler: “It’s hard to say. We’ve been on the road for two years straight touring this album, it’s time to stop and focus on writing. While we’ve been travelling we’ve got this bubble recording studio, it’s not extravagant, but we’ve been able to get able to get down ideas and we’re excited to move on.”
You’ve been quoted as saying that this album will be chilled out and mysterious…
Tyler: “I don’t know where they got. Someone said I’d to Rolling Stone that it’d be chilled out and mysterious, I don’t remember saying that, I don’t even remember the interview with Rolling Stone! It’s not going to be chilled out and mysterious, it’s going to very vulnerable, but very energetic at times. We pride ourselves on being able to survive and being able to express a dynamic, we want the album to be dynamic.”
Do you have a producer in mind?
Tyler: “We’re talking about it, obviously we worked with Greg Wells last time. We’ve been throwing away the idea of working with multiple people, we do so many different styles that we think it would be interesting to try and work with multiple people and see what comes of it, that might be the way to get our songs to the best place. It’s going to be a more eclectic record for sure.”
Do you have a dream producer?
Tyler: “Nope. We just play shows, we don’t think like that. I’d actually like to do it ourselves one day, just me and Josh.”
Are there any new instruments you’re looking to incorporate?
Tyler: “I’d like to do some more field recording, capturing some random noises, stretch them, morph them and make them do weird things. We’d like to do more of that.”
There’s a big vaudeville sensibility to a lot of your tracks, what do you think a twenty one pilots would be like?
Tyler: “There’d be some nudity. That’d be there. I think it’d start in a private school and whereas most stories start with school finishing and it’s summer, our’s would start with school and stay in school. Two guys would find each other at school, they’d write some songs together and they’d enter into the talent show. But when they played the talent show the only people who liked the song would be their parents and it’d be lost on the rest of the student body. That’s twenty one pilots the musical…”
twenty one pilots’ new album Vessel is out now in hmv stores, you can also preview it by clicking on the icon on the right-hand side of the page.
hmv.com will be at Download Festival across the weekend of June 13th to June 15th, bringing you interviews and reviews.