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Interview:
Twenty One Pilots soaring with sophomore album
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Twenty One Pilots generated enough buzz with its 2013 debut album "Vessel" -- and done enough touring to support it -- to expect some anticipation for its sophomore set, "Blurryface."

But a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 in mid-May was a bit beyond what the Columbus, Ohio, rock duo expected.

"I think what we've learned is you can't underestimate the power of a core fan base and people who believe what you're doing," singer and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Joseph, 26, says by phone from New York. "I think they're the ultimate marketers. They're the ones promoting us. It doesn't matter what we post about ourselves on social networks or how many times we play live TV, even. It's all about those people, those fans who are telling other people about us.

"I think that's what we're seeing more than anything."

That said, Joseph and drummer Josh Dun created "Blurryface" explicitly for its fans, starting the writing process during the "Vessels" tour by converting the back lounge of their bus into a studio.

"We wrote this record almost completely on the road," Joseph said. "Every night we were able to start playing two different people -- that person who got up on stage every night and then that person who went back in that lounge and started writing songs.

"So we were able to ask ourselves every night, 'What do we wish our set had?' We look at songwriting very much through the filter of live music, so we wrote 1) whatever we love and 2) what we felt our live set needed. Looking back on this new record as a whole, you can tell we were really influenced in that way."

Once the songs were together, the duo also changed their approach to recording. Rather than working with just one producer (Greg Wells) as they did on "Vessel," Joseph and Dun opted for a team approach on "Blurryface," with collaborators such as Ricky "Wallpaper." Reed, Mike Elizondo, Mike Crossey and Tim Anderson helming different tracks.

"Josh and I did our research on these producers and what their strengths are, what they bring to the table," Joseph recalls. "And we even 'dated' a few more. Once we had the list of songs we wanted on the record we could tell which songs would work best with which producer.

"All these guys added something to the record, and we were very intentional about what songs they were going to produce. It really kind of kept everyone on their toes, but it was a perfect marriage with all these guys, so I'm happy we went about it the way we did and we're really happy about how it turned out."

Twenty One Pilots and Finish Ticket

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.

Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills.

Tickets are sold out.

Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.


Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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