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Twenty One Pilots Talks Backing Tracks, Makeup and Religion

Credit: Jabari JacobsTwenty One Pilots may be made up of just two people, but they make a lot of noise on stage. They achieve that in part by using backing tracks. While the use of backing tracks is often frowned upon in today's rock scene, the Columbus, Ohio duo don't agree with that line of thinking.

"We just want to outdo ourselves every time we come back somewhere," frontman Tyler Joseph tells the U.K.'s Evening Standard. "Some people would look at a backing track as something that would confine you but it really frees us up. It's nice not to be strapped down to a certain spot when you're trying to put on a show."

Twenty One Pilots also put on a striking visual show, and Joseph now walks on stage with his neck and hands coated in black makeup.

"Insecurity for me feels like the sensation of suffocating. So that’s why I do the neck thing," says Joseph. "The other thing I'm most insecure about is saying, 'This is what I created. This is mine. This is the best  I can do.' So there's black on my hands to represent that."

"The live show is a moment where that character is realized and confronted and hopefully conquered," he continues. "As the show goes on, the makeup starts to wear away."

Twenty One Pilots are also known for their Christian background, a fact that they've always been open about.

"It's not like we grew up hanging around in church every day," says drummer Josh Dun. "We'll always stick to what we feel is right for us to do, and I don't think either of us have had a hard time saying, 'This is who I am, and I'm fine with it.'"

"You hear about our conservative background and know that we're Christian guys but we're not timid at all," adds Joseph. "I will take anyone on when it comes to outworking them or putting on a better show or standing up for people who are being put down."

Twenty One Pilots will embark on their Emotional Roadshow North American tour, including a two-night headlining stand at New York City's Madison Square Garden, starting next summer.

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