Twenty One Pilots

In its purest form music acts as a conduit of self-expression that's free from the conventions of society and that spirit of fearlessness lies at the core of twenty one pilots, a group whose musical vision is completely their own. Over the past few years the duo of frontman Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun have built a hardcore following that seems primed to reach a fever pitch with the release of their Fueled By Ramen debut Vessel.

"The first song I ever played on the piano was my own. I never took any lessons," Joseph responds when asked about his musical background. "I looked at the piano and realized that music was a way of being able to say something; the phrase I always use is that 'music is a vessel' and that's where the album title comes from." Before long Joseph was writing and recording his own demos in his basement and twenty | one | pilots was born.

The Columbus, Ohio-based band started out like most acts but instead of aimlessly touring they concentrated on their hometown base and before long they were selling out huge local venues like Newport Music Hall despite the fact they only had two self-recorded releases available. "Every show we play our hearts out because where we come from you have to grab people's attention and make sure that they never forget you," Joseph says. "In our case we were able to build up a fanbase - one that walked with us to grab the attention of the music industry outside of our hometown eventually opening up the doors that have led to so many opportunities to take our music around the world on what is an amazing journey".

The duo's ability to build up this local base was confirmed when the band sold out the 2,300-capacity LC Pavilion last April to announce that they were signing to Fueled By Ramen, after being courted by over a dozen labels. That's right, there was no fancy marketing or gimmickry that lead to twenty one pilots' rise, it was based solely on the organic relationship they cultivated with their fans via their music, live performances and online content. "To our fans we say we never got our big break, you created our big break. Thank you," Joseph says.

For Vessel the band entered a real studio for the first time ever with Grammy nominated producer Greg Wells (Weezer, Adele) to craft an album which merges elements of hip-hop, indie rock and punk in a way that's so seamless that you'll be rapping along one minute and caught up in a lush orchestral line on a song like "Car Radio " in the next minute. "We're not trying to consciously do something different but we've just never emulated any other bands" Joseph explains. "We've never fit into any particular scene so we figured we would just make our own."


From the impossibly catchy groove of "Semi-Automatic" to the high-energy hip-hop of "Holding On To You" and the ambient electronic experimentation of "Trees," Vessel is a complex collection of songs that shows why twenty one pilots are the latest addition to Fueled By Ramen's extremely selective roster. "'Ode To Sleep' is a song I'm really proud of because it's really odd when it comes to structure; it challenges the listener," Joseph explains. "Ultimately I think those are the types of moments that make our fans really connect to our music."

Sounding so unique was never an obstacle for twenty one pilots early on, in fact it has been a trait that has endeared them to their fans. "I don't think there are a lot of bands that can play a hardcore show one night or a hip-hop show the next night and know that it will work," Dun explains, adding that the band's live performances have always been integral to the act. "We want our fans to leave all of their problems at the door and immerse themselves in the music, the moment, when we perform live," he adds. "In the end it's a giant release for everybody."

"We went from not having a glimmer of hope to all of the sudden having the opportunity to leave Columbus and make a record and that's something that we're never going to take for granted," Joseph summarizes. "The songs on Vessel represent who we are and now we get to take this collection of songs, this body of work, to the world," he continues. "It is not a short term thing for us, we're planning on being around for a long time."

Critics have been bemused and thrilled by the Manchester four-piece and their amorphous drifts between brooding art rock, crisp electronica, dancefloor R&B, and 80s gloss pop. “I don’t think it’s confusing,” says singer Matty Healy of his band. “Feeling a lack of identity and the searching within oneself to acquire a real understanding of what you want to be, that’s something that loads of people can connect with. It’s so strange that with music people want so many rules.”

Matty has known what The 1975 is for some years now, just waiting for the right moment to unveil their stories of lust, intoxication and the unabashed grittiness of modern youth. “This record is a proper soundtrack to our formative years,” he says of their debut album, co-produced with Mike Crossey (Arctic Monkeys, Foals, The Kooks). “It’s everything that I know and every single song on the album, at some point, has been the most important thing in my life. I’ve spent my adult life working towards this album. It’s literally everything I am.”

The mysterious New York City-based musical duo MS MR (Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow) emerged to make their imprint on 2012 with "Hurricane," an introspective alt-pop masterpiece heralding the arrival of a new band, a new sound and a new approach to pop. An unofficial video for the track popped up on YouTube in May 2012 and has since garnered more than 1.5 million views. Awarded ‘Best New Track’ on Pitchfork, the duo's single quickly rose to number one on Hype Machine.

Secondhand Rapture is an intriguing aural Jenga that combines humbled ballads (“Dark Doo Wop”), experimental epics (“Head is not My Home”), and pure pop belters ("Think of You") alike. It expands on what Candy Bar Creep Show sketched out, seamlessly referencing everything from ’80s new wave to ’90s pop, doo-wop to country. “We both listen to a lot of different music from all different genres and time periods,” says Lizzy. “We wanted to create an environment that was cinematic and grandiose but also self-aware and playful. It wasn't until we finished writing that we found the sonic threads that tied certain tracks together. These ultimately became the album.”

Swedish threesome NONONO, aka front girl Stina Wappling and production duo Astma & Rocwell, formed in Stockholm during the spring of 2012, following Stina's return from Brighton where she had spent three years studying for a degree in psychology.

This thoughtful sensibility is reflected in their much-hyped debut release "Like The Wind", to be released in the UK in early May through Best Fit Recordings. Described by Popjustice as "a song you are going to listen to once, then immediately feel like listening to again, setting in motion a repeat listening frenzy that will last well over three hours," it has also been championed by tastemakers including The Guardian, Notion and The Quietus.

"Like The Wind" is to be preceded by the anthemic "Pumpin Blood," set for a Scandinavia release this week. Having previously been described by The Guardian as "the kind of percussion-heavy, gloom-tinged pop which brought Niki & The Dove to the masses last year", this track swerves the group in a new direction, with its overwhelmingly positive sentiment and rousing whistling hook. In fact, we expect the track to be universally adopted as the far superior "whistle song". With its instant appeal and summery feel, expect to see this track propel NONONO to anthemic status.

The band are currently finishing their debut album, which they describe as "dark and beat-orientated," for the most part, although the mood will likely improve as the seasons change in Sweden.

$20 + $1 for Maryland Food Bank

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Twenty One Pilots & The 1975 with Ms Mr, NONONO

Monday, December 16 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 7:45 PM at Rams Head Live

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