Visit the shop

Track-By-Track: Twenty One Pilots - Vessel

Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots 4 September 2013 at 14.53

Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots gives us an insight into each song on the band's new album 'Vessel'...

Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots gives us an insight into each song on the band's new album 'Vessel'...

Ode To Sleep
"The reason why this is the first song on the album is that I feel like it kind of prepares the listener for the rest of the album, it almost puts them through a boot camp of what to expect… Which is don’t expect anything! It’s one of my favourite songs to play live for sure. As far as the structure of Ode To Sleep it is one of my favourites because of how it accidentally fit together like a puzzle. I don’t know how this song happened or what I was thinking but I’m really excited that it did."

Holding On To You
"We live in a world where there are singles and to think that way is very foreign to me…I’ve never thought “Here’s my single and here’s all the other songs”. I’ve always just seen it as one big body of work but to have Holding On To You kind of be the focus track makes sense to me. It does stand in the middle of what to expect from us – having to do with a lot of different genres, the melody in this song is digestible and it’s one of my favourite chord progressions I’ve ever done. I like that the chorus only happens twice in the song which is a big no no! You are supposed to do it four or five times especially if you want to see a lot of success and have your songs on Super Bowl commercials."

"Migraine is one of my favourites. These are some of my favourite verses…I wrote the poetry long before I wrote the music for it. You can psych yourself out when you write the poetry first and then you just fall in love with the way that you said this thing. Then you’re worried about the song part of it that’s going to go with it and you’re very protective of it, almost defending it. I’m really excited that I found the right song for it and it’s one of my favourite ones to deliver live."

House Of Gold
"I walked into a used music store saw a ukulele and bought it…that is literally the amount of thought I put into it and I had no idea how to play it. I figured its small and I have small hands…I was meant for this thing! I learnt how to play it, learnt a few chords. House Of Gold is about my mother and it means a lot to me and for me to reveal exactly what the song is about would be a little too vulnerable but I love my mom very much and I want to always be there for her like she was for me and this song is about that."

Car Radio
"This is way out in left field when it comes to song structure because there is no chorus, there’s no hook! The verses are talking about a true story of me being late to class, I was in college trying to do that whole thing because that’s what you’re meant to do I guess, I dropped out after that…..the point is, I was late to class and I forgot to lock my door and when I came back out everything had been gutted and stolen out my car. At the time financially I was not able to replace anything that was taken, the GPS, the radio, all my CD’s. When I get in the car my first reaction is to put the radio on and for a while I wasn’t able to do that and finding out that once I removed that piece of me I realised that sometimes music can act as a distraction and can get in the way of where your mind wants to go."

"I love to contrast very bright and upbeat sounding music with lyrics that aren’t. Almost as if I can get people to sing because of the melody, they start to realise what the song is actually saying. I love to catch people off guard. This song is a very bouncy, fun chord progression."

"I also wrote this one on the ukulele. I truly hope that I don’t become the ukulele guy!! The stand out thing for me on this song is the invitation on the bridge…The point of the song is to have more than just me singing it, I hate playing this song in front of people who don’t know who we are or don’t want to be part of the show – it doesn’t make sense. It’s almost purposeless if there aren’t people there to sing it with me but on the other hand it’s easily one of my favourites to play when people are willing to be a part of the show."

The Run And Go
"A lot of times I’ll picture myself in a certain venue or certain place when performing the song as I’m writing it – so as I was writing this particular song I placed myself outside at a festival in the middle of the day (because obviously we’re not that good yet…we can’t play at night). I pictured a sea of people helping me with this song and in a way that’s ridiculous because there isn’t a sea of people yet, i’m almost ahead of schedule with this song. It’s chronologically out of order because we’re nobody right now…we’re just some random band that no one’s ever heard of. This song reminds me that if happens for us, we’re ready for it."

Fake You Out
"I actually play the key tar on this song - my goal is to look cool every night when I play it but I fail miserably sometimes, it’s a little challenge every night. It’s definitely all over the place, genre wise but that’s the point I think. The bridge still catches me off guard, I sometimes even forget its coming when I play it live, I absolutely love that, that I as the songwriter and performer have to wrap my mind around what the song is doing. That’s a freaking good song I think!"

Guns For Hands
"People try to interpret what the song is saying and in a way I feel like I’m supposed to let that live and not answer the question. In short, there was a particular show that I was playing and at this time we were really able talk to everyone after a show. I remember this show in particular more than usual, kids came up to me and felt like they needed to share what it was they were going through and a lot of what they were going through had to do with suicide… thank goodness it had a lot to do with them overcoming it and using music and using songs, in particular my songs, to help them get over that and I was so inspired and so moved by that show and those kids that came up to me and shared with me their struggles with suicide and this song is very inspired by them and those people that struggle with that. I don’t claim to be a professional opinion on the topic because it’s dangerous to talk about suicide and to claim you have a voice on the issue but this song is about taking that negative energy and aiming it at something else, not aiming it at yourself, really giving these kids the power to know that they do have control over their circumstances."

"It is one of the last songs we play in our set and by this song usually im exhausted during the live set. For some reason this song gives me a second wind, I don’t even know where it comes from. That’s special to me. Something bigger than myself happens during this song. It’s one of my favourites."

"It’s just me and the piano, the producer I was working with (Greg Wells) and I were talking about the tone of this piano and what we wanted it to sound like. The way he described it was a piano playing in a theatre that was behind several thick curtains – I think we accomplished that…the distant piano with the vocals that are right in your face. It’s a very vulnerable song. You have to listen to the words, there’s nothing else to distract you from it and the words are very much concluding the album. This is what we’ve done, this is what I’ve tried to say and in summary…this is why we’re doing what we’re doing…this is why I write music…this song, right here."

Twenty One Pilots hit the UK next year for their first ever headline tour. Don't miss 'em!


17 - BRIGHTON Haunt
18 - OXFORD Academy II
19 - BIRMINGHAM Library
22 - LEEDS Cockpit
23 - GLASGOW King Tuts
25 - BRISTOL Thekla
26 - PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
27 - LONDON Heaven

Read this next!

Rock Sound Online

More Rock Sound

View More