Q&A with twenty one pilots drummer Josh Dun
Twenty one pilots, the opener for Towson’s Homecoming concert, has only been around roughly four years, but has already gained the attention of fans across the country with their brand of alternative rap-rock. The Towerlight spoke to drummer Josh Dun two days before they performed with headliner AWOLNATION.
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard you before?
That’s a good question. The way that I would describe our music would be taking a bunch of different styles and throwing it into a blender to make a musical smoothie. Ten years ago, maybe even less, if you asked someone what music they listened to they would answer with “rock” or “pop” or a particular style. Everyone kind of listens to everything now. If I was to go to your university and ask what people listened to they would answer “everything.” It’s fun for me to be diverse.
Your most recent full-length album “Vessel” was your first release on a record label. What was it like after producing two CDs independently?
A lot of bands, right off the bat, try to spend money that they don’t have by touring and spending money on gas and hotels. And you’re mostly just going in a van, which is why a lot of bands end so early, they’re not making a lot of money. They also have to spend money on a studio. The first two, what I call, glorified mixtapes, were done in Tyler’s basement. We just wanted to show people what we’re like. Our songs are written around how they’ll be performed live. There’s really not a lot of differences in recording [with a label], but with technology you can create music in your own house. I think building up the fan base, it was previously a lot of local shows, and we were able to gain the attention of the scene and we were able to sign with a label. They were able to help with the recording process, and we went into a real, professional studio for the first time. It was also cool but it was also really scary.
You mentioned most of your songs are based around how you think they’ll sound live. How would you describe twenty one pilots as a live band, and is there any particular impression you want fans to leave your show with?
I think going back 10 years ago, maybe even five, to our first live shows. I’ve been to a lot of shows, but there’s a very particular period of time where the whole concept of going to a show and watching a band or an artist on stage and knowing they’re this larger than life kind of band and they look like these rock gods and just kind of standing there they look really cool. It’s like they’re these untouchable guys. Just being the two of us, we’ve always approached a show as trying to being as energized and engaging as possible. We try to do something different where we break down the wall between the stage and the fans watching. There’s a history of concerts now with more interaction with the crowd. They want to be a part of it rather than just spectating. I want to leave thinking that everyone in that room was part of an experience.
–Compiled by Jonathan Munshaw