Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots Reveals Why the Band ‘Stepped Back’ for a Year
After Twenty One Pilots flagged their comeback this week, Josh Dun — one-half of the alternative hip-hop duo — is dishing on the core of the band's fifth studio album, Trench, and their year-long stint away from music in a new interview with Beats 1.
Two tracks on the forthcoming LP — "Jumpsuit" and "Nico and the Niners" — came as a thunderclap to the group's fanbase when they landed on Wednesday (July 11). Both songs feature vocals predominantly from lead singer Tyler Joseph, but when asked about the possibility of a collaboration on the new album, Dun explained why they've yet to tread those lines.
"I think that we would be open to collaborations in the future, or at some point if it just felt really organic and natural, and something came up," the 30-year-old drummer told Hanuman Welch. "I think that's the biggest fear — inorganic collaborations, or just having somebody on a lot of track, just for the name or whatever."
Contrary to hiatus gossip, the band, whose last full-length, Blurryface, reached eardrums back in 2015, has been toiling away at their latest work ever since.
"I don't know if we've ever actually used the word “hiatus,” but I guess it kind of means sort of, like a break in work," Dun said. "But we’ve been working, and I think the way that we looked at it was just kind of like an intentional quiet period, which kind of happened for multiple reasons."
Such reasons involved the group's years-long touring and their Grammy win in 2017: "There was a conversation of stepping back a little bit, to just make sure that there's [sic] actual things to talk about and deliver, rather than meaningless posts, just to exist. I think during the time where we were creating and working, we kind of wanted to just step back a little bit, and be present in that world, and not bore people with stuff that isn't as important as the content we're working on."
In the interview, Dun describes the period as an experiment of the duo's staying power with their Skeleton Clique (the name of their fanbase), saying: "I think it was a real kind of way for us to thin weeds, I guess, and see if we do step back a little bit and walk away from it for a period of time, and then come back — who's going to still be there? … We wanted to see who would stick around, and who would still be there."
In the interim, Dun and Joseph turned their attention to songwriting, searching for a medium which would allow them to wander out of the precariousness of their past projects without losing sight of the signature spirituality of their music.
"With both of our albums before — Vessel and Blurryface — there was kind of a place from which to write. Whether that's personal things going on in life, or thoughts, or just emotional or spiritual journeys," Dun elaborated. "A lot of it with the last one was the idea of insecurity … I think within this one, there is a place from which to write, and I think it's looming out a little bit from that character … but a little bit more into the story, if that makes sense."
The band will also embark on a world tour in support of the album this fall.
Trench releases via Fueled by Ramen on October 5.