As the duo make promotional stops around Europe for their latest studio album, Trench, it looks like the members of twenty one pilots are being asked to delve deeper into the meaning of their mysterious new in-universe character, Ned.
In case you’re in need of a Ned-fresher, the entity first appeared as a strange, white, Furby-looking creature in the “Chlorine” music video. The swimming pool-themed clip for the fifth proper Trench single—which followed forerunners “My Blood,” “Levitate,” “Nico And The Niners” and “Jumpsuit” from the group’s vulture-adorned fifth album—seemingly aimed to further flesh out the band’s fan-driven Dema universe.
And, unless we’re sipping on chlorine, it appears TØP vocalist Tyler Joseph attempts to elucidate what Ned stacks up to—for both himself and bandmate Josh Dun—in this interview with Ukrainian show Music Box. See for yourself, below.
In the above clip, which is available with translated English subtitles, Joseph discusses what Ned represents, as pointed out by the Clique members doing God’s work over on Reddit. The portion starts at around a minute into the interview.
After filling in a few blanks on the scope of Ned’s symbolism, the twenty one pilots frontman underscores a particular scene at the end of the “Chlorine” video. Is a shot of Dun’s leg an Easter egg that possibly points to Ned’s big picture?
“Yeah, Ned is a cool guy. He’s our friend who represents a lot of things. It’s hard to explain, Ned is our friend in real life, he was the director of this video. We’ve been friends and cooperating for a long time and it’s very cool to work with loved ones, the projects turn out to be very special, we really feel each other. By the way, have you noticed that in the end when I’m sitting inside an empty pool, exhausted and tired, the camera moves towards me and at this moment Josh is passing in front of it, but you don’t know that it’s him because it’s only his leg? So, I’m sitting in the pool, wet from head to foot, and just for this shot we eventually doused Josh with cold water too. It was unnecessary because you can’t see him at all, but it was really awesome!”
And that’s not all! Because, in a completely separate interview, Joseph adds even more to the Ned’s effect inside of twenty one pilots’ endlessly imaginative world, the singer putting forth that Ned’s driving force is the “idea of creativity.”
In a video chat available on Russian social media service VK, and transcribed here on Reddit, you can take in Joseph’s explanation of how Ned’s birth actually helped form the basis of Trench. And eventually “saved” the album:
“Ned really does represent a lot of things but specifically, I guess you would say… it really represents this idea of creativity and trying to take care of it and trying to please it… or appease it. It’s kinda that thing in you that tells you whether or not something is good and when you get to the stage we’re at you realize listening to that becomes more and more important because a lot of people start talking and trying to influence you and the decisions you can make creatively. And so… yeah, Ned saved us. We made the record we made because of Ned. He’s on tour with us now, he’s got his own bunk on the tour bus. He couldn’t make it to the interview today, he slept in. He’s bad with alarms but I think we’ll be able to wake him for the show tonight.”
But, before we go any further, make sure you don’t call Ned a gremlin! That’s a misnomer that Joseph quickly clears up: “Yeah, he’s not a gremlin!” the singer states at one point. “He doesn’t like that! Don’t call him a gremlin.”
Talk about saddling ol’ Ned with a whole lot of importance! What else will the strange character get up to in TØP land? Be on the lookout for any more Ned appearances as the pilots take over the entire world on their massive Bandito Tour.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments.