I first started listening to twenty one pilots around late 2014/early 2015. At the time I only knew two people who liked them or even heard of them; one of my best friends in real life and an internet friend. The first song I heard of theirs was ‘Car Radio’, as it was the most popular at the time on their Spotify. I’ve always used music as a type of outlet, an expression of how I’m feeling. ‘Car Radio’ explained just that perfectly. The sound of the song, the progression and production in it, as well as the lyrics, were nothing like I’d heard before.
Although in the past I would have used music or visual media to ignore what I was thinking about, I now use them to reflect on what I’m thinking or feeling. In a way, ‘Car Radio’ showed to me that it’s important to not ignore what your thoughts, even if they’re negative ones, but to work out a way to push through them. Which is where twenty one pilots have been a huge help. I finally found something that resonated with me. Their songs have helped me think more, whether that be about myself, others or a situation I’m in. They’ve shown me that ignoring it doesn’t mean it’ll go away but preventing whatever it is from getting better.
Something that’s special about twenty one pilots is how their message and presence has remained consistent throughout their career. If you ever watch early live video performances of theirs, there’s still the same amount of passion and emotion that goes into it as their performances now.
One of my favourite things about twenty one pilots is the space they’re created for their fans. It’s a place for like-minded people to feel safe in, despite what may be going on in their everyday lives. Tyler and Josh encourage their fans to find meaning and purpose. Sometimes it feels like I was meant to find out about this band. That it was somehow fate or destiny to find their songs and want to share this space. To share these songs they’ve created with other people.
“The logo means something to me because I made it mean something to me. That’s the point. The point is that I created something that only I understand and whether or not I decide to disclose the meaning of it, that’s the beginning of purpose for me. The meaning of purpose for me, is by creating something, if it be by writing lyrics, painting a picture, by expressing yourself through art if it’s photography or music or theater, or whatever it is. It doesn’t have to be artistic, but if you create something and only you know the meaning of it, that’s the beginning of purpose for you. When you’re in the room by yourself trying to decide whether to stay alive, you can tell yourself “I should probably stay alive because I’m the only one who knows the meaning of that thing”, so the logo is an encouragement for people to create. That’s what it means.” – Tyler Joseph explaining the band’s logo.
I first saw twenty one pilots live on the 29th February 2016 at Guildhall, Portsmouth, UK. One of my best friends bought the tickets for me as a birthday present. Portsmouth was a completely different and unknown place for us to go to for a concert. I hadn’t visited Portsmouth since I was really young. I’d never been to that venue before, or even been to a venue outside of my hometown or London for the matter. It was a whole new experience but one I’ll never forget. Their energy and enthusiasm on stage was one I don’t think anyone could ever tøp (I’m sorry, I just had too). My friend and I were lucky enough to get quite close to the barrier. We had an incredible view of the two of the people we both admire the most.
The show as a whole wasn’t just a concert, or a gig, or just two guys performing on stage; it was an experience. One of the best parts about it was hearing everyone in that one room sing the lyrics as loud as possible because it meant something. There were so many symbolic points which are such simple things but hold so much meaning. Something the band are all about. During ‘Lane Boy’, Tyler asked everyone to stay low, then jump up all at the same time. It was like its own type of rebellion. You’re being told to stay low and stay in line, but we didn’t. It was symbolising that you don’t have to do what everyone is telling or wanting you to do.
Tyler and Josh both interacted with the crowd numerous times. At the beginning of ‘Holding On To You’, Tyler stood on top of the crowd and sang the first few lyrics before returning to the stage. Before the song started, he scanned the crowd, as though he was taking in as many faces as possible, whether they’d be new or recognisable. During ‘Ride’, Josh was being held up on a smaller drum kit by the audience as he played his drum solo on top of them. Like Tyler, Josh, too, scanned the crowd before starting the solo.
This night, no matter what, is something I’m sure my friend and I will always be able to find joy in. During ‘Trees’, the last song of the set, Tyler and Josh both stand on individual boards and drum, which are held up by the crowd. We’d always talked about this and what we’d do in that situation. We never thought it’d happen, but it did. We were able to be two of the people holding up Josh Dun on the platform while he drummed in sync with Tyler.
The falling confetti indicated that the end of the show was very near. Once they’d made their way back to the stage, the duo bowed and Tyler said, “we’re twenty one pilots and so are you”. Hearing that saying in real life was incredibly special. For once, I felt like I actually belonged there. I felt like this is where I should be. In that moment, I couldn’t have felt any prouder to be a fan of twenty one pilots. You feel like you’re apart of something great and that your contributions, whatever it may be, matter. twenty one pilots aren’t exactly exclusive to these two individuals, but to anyone who maybe feels like finally, they belong.
‘Truce’ is one of my favourite songs of twenty one pilots’. One of my favourite songs of all time for the matter. I remember the first time I heard it, it hit me so hard. It’s one of those songs that when I listen to it, I have to pay attention to the detail and have it mean something. I have to take something from it every single time. twenty one pilots is like a friend you could call up at any time and they’d be willing to listen. They’re like hugging someone and it feeling like home.
A lyric from ‘Truce’ that sticks out to me the most is, “the sun will rise and we will try again”. It’s like symbolising a new start. That no matter what you’ve done or how badly you think you’ve messed up, you can start over. You can always try again.
“You know, you can use music, you can use a show. I want you to know that whatever it is you brought into this place, whatever baggage, whatever thing you’re working through, you can use music, you can use this show to leave it all here tonight and start fresh. Never forget to start over… please never forget. You can start over if you need. Doesn’t matter what you’ve done.” – Tyler Joseph’s speech before ‘Trees‘
It’s one of the lyrics I repeatedly say to myself when things aren’t going right, or when I’m getting stressed. Call it a coincidence but any kind of situation where I need reassurance most, ‘Truce’ always seems to play.
stay alive. tomorrow, too.
— twenty one pilots (@twentyonepilots) September 10, 2016
twenty one pilots are a huge part of my life and are a symbol of reassurance, hope and so many other things for me. So thank you, Tyler and Josh, for all you do and all you continue to do. There’s not another band like yours |-/