If you're the type of learner who needs off-the-wall, unorthodox, and high energy, you're probably already familiar with Twooba. Doubling as a YouTube guitar instructor and budding artist under the name "Hollow Bastion," Twooba is an internet personality on the rise, all from the HQ of her Chicago bedroom. We got to chat with her about all things from video game soundtracks, to GarageBand, and her biggest influences (which you can find featured on her Orangewood playlist).
Hey there Teagan! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today.
Thanks for having me!
Let’s start with the playlist you curated. It’s undoubtedly 30 bangers, back to back to back, but we have to ask: which three artists on here are your biggest influences?
Japanese Breakfast, Hop Along, and Snail Mail. Michelle Zauner, Frances Quinlan, and Lindsay Jordan are my holy trinity. Honestly, I have more like a holypentagon or something, but you said three artists. They are definitely my biggest inspirations. I couldn’t express how much I adore them. They are heroes to me and I really aspire to make music like them.
Speaking of your music, you’re releasing it under the name Hollow Bastion. I’ll never let a good Kingdom Hearts reference slip by; are video games a big inspiration for your music?
Oh yeah. I really love video game music. Especially Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. "Dearly Beloved" is a classic. The soundtracks are my favorite. Final Fantasy VII has got to be one of the best. Old JRPG’s are always magical, but there is so much great stuff out there and a wide range at that. The Last of Us theme is another great one; it’s played on a guitar-like instrument. Super grim sounding. I’m really excited about a soundtrack Michelle Zauner is doing for an upcoming video game called Sable. She is so cool. I’ve only heard one song from a trailer so far, but it sounds amaaaazing. I’d love to make a video game soundtrack one day.
Your most recent EP, Heaven Ain’t Even a Place, has a dreamy, nostalgic vibe that I think a lot of listeners can connect to. From GarageBand drums to alternate tuning, what were some of the themes you had in mind while writing the EP?
I think the main theme is DIY. I recorded and made the whole thing on my phone. You might be able to tell, but in a way it’s also part of the charm. Even the artwork for it is just me laying on my bed. I don’t have anything fancy. Every song I wrote was in C standard. I really like how C standard sounds on acoustic. It is a much fuller sound and it also makes playing easier because the strings are a lot looser. Another nice thing is you don’t have to learn any new chord shapes as you would with other alternate tunings because it's all relative to standard. You can have a normal open chord progression and it will just instantly sound better in C standard. I can never go back to standard. Messing around with different tunings also really helps with coming up with stuff when you’re stuck.
We loved hearing the Sage Torrefied Spruce Live on the EP! How does the acoustic guitar inspire you?
The acoustic guitar is going back to the basics. The cavemen didn’t have all these fancy electric guitars. What do you think they were playing? The acoustic. Acoustic instruments will always be superior. There is something so human and organic about it. It was made from a tree, goddamnit! Yes, electric guitars are too, but you know what I mean. There is just more depth and feeling.
You also wrote and produced the entire EP yourself. What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out as a musician?
My advice is to just start and don’t stop. The only thing that separates you from your favorite musicians is time spent dedicated to it. I gotta remind myself of that too. Anyone can make and record music in their own room with very little resources or money. You don’t need a record deal. It’s a great time to be a musician. Dudes will make videos saying you need this this and this. You need to buy this interface and then you need to spend this much on a laptop and then you need to buy a DAW and then you need to get these nice speakers. NEVER LISTEN TO A ‘DUDE’... In reality, if you are truly good at what you do you can make something with the resources you have. Anything extra will be a bonus. There is so much free stuff out there that is super legit. I'm just glad I have a phone; it’s amazing that an app like GarageBand is free. All it takes is time. One day I'll have a nice setup, but I’ll be patient for now.
When not making music, you produce a YouTube guitar channel that’s equally as entertaining as it is informational. How did you first get started on YouTube and what are some of your favorite videos to create?
I really found a niche and got blessed by the YouTube algorithm. The first video I made about guitar, which was me unboxing my Fender Mustang, I must’ve only had like 2,000 subscribers at the time. I hadn’t done any guitar content before, but people really liked it. It is still my most viewed video yet. After that, I made another guitar video and it also got a positive response, so I started doing more music content — things that I would have found helpful when I was learning. I never took any guitar lessons so I don’t know anything about music theory. I explain things in a way a typical guitar teacher wouldn’t. I’m not an old man. I think that’s also what people like. The videos I have the most fun with, by far, are the unboxing videos. I love opening stuff to say the least. It’s really special that I get to share the excitement and joy of trying out a new instrument with people. I don’t usually plan anything before an unboxing video. I just hit record and wing it.
We had such a blast listening to your playlist! Tell us more about the curation and what listeners can expect from your selections.
I picked songs that mean a lot to me, songs that I wish I made. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach their level one day.
If you could name your playlist anything, what would you name it?
I would name it “My Orangewood Playlist” ;)
Before we sign off, we’d love to know how to acquire official citizenship in TWOOBA NATION!
All you gotta do is not be an asshole.
Check out Twooba's guest playlist down below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.