issue 400 launch twenty one pilots
[Photos by Ashely Osborn]

With Alternative Press issue 400, we celebrate a major milestone for the magazine. AP has continued to change with the times, staying in touch with the evolution of music and culture at large. However, we’ve never forgotten our commitment to championing “New Music Now.” In many ways, this issue looks back to our roots. As always, we insist on pushing forward into the future.

This month, beloved AP cover stars twenty one pilots make their return. They are joined by Knocked Loose, IDLES, SeeYouSpaceCowboy and many other artists. As always, we continue to highlight the broader culture that makes up the alternative world. The magazine highlights a number of multi-talented musicians such as skating legend/Urethane guitarist Steve Caballero, Avenged Sevenfold vocalist/NFT advocate M. Shadows and H2O leader/podcaster Toby Morse.

Read more: LILHUDDY and Joel Madden on new-era pop punk and owning who you are

In TØP’s latest cover appearance, the duo of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun spoke to Maria Sherman about everything from their early years to the present. Shot by the inimitable Ashley Osborn, the cover has four variants, all of which capture the personality and energy of the band.

One of the key points of conversation was TØP’s most recent album, Scaled And Icy, released in May. The project came out of the forced isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. One might expect the record to reflect the very reasonable uncertainty that many artists felt at the time.

Resisting the temptation to lean into negativity, they constructed a vibrant and uplifting album. The project flies in the face of a pervasive sense of despair that can at times feel insurmountable. It shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel, both for the band and for those of us who yearn for contact with the outside world.

During the interview, the band also revealed the hard work that has defined their career since the beginning, infusing every song they write. They also returned to their deep love of Ohio, a favorite topic for the Columbus, Ohio natives and our own Cleveland-born magazine. (“I was born and raised in Ohio. I liked it my whole life,” Dun reveals.)

Read more: Pierre Bouvier on collaborating with Beckett to write “Weirdo”—listen

Most of all, the discussion revealed the emotional depth that fuels the band on each and every project.

“When you’re creating something, you want to make sure that you’re tethered to reality still,” Joseph explains. “Even if you’re venturing deep into this abyss, tie rope around your waist. [You] keep it tied back to where you came from. These characters and the things talked about; I can’t not be talking about something that I’m personally going through. This person sitting right here, wearing this jacket, this person—” he taps his chest “—is also going through whatever is being written about. In some ways, there is escapism, but I like to believe that all those themes are tied back to reality.”

“It’s really important for Tyler and I to create and release music that we would listen to and that we do listen to and that we would be a fan of,” Dun adds. “That’s something that I don’t know if a lot of bands do. ‘Is this something that I personally would put on in my car? Would I enjoy this? Would I show my friends?’ All the songs eventually pass that test for both of us.”

Also in this issue:
  • AltPress highlights some of our favorite covers, from our early years to the present. We also hear from the creative minds who helped make our photoshoots jump out of the page.
  • Knocked Loose tell us about their surprise EP A Tear In The Fabric Of Life and why they went even deeper into seclusion to make it, recording the project in a cabin in the Smoky Mountains.
  • Lindsey Jordan, the mind behind Snail Mail, reveals how she fought the “sophomore slump” with her new album, Valentine.
  • After taking Britain by storm, IDLES reveal the vision behind their upcoming album Crawler and why they don’t want to be boxed in by the label “punk band.”
  • SeeYouSpaceCowboy’s vocalist Connie Sgarbossa recalls her roots in the hardcore scene, how she forged her own identity as a transgender woman within the genre and how the band’s The Romance Of Affliction is pushing back against the ways we romanticize struggle and pain.

Plus, get to know your new favorite artists Kid Bookie, Static Dress, Holly Humberstone and more.