Hit the Decks! It's Jagwar Twin

Photo by Ryan Flemming

Alt-pop star Jagwar Twin got his start in production when he was in high school.

"I had Garage Band and my mom had a computer in the kitchen, so I started learning how to use that and began recording myself," he says. "That led to working with a bunch of producers like Matt Wallace, Jeff Bhasker and Teddy Riley, and sort of learning how to produce and write while working with those guys. That’s how I learned how to do everything. All my tastes and influences were shaped back then and they’re still in my music today. Jagwar Twin kind of just happened when I was in the studio with S1. I met Matt Pauling and he started jamming on the stuff we were working on. He wasn’t really producing on his own back then, but I was like 'Woah, this guy’s incredible.' We ended up working together to make all the first Jagwar Twin music including 'Happy Face'."

Today, he describes his sound as, "Slavic rap-rock." (Yes, really.)

"I’ve been exploring my ancestors and my German, Polish, and Slavic roots, so I’ve been incorporating a lot more of those sounds in my music with instruments such as accordions and tubas," he says. "I was in the studio jamming on this accordion sort of vibe but I really wanted to mix in some German oompa music. That’s where the idea for flipping the Oompa Loompa sample came for my current song. It sounded crazy at the time, but the crazy ideas are usually the best ones."

Jagwar Twin's latest release is the Wonka-inspired “Bad Feeling (Oompa Loompa).”

"It’s pretty good," he says. "You should listen to it if you want. It’s all about trusting your intuition and trusting your gut in a time where the world feels upside down and so the music video kind of expands on that. I worked with an amazing director called Ganna Bogden and we put a lot of cool circus symbolism in the video that represents the circus of life and the light and the dark that comes with that. It has been pretty amazing to see the song go viral and to see so many people liking it and sharing it. It has taken on a life of its own… I’ve even heard rumors that it’s going to chart on Top 40. It’s crazy."

As for gear"

"My favorite mics are the Sony C800 and the Shure SM7B," he says. "I use the UAD stuff through my Apollo Twin that I bring everywhere and I’m in Logic, but often in Ableton and Pro Tools with other producers. The FabFilter and Soundtoys stuff is fantastic and, of course, I have an Angel Melodyhorn melodica that I use a lot. Beyond that, for songs like 'Happy Face,' Matt Pauling and I also did a lot of stuff on tape machines which we tuned to 444hz by calibrating the machines themselves."

Looking ahead, Jagwar Twin has plenty planned for 2024.

"I have a really cool L.A. show coming up where we're gonna do some sick projections and fog walls and all this cool stuff to really show what Jagwar Twin can be," he says. "My vision for Jagwar Twin has always been to have these Broadway-like shows, almost like a play and like a journey that that the audience goes on with you. So, we're doing the first iteration of that in LA. I’m hopefully going to get to go on a big tour after that and there will be lots and lots of new music."

Jagwar Twin's “Bad Feeling (Oompa Loompa)” is out now.