Twenty One Pilots Talks the Origins of “Stressed Out” in “Billboard” Cover Story

ABC/Randy HolmesTwenty One Pilots' multi-genre breakout hit "Stressed Out" may have been dubbed a "millennial anthem," but frontman Tyler Joseph doesn't see it that way. In an interview for this week's Billboard cover story, the singing half of the Columbus, Ohio duo -- the other half being drummer Josh Dun -- says he "wasn't thinking about any of that stuff," when he wrote "Stressed Out."

"I was thinking about my brother and our relationship now and our relationship when we were growing up," Joseph says. "He was my only friend for a big part of my life. I don’t think that’s a generational thing -- I think my dad relates to that song as much as I do."

In fact, "Stressed Out" wasn't even meant to be a single -- as the second song on Twenty One Pilots' latest album, Blurryface, the track was written to set up the story of the record's eponymous character.

"Blurryface is this character that I came up with that represents a certain level of insecurity," says Joseph. "These symbols and having a narrative give people a reason to want to take in the whole album -- not just one song."

"The concept of a single is still pretty foreign to us," he adds. Overall, the fame and success they accumulated with "Stressed Out" and Blurryface are foreign concepts to the duo.

"The way I view a lot of the success that has happened recently is that it's going to go away," says Joseph. "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."

This summer, Twenty One Pilots will embark on their Emotional Roadshow tour, which concludes in August with two sold-out shows at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

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