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Twenty One Pilots' 'Billboard' Cover Story: 7 Things We Learned

From the origins of "Stressed Out" to complicated questions of appropriation, here are the most enlightening moments from the 'Blurryface' band's latest cover story

1 / 7

Their sold out shows at Madison Square Garden reflect a joke from their earliest days

BURBANK, CA - MAY 19: Musicians Josh Dun (L) and Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots perform onstage during the iHeartRadio Liv
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Twenty One Pilots frontman Tyler Joseph recalls an early moment in the band's development. He tells Billboard:

“I lived in a house for seven years with other dudes, and every time Josh would come over to load the van, one of my roommates would always be like”—Joseph slips into a doofus-bro voice—'Hey, you got a show at the Garden tonight?’ We’ve been looking forward to that show since it was just a dream.”

2 / 7

They see their newfound mainstream/radio fame as fleeting

Meredith Jenks for Billboard

Tyler Joseph tells the publication of their radio hit, "Stressed Out":

“The way I view a lot of the success that has happened recently is that it’s going to go away. I hope that we’ve just used this platform to get the attention of the people who will stick around for a while, who will add to the core fan base. That’s what we’re excited about, instead of believing that we’ll be a band on the radio forever. That’s not in our DNA.”

3 / 7

"Stressed Out" was never meant to be a single

Apparently, “Stressed Out” was only intended to act as the second song on their 2015 album Blurryface, the one that introduces the concept behind the entire release. Joseph explains:

“Blurryface is this character that I came up with that represents a certain level of insecurity. These symbols and having a narrative give people a reason to want to take in the whole albumnot just one song. The concept of a single is still pretty foreign to us.”

4 / 7

They've helped put their native Columbus on the map

INGLEWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 12: Musicians Josh Dun (L) and Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots pose backstage during 106.7 KROQ Al
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

In one particularly interesting scene in the band's Billboard cover story, Columbus venue owner Scott Stienecker describes the power Twenty One Pilots have had on the midwest city:

"How important are these guys to the Columbus scene? Huge, huge. I’ve been doing this for 37 years, and this is the biggest act ever out of this town. I would now consider Columbus probably a top 10 music city. Seriously.”

5 / 7

They do their own makeup

GEORGE, WA - MAY 23: Josh Dun (L) and Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots perform on stage during the Sasquatch! Music Festival
Mat Hayward/FilmMagic

All that black stuff on their face? It's a D.I.Y. effort!

"It’s important that we put on our own makeup,” Joseph told Billboard. “By the end of the show it’s wearing away.”

6 / 7

Tyler Joseph hates the words "anthem" and "millennial"

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 02: Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots performs at The Fillmore Detroit on October 2, 2014 in Detroit, M
Scott Legato/Getty Images

He's not messing around:

“The word ‘anthem’? The word ‘millennial’?' I wasn’t thinking about any of that stuff [when writing "Stressed Out."] I was thinking about my brother and our relationship now and our relationship when we were growing up. He was my only friend for a big part of my life. I don’t think that’s a generational thingI think my dad relates to that song as much as I do.”

7 / 7

They're aware of the appropriation inherent in writing hip-hop and reggae

Possibly the only real controversy surrounding the band has been a conversation about appropriation: what does it say when two white guys score major radio play when writing a song that takes hip-hop and reggae elements? Joseph talks about that, too:

"Right away I knew that reggae was really foreign to me, but I was so attracted to it. I mean, I’m aware of the ignorance that needs to happen in order to write a reggae song as a [white] kid from Columbus, Ohio, but I am not afraid of that.”

Read the full story here

When you're done, take our quizzes: Which Member of Twenty One Pilots Are You? and How Well Do You Know Twenty One Pilots?

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