Bands are not only about the music, but rather about the presentation of the concepts and marketed emotions that play into the hearts of the fans. This is most frequently presented in the context of the clothing and marketing materials. For example, a photograph or flyer that displays the artist in a cowboy hat would be indicative of an artist who plays country or folk music. A flyer or album cover that displays an artist wearing dark clothing or masks would likely be indicative of a rock or metal core genre. Simply presenting such clothing or costumes allows the band to express their overall message without the necessity for the viewer to actually become a listener. This allows the viewer to choose whether or not they would enjoy the music simply based on the recognition of the genre. For the purpose of displaying this concept, the band Twenty One Pilots has been chosen.
The band consists of vocalist Tyler Joseph and percussionist Josh Dun. Author Matthew Keever explains that the band focuses on the ability to shock the audience and to make them think about things that would typically be considered outside of their comfort zone. The artist consider themselves as part of the audience and the audience as part of themselves. In other words, they enjoy the show as much as the audience does and finds the messages to be as directed towards their own lives as they are to the audience. Notably, these messages may never reach the masses as the band does not function in the mainstream of pop music and often present themselves as being outside of cultural norms. This presentation leads into my personal interpretation of the band in the form of a promotional flyer.
The presented flyer shows very much while also showing very little. This is customary considering the fact that the band does not specifically tell the audience what to think so much as the band requests that the band is willing to ask the audience to think for themselves. The female in the image is attempting to find the way to think for herself. Although the band emphasizes the need to think in the communal context, there is also a need to have individualism within the audience. The issue in the image then presents itself as “where is the community” and the female portrayed feels lost in her own pursuit.
This is essentially the battle with the younger generation. The pursuit of individualism quickly gets lost in the pursuit for community. However, the community often forsakes the youth in order to gain advancement. Then, without exception, the youth is lost and alone. The flyer represents the bands understanding of a person in the younger generation as they feel lost. The youth feels abandoned. The youth needs to know how to be themselves while still working towards improving a community that seems to have abandoned them.
The purpose of the color distortion within the flyer is based on the distortion of emotions that the band inflicts upon the audience. For the most part, the band portrays life in black and white. There are some things that are simply right and there are some things that are simply wrong. The band is not afraid to specifically call these areas of ethics out for the purpose of profit. In fact, Keever explains that the band states that profit is of little concern as they are content with meager living. Yet the band calls for a focus from their audience and they are not afraid of subjecting the audience to imagery or lyrics that instill fear of the overall human nature.
The flyer also offers a representation of red. This imagery can be taken in a number of contexts. This is important to the band because they do not ask the audience to see the world in one specific way but rather seeks to make the audience think. In other words, a random splash of red allows the audience to see blood or hatred. Twenty One Pilots says that this is okay. The imagery also allows other members of the audience to see love and hope. This is also an acceptable interpretation as the principle goal is not to regulate one’s thoughts but rather to encourage the concept of thought.
When the world hears music, it forms an opinion. When the world sees an image, they are allowed to form an opinion outside of cultural norms. The band, Twenty One Pilots does not reform to social norms but it does recognize the burden of this necessity. The presented flyer shows that the average individual sometimes feels alone and interprets life differently than others. The flyer shows that this is okay and that the band understands that difference is okay. The flyer also shows that the band functions outside of the social norms because it shows the parts of life that people do not want to recognize. It shows that loneliness, even in a long hallway that may be filled with others, can feel lonely to those who suffer. The flyer, in essence, shows the acceptance and understanding of this suffering. The flyer shows that suffering does not have to be endured alone. Suffering can be diminished through music.
- Keever, Matthew. “STAGES ARE BIGGER, BUT TWENTY ONE PILOTS STILL HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE.” Houston Press. Houston Press, 02 Oct. 2015. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.