twenty one pilots‘ Tyler Joseph has been keeping busy while in quarantine. Last week, he gave a social distancing interview and talked about his new love for Tiger King. This week, Joseph is sharing some more information surrounding the world of Dema.
In the recent interview, Joseph was asked a series of questions pertaining to twenty one pilots’ music. One of the first questions asked is whether or not there is more to be discovered in the world of Dema. Dema originated during the Trench album cycle. The city is referenced throughout the album and has sparked a number of fan theories over the years.
“There’s definitely a few things,” he says. “There was a moment in time where I wanted to put an emphasis on why we are supposed to leave Dema. I don’t know if that was ever fully understood or realized. It has a lot to do with the religion inside the city of Dema called vialism. There’s a secret about why vialism is not good and when you discover this secret, it’s the reason why you want to leave Dema. But, it takes a while to discover the secret.”
Joseph then dives into the interview by talking about their controversial song “Neon Gravestones” and how it pertains to vialism and Dema. Tackling the importance of suicide awareness, the song off of Trench is an important moment on the album. It is also an important song within twenty one pilots’ world of Dema.
Joseph candidly shares in the interview that a lot of record executives did not want “Neon Gravestones” included on Trench.
“When [Atlantic Records] heard that song, there was a lot of red flags,” Joseph shares. “They all listened to it and were extremely concerned about how it was going to come off. They described it as this giant landmine in the middle of the record.”
Joseph further elaborates that many label executives felt that the song could take away from the happy moments found on Trench. However, for Joseph and Josh Dun, they viewed “Neon Gravestones” as a message of hope for listeners as well as a call to action.
The decision to include “Neon Gravestones” on Trench was a battle between the band and the label. Many executives believed that “Neon Gravestones” could lead to the end of twenty one pilots’ career if it was taken the wrong way as a pro-suicide message.
“When ‘Neon Gravestones’ came around, it was another reason for them [the label] to show that ‘I don’t think this is the right direction for this record,'” he shares. “‘You could lose your career if this song isn’t taken the right way.'”
For Joseph, he felt that “Neon Gravestones” was key in telling the story of Dema. This is when he transitions back to talking about Dema’s religion of vialism.
After describing the vialism religion, Joseph shares that after the label’s negative reaction to “Neon Gravestones,” the vialsim narrative within Dema took the backseat for a while. Now, he is sharing that some of the details surrounding vialism and how its key role in the world of Dema is still to be discovered.
“The religion itself is the antagonist of this story,” he says. “There’s a lot about that religion and how it disguises itself as a good thing that hasn’t totally been realized yet.”
In the interview, Joseph also talks more about dma.org, a website where the band hid clues about Dema. The clues included written letters from a character called Clancy. Fans found the website while the band was on hiatus before releasing Trench causing a frenzy of fan theories to begin. These theories both inspired and amazed Joseph, as he shares in the new interview.
“[dma.org] could have been this time capsule that lived for years and was never realized until however many years later,” he says. “But to watch it get uncovered and be discussed was exciting.”
Joseph also reveals that he was still in the writing process for Trench when fans first discovered dma.org. The theories and speculation surrounding the world behind Trench greatly influenced the writing Joseph did for the record.
“It was this exciting time for me,” he says. “I didn’t realize how much I could be inspired by a group of people that I barely knew. It was kind of a breath of fresh air. To keep up with what people were finding was, in turn, kind of this thing that was also inspiring songs.”
As the story of Dema was slowly revealed to fans for the first time, Joseph used this experience to write their song “Pet Cheetah.”
“‘Pet Cheetah‘ was written after we had released that stuff and after we started to unveil the story of Dema,” he says. “The lyric and the rap talking about ‘this clique’ and what it means to me, that was written the night we were uncovering how you guys were reacting to it.”
The full interview with Tyler Joseph is available to listen to below.
What do you think is in store next for the world of Dema? Let us know in the comments below.