Releasing a fifth album and setting forth on a second arena tour is no easy feat for most bands in 2018. Twenty One Pilots released Trench last month—some critics liked it; some critics panned it; most fans adored it. Many dates of the Bandito Tour sold out across the US, due in large part, to the ever-growing Twenty One Pilots fan base, especially the Clique.
The Skeleton Clique, or Clique for short, is a squad of Twenty One Pilots fans from a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles. The floor of the band’s recent Washington, DC show at Capital One Arena was host to an eclectic mix of fans who often find solace in the band’s lyrics. The Clique finds ways to unite outside of shows; through the use of Facebook groups, Snapchat, and Instagram, fans are able to meet up, dress up, and chat about their favorite band. Four DC area fans share their perspectives on the new album From Twenty One Pilots and more.
Substream: “Are you dressing up in any way, since the show is on Halloween?”
Becca Reese: “My daughter is wearing camo and we will both have on TØP T-shirt’s, yellow tape, and yellow Bandito bandanas.”
Maureen Fowler: “I am indeed dressing up as a Banditø. I have my camo pants, yellow bandana, yellow tape, and I’m painting my face as well.”
Chelsea Grace Fox: “Yes! I most definitely am dressing up! I love any excuse for dressing up, and my little sister and I will be rocking our lovely Bandito-style Josh and Tyler yellow taped outfits!”
Eric Swann: “We are dressing up in Trench gear. My daughter, 9, was given a choice of seeing Twenty One Pilots on Halloween or going trick or treating; she didn’t even hesitate before answering. When asked by her classmates on what she was going to be this year for Halloween, she answered ‘a bandito.’”
Substream: “What song are you most looking forward to hearing live?”
CGF: “That’s honestly a hard one to answer. ‘Trees’ is probably my favorite song of all to see live, but I’m really excited to see ‘Pet Cheetah!’ The videos I’ve seen from other concerts have been so amazing, but I can’t wait to see it performed live!”
ES: “That’s tough, but I’m probably most looking forward to ‘Morph’ or ‘My Blood’ or their cover of ‘Cancer.’ I’m going to concert with my daughter who is love with the entire album but has a special connection to ‘Morph.’ ‘My Blood’ has to be my new favorite song on the album and when it was released; I could not stop ‘feeling’ the music. And my girlfriend beat cancer and their cover of that has such a connection to her.”
MF: “I most look forward to hearing ‘NEONGRAVESTONES’ live; it is such a great song!”
BR: “’Trees’ – I hate that it means the concert is over, but I love hearing them do it live. I even have a Trees tattoo.”
Substream: “What is your overall impression of Trench —it seemed to be pretty polarizing?”
ES: “I haven’t waited for an album with as much anticipation as I did for Trench. I was afraid that it would not live up to my expectations. Pre-ordered through the official website and through iTunes and when it leaked, I couldn’t listen. I had to wait until it was officially released. We woke up early, and played it before work and school, and right away I knew it was special. Love the album. It surpassed my expectations. Every song is different, the beat and lyrics are so strong. Makes me laugh, smile, cry. Very powerful to me.”
MF: “Trench is a masterpiece! Tyler Joseph is an amazing producer, songwriter, composer, and artist all around and to create this world that so many, including myself, relate to and understand is so amazing!”
CGF: “Trench is honestly probably my favorite album so far. The incredible amount of heart and passion put into this album is stunning. Tyler has such an amazing way with words. You can hear his passion and his love in every song, from every album, but the sheer amount of dedication and emotion in Trench is just stunning. It’s more than just an album to listen to when you’re driving, or running, or working. It’s an album that lets you find more meaning every time you listen to it. You can just sit and let the words, vivid imagery, Tyler’s voice, and Josh’s drums just wash over you, and it feels like a musical hug. Listening to Trench for the first time felt like coming back home, and being welcomed in with the biggest, warmest hug.”
BR: “I think it is their best work yet. When I first heard it, I described it as a musical buffet for the ears. The addition of all the technical and keyboard sounds make it so full and rich. Not to mention the amazing lyrics and poetry in the writing.”
Substream: “What song do you have the most personal connection with and why?”
CGF: “I actually have two songs that made an impact on me. The funniest thing is, it took a while for me to warm up to one of them! ‘My Blood’ pretty much stole my heart from the first second I heard it. My family was on vacation, and I was sitting on the balcony outside, listening to the ocean when the video of Tyler playing it in his basement was released. Between the sound of the water, and Tyler’s voice, it pretty much felt like heaven right then. The words are so beautiful, and it pretty much became an instant favorite. ‘Bandito’ took a while for me to warm up to, but once I actually sat and listened to it, it was awe inspiring. When it hit the “’Sahlo Folina’, it pretty much stayed in my head like an echo and played on repeat in my brain. I can’t say I’d ever want to choose a favorite between the two, because they both mean so much, and have forever changed my life. My sweet little sister took the time to put together lyrics from the song for me. Each letter is from something Tyler or josh had written. I now have ‘I’ll go with you’ tattooed on my left forearm in Tyler’s lettering, and ‘Sahlo Folina’ on my right, in Josh’s. Between the impact these words had on me, and the time and heart she put into putting them together for me, those two lines sealed these songs on my heart forever.
BR: “ ‘Trees’ and ‘Holding On To You’ – I am a Christian and both of these songs make me feel closer to God.”
ES: “’My Blood.’ Depending on what I’m feeling, it means different things to me. Sometimes it’s about my faith. Sometimes it’s connects me to my family, my brothers who were there for me when life got hard. Sometimes, I hear it as my daughter needing me and me telling her I’ll always be there. Sometimes it’s my own personal ‘clique’ (people who are more than friends) who I’ll always be there for.”
MF: “I personally at a big connection to ‘Taxi Cab.’ I lost my cousin recently and it has helped me get through my heartache; the lyrics ‘and I say don’t be afraid’ ensures a sense of hope that can be often in short supply after such a sad loss of life.”
Having personally interviewed Twenty One Pilots at the first Alternative Press Music Awards, just as the band was about to release Blurryface, fans can see that the duo has come a long way.
Twenty One Pilots and their Bandito Tour will continue to zig-zag across the US through the end of November, before the band travels to Australia.