Jagwar Twin | Going Beyond The Imaginable with “Bad Feeling (Oompa Loompa)”

Appreciating Musical Surrealism With His Latest Music Video

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Photographed by Ryan Flemming

In the light, airy notes of music comes something defined, poignant in capturing the world even when the world chooses not to be confined. There is tension here: just as music can be definitive in capturing true emotion, it can also be illustrative in distorting the boundaries between reality and imagination. In comes Jagwar Twin, an alt-pop sensation who’s latest single and music video go beyond mere spectacle and welcome musical surrealism. As he releases the cinematic official music video for his viral hit “Bad Feeling (Oompa Loompa),” you are transported to a new realm imbued with unrestrained creativity. If you listen closely, you can almost hear it– his imagination has run wild.

Backed with a troupe of dancers in what is a hippodrome visual reality, Jagwar Twin both lyrically and visually steps into his own private circus – trapezing as the ringleader while the music weaves together a hypnotic musing on disillusionment. Playful and powerful in cultivating new meaning within music, you begin to see a story unfolding in the video. In this moment– and every moment thereafter– Jagwar Twin makes it clear that he is more than just a singer, but a storyteller as well whose fruits of passion lie just beyond the imaginable. 

What was your inspiration visually for "Bad Feeling"? You use a lot of strong visual imagery in your music video including fireworks, large chess pieces and various carnival motifs, can you walk me through this symbolism? What do you hope people feel or walk away with after watching?

There's a lot of circus symbolism, representing the circus of life and the circus that we all find ourselves in, and there's play within light and darkness: a lot of checkers, black and white, and the interplay between light and dark or masculine and feminine. The chess game is this game that we've all come to the planet to choose to play in our different ways and games within games within games.

For people watching, I hope they, one, have a good time and, two, I hope they can see something of the world in the little carnival that we've made.

When you start a creative project like "Bad Feeling" does it consume you or do you strike a balance? Does your music and your personal life feel separate or very much attached?

They're so intertwined at this moment, my music life and my personal life. I'm pretty much always making music and making art, from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. I don't really have a personal life, especially at the moment, but also my best friends are people that I create with and work with, so I feel like I do have a great personal life and great friendships. It all feeds each other. I don't know if that's healthy, but there's no distinction at the moment.

Your music has been featured on many top chart playlists and charts including TikTok’s Viral 50 chart, what is your opinion on the movement of TikTok as a platform for music sharing?

I think it's like a lot of things. It's amazing and it's also terrifying. I think that anything with great power has the potential to be used for good or for evil. It's amazing that we can connect with billions of people around the world and it's also terrifying at the same time. With TikTok, information is moving so quickly and there's something awesome about that because we're learning things so fast but then there are downsides of that, too. I think with anything it's just our souls learning different lessons through whatever technology is presented to us at the moment and we just need to be wise with it.

Do you see overlap in where you draw inspiration for your music versus the artwork in your gallery Everything is Perfect? Why or why not? Where does this inspiration come from?

It's really all the same for me. It's all coming from the way that I see the world and kind of making sense out of nonsense. There are these intellectual ways to study things, but that's also nonsense. Everything is nonsense. Our minds just need to make sense of nonsense, but it's still nonsense at the end of the day. I think the things that I read, and study, and mythology, and all those things that I put in music, are the same things that I put into my art. Like at the 'Everything's Perfect' gallery... the artwork was very childlike drawings of these moths with seemingly nonsensical words attached to them, and then they're all spread out and crucified along the walls of this cave. It's childlike simplicity hiding these deep, deep codes of universe and that's the way I see Jagwar Twin's music. No one should think that it's deep. No one should think "Bad Feeling (Oompa Lompa)" is a deep song. Let's just have fun and jump around to it. If people want to dive in, that's great too, but my favorite stories are so simple. Those are the things we remember, like "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." It's simple and it's dumb, but it's also a code. I love that stuff.

How have you changed or grown as an artist since your breakout single “Happy Face”?

I'm just trying to get out of the way more. I think the more I can get out of the way, the better. Let things flow. Let things happen through me. I would like to think I'm doing a better job at that. Just letting the forces beyond guide where things go.

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Jagwar Twin, Bad Feeling (Oompa Loompa), Music Video, Music, Mariam Bagdady