Vessel is the third studio album by American musical duo Twenty One Pilots, which was released on January 8, 2013. It is the band's first album released via Fueled by Ramen, and is their major-label debut album. As of July 2016, the album has sold over 569,000 copies.
High-school colleagues Tyler Joseph, Nick Thomas, and Chris Salih formed Twenty One Pilots in 2009. The group released their debut album Twenty One Pilots. Both Thomas and Salih parted ways with the band in 2011. Soon afterwards Josh Dun joined the band; Joseph had been friends with Dun for around a year. Joseph first saw Dun when he was playing a show with House of Heroes. Joseph said that he "loved" the performance. The band released Regional at Best later that year. In June, the duo played their first out-of-state show to a group of 12 people. The pair soon gained popularity through a series of videos made by friend Mark C. Eshleman. The band played their last show as an unsigned band at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio to a crowd of 1,800 in attendance. The duo signed with Fueled by Ramen in 2012.
Joseph composed the album "not knowing whether or not people were going to hear it".
Recording for Vessel took place at Rocket Carousel Studio, located in Los Angeles, California with Greg Wells producing. Wells provided additional synths, keyboards and programming. Wells mixed the album, while Ian McGregor helped with recording. Mastering was performed by Howie Weinberg and Dan Gerbarg at Howie Weinberg Mastering, also in Los Angeles.
In the summer of 2012, Twenty One Pilots released the Three Songs EP, which featured the tracks "Guns for Hands", "Migraine", and "Ode to Sleep". On September 11, "Holding On to You" was released as a single. On December 18, the album was made available for streaming via Entertainment Weekly. Vessel was released through Fueled by Ramen on January 8, 2013. The two elderly men pictured on the album cover are Joseph and Dun's grandfathers. The pair did it to see what the label's reaction was and when the label said yes the group said "Okay, maybe this is going to work!" In an interview, Joseph spoke on the meaning behind the album's name, saying that a vessel (our body) is an object carrying something far more important than the outer shell, and when we die, that is set free and lives on.
"Lovely" was released as a single in Japan on April 17, 2013, and included as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of Vessel. "House of Gold" was released as a radio single on August 6. On September 15, "Fake You Out" was released as a single. On October 4, the music video for "House of Gold" was released. The video was directed by Warren Kommers and filmed on Will Smith's ranch outside of Los Angeles, California. "Car Radio" was released as a radio single on March 18, 2014.
Vessel received positive reviews upon release. Jason Pettigrew, writing for Alternative Press, praised the album's multi-genre influence: "The major-label debut by Twenty One Pilots traipses across electropop, hip hop and classic pop music—and that's just the first song." In a more negative review, Rolling Stone's Dave DiMartino wrote: "The duo has somehow managed to take the most disagreeable and obnoxious aspects of the past decade's "rap-rock" legacy, throw in some of the most aggravating melodic aspects of Linkin Park and Blink-182, and put together a new album that will surely make you want to decry ever liking rock 'n' roll at least three times before a cock crows."
In May 2015, it was announced the album had sold 265,000 copies in the United States. The album has consistently sold more than 1,000 copies a week since its release. By December, the album's U.S. sales stood at 375,000. By July 2016, the album had sold over 569,000 copies in the U.S.
To help support the album, the band toured internationally throughout the year. In 2014, Twenty One Pilots played a number of music festivals and other events all around the country which focused mainly on the album, such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Boston Calling, and Firefly. As a result, they took the show requests from different cities and blended them into the Quiet Is Violent World Tour, which began in September 2014, and ended the same year.
All tracks written by Tyler Joseph, except for "Holding On to You", written by Tyler Joseph, Maurice Gleaton, Charles Hammond, Robert Hill, Deangelo Hunt, Bernard Leverette, Gerald Tiller and Jamall Willingham.
Personnel per booklet.Josh Dun – drums, auxiliary percussion
Tyler Joseph – programming, piano, keys, vocals, ukulele, bass
Greg Wells – additional synths, programming, additional keyboards
Greg Wells – producer, mixing
Tyler Joseph – additional production
Ian McGregor – recording
Howie Weinberg, Dan Gerbarg – mastering
Reel Bear Media, Virgilio Tzaj – art direction, design
Reel Bear Media – photography
Rob Gold – art manager
Josh Skubel – packaging production
Ode to Sleep on YouTube
Holding On to You on YouTube
House of Gold on YouTube
Car Radio on YouTube
Guns for Hands on YouTube
Truce on YouTube
Lovely on Vimeo
Migraine on Vimeo