"The record Blurryface kind of conquers an issue with certain insecurities and I think that the people who have listened to the record and really kind of bought into what we're trying to say -- they've really resonated with some of the content," lead singer Tyler Joseph told MTV News backstage at the VMAs. "That's why we're here. That's why we're doing this. I want people to hear our music. I want people to hear what we're trying to say"
If you haven't heard the band's newest record (go listen now), the character of Blurryface is basically a personification of insecurities -- and Joseph often represents him on stage by donning black paint on his neck and hands. And, despite sounding kind of terrifying, the concept has been comforting to fans -- as have the guys, who are all about staying true to who you are. Case in point: Drummer Josh Dun recently called up teen Veronica Vela, whose principal threatened to ban her from graduation due to her Twenty One Pilots-inspired hair.
"It's interesting because a lot of people that we'll come in contact with come from a similar place," Dun told us. The band comes from Columbus, Ohio, and Vela hails from a small town in Texas.
"The first day of my senior year my principal came to me and told me that I needed to cut my hair ... he told me, 'You can be rock and roll after high school,'" Dun said. "Then probably a year after I graduated I was in the airport flying to Amsterdam for a festival there and I was coming out of the bathroom and he walked in." When his principal asked what he was doing at the airport, Dun said: "I'm doing the rock and roll thing like you told me to."
The ultimate, "Told you so."
And that was BEFORE the guys were on the docket to play the VMAs. The band is set to take the stage with A$AP Rocky Sunday night -- and that's about all we can tell you for now (sorry!). Tyler did tell us, however, that the trio hit it off right away, despite having never met before. "He reminded me of so many friends that I had growing up," he said. And, despite making pretty different music, they have a lot in common in one respect.
"We've learned how important it is to be yourself -- and that's such a cliched thing to say," Tyler said. "There's two types of people who have a freedom to just be themselves. The first type of person is a tastemaker -- someone who's ahead of the game and knows where the next fad is going, and they can be themselves because they don't really follow anyone, they're setting the trends. I would describe A$AP Rocky as one of those guys. And then the other form of someone who knows how to be themselves is someone who is just OK with being ignorant to what's happening -- trying not to follow something but trying to create something that's your own and it may not be cool to everyone, it may not fit sometimes, but it's still yours. ... When those two people come together, Rocky and us performing, it's going to be a cool moment."
I'm pretty sure that in this case "I can't wait" is an understatement.