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On MC! Magazine Cover: Twyse Ereme on Freedom, Finances & Emotions in Oct. – Dec. 2020 Issue| Download

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On Our Cover: Twyse Ereme On Freedom, Finances & Emotions

Meeting up with Twyse, as he is popularly known, was quite an adventure. On-screen and off-screen, you can’t help but notice his amiable demeanour.

A very warm and receptive chap, the first thing that strikes you about him is how he keeps it real. There is nothing phoney about him.

Twyse, real name Ereme Abraham Bankole, is a social media content creator popular for his rib-cracking comedy skits. Residing both in the UK and Nigeria, the comedian-filmmaker constantly acts on his interest in advocating for social change through comedy, by infusing key messages in his skits. Besides the humour, he has quite a charming and interesting personality. More noticeable is his chatty side which you will meet in this read.

For this edition of MC! Magazine, Phillip Francis and Chima Boluwatife had a chat with Twyse, experiencing his personal life, his finances and his touchy relationship with his mother.

MC!: Hey Twyse, what’s up?

TE: I’m alright

MC!: It is nice to sit and chat with you. Tell us about your journey

TE : Ah! if we start we no go leave here o. (chuckles) Anyways, I think it started about five years ago. I was making fun of myself and people were laughing about it. I had to make three characters for my family (dad, mom and child) and do the typical Nigerian scenario, and all that. With time it just grew from there.

MC!: Nice! So most of us can still remember your first major comedy post about Mom slamming the pan on your housekeeper in the kitchen. What prompted you to make that video? Was this a personal experience or was it a random choice?

TE : What video is this? Mom Slamming… or was it Dad?

MC!: Yes! That’s right

TE : On dad, okay, yeah that was one of my early videos. Yeah, What prompted that? I think it was at that point that I started realizing I wanted to add a little bit of VFX into what I was doing and at that point in time, my kitchen was very small but I still wanted to achieve, you know, the commotion between Dad and Mom as usual and how they love their child, and how each one of them spoils him more. So, I just brought in the idea, mixed up the plot…you know, I could do the pan hitting anyway but I wanted people to have something to talk about not just the humour but a little bit of VFX into it. I always like people saying different things about my videos, beyond just the laughter.

Photograph by Chukwuka Tolulope Obu for MC! Magazine

MC!: Alright, that particular video was hilarious but had underlying messages about domestic violence and physical abuse, so is it something you lend your hand and voice to? Is there some sort of partnership between you and relevant organizations?

TE: Right now, I don’t have any but I spoke with someone recently about it and I am inspired to talk about a few things like that – mental health issues and concerns.

The reason I did that anyway, was because I was just growing obviously, I wasn’t really informed. Everywhere was less sensitive than it is right now, but with time, I grew and I started bringing in political awareness and different societal happenings into my videos.

MC!: Speaking about like brands and endorsements and all that, you promote several brands across your platform, do any of these brands adhere strictly to your ideals or is it important to just give them what they want and get paid or do you turn them down if they’re not in line with what you want?

TE: When you’re talking about in-line are you talking about the ethics or what it takes to make the video?

MC!: A little bit of both

Okay, So for the ethics, I do not take anything I’m not really in love with.

TE: There is one such instance. They were advertising at a time and I think it was about voodoo. I was like “I’m not sure I’ll do this kind of thing”, so my manager insists that I take it but a day after, I was very happy Instagram deleted it so I was just like, cool!.

There are so many things that I don’t stand for. Then, regarding the work, I don’t know. With the ideas and stuff, I’ll always have problems with clients but the good thing is let’s say 10% of them end up understanding where we’re coming from and they know that this is our platform, we understood the viewers better so it’s about knowing what to give the viewers, what they want while incorporating your message into the video; so some of them do understand, but most times it’s a war.( Laughs)

On Our Cover: Twyse Ereme On Freedom, Finances & Emotions
Photograph by Chukwuka Tolulope Obu for MC! Magazine

MC!: Did you say 10%?

TE: 10! Yeah…

MC!: Wow!

TE: And, that 10%, are the people that are really patient with us but the rest don’t want to hear anything.

They’re like NO! Say all these things, write all the epistles, put this barge, do this one, and they never get satisfied there will be three reviews/drafts and all that.

MC!: You have a very large fan base. That is something that is very evident. On lnstagram, you have over 7.7M followers…

TE: Wow! (like, he didn’t know that already)

MC!: On Twitter, you have over 757k followers. That is a swell number for social media and since we know social media are very sensitive, there is appreciation as well as unwarranted negativity and I know it can be overwhelming at times, how do you handle all of that?

TE: So the thing is I watched some videos a long time, about four years ago and there was this girl always complaining about everyone that dislikes the video “bla bla bla” and what I really learnt from that video was like in as much as you talk about negativity from what I can see, from your page I see more positivity than negativity so why not embrace and you know, focus on those people that are saying positive things and actually appreciate them because now you’re making them feel stupid.

For me, I think there’s always way more positivity than the negative

what I usually do is if I see you talking trash about me like for instance you say “oh you’re not funny, you’re just acting like a gay” and all those stupid things they like saying. First thing I do is go to your page, check your profile, check your content. If I see something that is just… ( Which is what I do most times ) contrary to what you’ve said, I’ll just be like ore e ko ni meaning si mi {your words don’t have meaning to me } so I’ll just move on and that’s it. Most times it’s always like that. I’ve never seen a huge influencer/someone with substance give out negativity.

MC!: Okay. You’re relatively young and it’s quite inspiring to see how much you’ve accomplished in a few years, so tell us about your background and growing up.

TE: Ah yes! I’m very young! and background, oh okay so,

I lost my dad at a very young age. I think I was around two or three years old then, my mom was obviously distressed so she took me to go to my grandmother which was where I grew up and I thank God for my grandmother. If not, I won’t be doing skits today

because I feel like 200% of everything I ever learnt is from growing up with her, things I see on the street, most names in my skit are names of my family members or people on the street whom I was living with around that time.

So, growing up with her just influenced my mentality, the rugged relatable kind of Nigerian lifestyle. Also, growing up with my grandmother actually influenced most of the things I think about and my boarding school experience and yeah, just moving around basically.

On Our Cover: Twyse Ereme On Freedom, Finances & Emotions
Photograph by Chukwuka Tolulope Obu for MC! Magazine

MC!: At the risk of sounding corny, life is a journey with a lot of portholes, can you share a couple of major challenges you’ve encountered especially in the course of your work?

TE : I can’t really think of many because at first, I love what I do, but the real one that I think actually made me feel like I was crashing was around 2 years ago, you know I feel like, in everything in life, you may love it but at some point in time you’re like what’s next? You know, is there anything more? At that point in time, I felt really empty because all it felt like I was doing was, I release a video and people just put laughing emojis and then they move on but I have to think of something else, what’s next, what’s next, every time and there’ll be nothing really to make me feel as if I was evolving.

I think I was a little bit depressed at that point in life and I took a break of about eight to nine months, I think and in fact, people thought I had quit like I wasn’t doing any of those things again then I started getting some Ads and whatever so, obviously, you can be posting Ads without giving people what they like so I had to come back at some point and I realized what you were saying earlier today, the collaboration and all those things are just part of evolution. I realize that when I collaborate, this work is really less stressful, less tedious and a little bit more interesting because I also learn seeing as I am more of an indoor person because of this multi-character style, so yeah it was just that period I felt like I wasn’t really fulfilling much and it was just like a repetition of the cycle.

MC!: With your videos, it’s easy to decipher that you are multi-talented (acting and production). Is it just talent or you’ve had some solid training to be able to swing this?

TE: Not really huge training. I mean I went to India to study film but the first year was graphics, the second was animation. For me, once I don’t get what I want on time I just leave, So I think I left at the end of the first year because I was like I didn’t come here to design posters. Mehn!, so I just dropped out then I think it was just passion. There was this Nokia was it 58 or 5200 we used to use back then that we’ll pause and play and do this you know teleport thing kind of effect so it was at that point that I started doing more interest… what’s the question again?

I don’t think it was really about the talent. It was just the interest because I watched a lot of YouTube tutorials and that helped with everything I do.

MC! : Creativity and consistency are two key things that can be easily seen from your works. How do you keep the balance?

TE : I think creativity is a very good element especially if you’re starting up and based on the fact that I’ve been doing this for a while the only thing that is going to keep me there is consistency right? So you have to do a lot of mixing too even if it’s not easy to be consistent, you just have to understand that this is what you do maybe for a living or as a passion or something, so always give it as much attention as required but it has never been too hard because both go hand-in-hand so it’s like a complementary product, if you must buy a brush, you must buy some toothpaste.

Photograph by Chukwuka Tolulope Obu for MC! Magazine

MC!: You’re a comedian. However, it takes more than laughs to be able to coordinate acting, production, editing and even swinging business deals. Is it passion or enhancing your skills that is the enabling factor?

TE : Hmmm… I think it’s a bit of both and some of my friends that I work with, especially if I have to do my next film, I don’t know if you’ll be around… I doubt. But most people tell me I’m a very different person when it comes to doing big projects and something that most of them say in one of my EP is that I’m a perfectionist. I do not see myself that way, in fact, I feel like I’m the exact opposite but everyone agrees to that so I guess… but when I sit to think about it, I’m someone who after I might have made a script now, I’ll still read it ten times before I shoot.

While I’m shooting I’ll still try to ask myself “is this script actually making sense?” so it’s kind of the fact that I over-analyze things and yeah.

Another reason why I over-analyze is that, for instance, if I drop this content, if people don’t like it, I don’t want it to be an issue of “oh I forgot to do this” I just want it to be an issue of “I wanna improve”.

MC! : Making the most of what you have is what counts. When the ovation has died down from comedy, how do you hope to keep yourself relevant in the industry? Any plans for something related or totally different from what you’re doing now?

TE : So the interesting thing which I always try to say as an underlying message, is that skit is like the vehicle that is taking me to where I’m actually meant to be.

I actually want to be a filmmaker you know. I want to be behind the camera, I want to do a lot of production with people, not necessarily direct or act even though I’m going to love acting so skit is just my way of getting to my audience

and that is why every time I like to sit back and relax and be like okay you need to actually do what you’ve always intended to do in the first place so, I try to drop something film-like and not necessarily skit every time, so I don’t get too distracted and lose the audience overall. The main aim has always been to be a filmmaker.

MC! : There is a lot of stiff competition in your industry. What gives you the edge above others?

TE : I think in the early stages of skit-making we used to try to do some things other people do and I flopped badly. I had to delete those videos because I figured I was trying to be someone else and when I sat down and actually thought about it, I realized that no one is necessarily doing the kind of things I do in the sense that I have a family setting and tomorrow someone can join the family. This is why I also say anyone can do what I’m doing is the fact. Obviously, there are other people now doing that kind of family setting but the thing is whatever I experienced growing up with my grandma will always be different from whatever you experienced. Even if it is the same thing, it will come out in different ways. Like someone always says, they say there is no new idea, it is always a refurbished idea and “stuff’.

MC! : You are based in the UK. It’s quite impressive how you keep it going even with your Nigerian audience. What’s your way of keeping a balance between your audiences?

TE : The truth is that I’m more of an indoor person and I shoot most of my videos indoors so until I started saying I was in the UK, most Nigerians that were watching didn’t even know I was in the UK because I hadn’t done outdoor videos in Nigeria. So, what just makes it balanced for me is the fact that people are watching and that’s really why you should never underestimate the power of social media because imagine I had to wait till I come to Nigeria before I start doing this, no one will even give a f*ck right now because everyone is doing it already so social media and the way news just travels really helped plus the fact that I’m just more of an indoor person.

On Our Cover: Twyse Ereme On Freedom, Finances & Emotions
Photograph by Chukwuka Tolulope Obu for MC! Magazine

MC! : Hubris easily gets in the way when you’re at the pinnacle of your game( it’s human nature). You keep it real and controlled. Do you care to share how you do this?

I think the number one thing is I don’t see myself as a celeb. I just see myself catering to people’s needs. You know at the end of the day for me I feel like people follow me because when they come they get entertained.

TE: They are not following me because I’m Bill Clinton or I’m one mad ass Michael Jackson or stuff like that, in fact, whoever they follow in this life is because of what they get from him/her so I try to always have that at the back of my mind that I’m not God-like, please. Things switched up for me because I used to have people I look up to, so when I see people looking up to me it actually makes me understand that you know in this life, things go in turn and anybody can be at the pinnacle at any point in time so you’re not too important, don’t feel too important and apart from that anytime my mom talks to me she makes me feel like a little boy, my mom is the only person that makes me feel like she can be talking to me while she tells me to go and wash dishes I’ll just behave like her child and not really care who I am so our conversations just remind me that at the end of the day I’m just dust, I’m just entertaining people, that’s it and as long as I’m happy doing what I’m doing, cool.

MC!: So I know that was supposed to be the final question but what you answered made me want to ask you something else. Tell us about your relationship with your mom because I know you guys are very close but I also know you like to keep your private life super private and away from all of the drama that comes with social media and being a celebrity but, tell us a little bit… let them know they heard it here first.

TE : Actually I don’t really post my friends, family and stuff like that and it is part of the care and love I have for them. Actually, there’s someone I did that for and the reason I did that for him was that I felt like he could defend himself at any time and he can even defend me so I’m really cool with it but apart from that, I don’t really post my family because it’s my business and I don’t think it’s for my fans. They’re just there for entertainment and they don’t need to have an opinion as to who I make my friend, my girlfriend, my wife, my mom, you know. Initially, I think there was a point in time when I just started, I posted my mom’s picture and as soon as I developed this new mentality, I deleted and I’m like “a h I don’t want someone kidnapping”, in fact, people even knew my mom like after I deleted that post, so I was like imagine if I didn’t what would have happened to my mom and her safety.

So, anyway my mom and I’s relationship is weird like man, there are some deep things I won’t be able to go into. After I lost my Dad it was a roller coaster. My mom was in terrible relationships and I think the final one which seemed like the best – she loved this guy and they got married while I was in school in my absence and that was intentional because I didn’t even get to know. When I came back, it was my aunt who was taking out pictures showing me and stuff. I was just like you don’t have to keep this a secret but anyways my mom was so In love! I don’t want to believe in voodoo, I just want to believe she was so in love and it was just like I was just a shadow there and that was the only thing she really cared about. I don’t lie about it, my mom cares a lot about my education as she’ll literally spend anything so when it comes to welfare she believes education just sorts out everything else and I believe the same thing.

With most African feel like once your parents, some just go to school, “I’m doing my best for you, you know I don’t care about moral support you know”, feeding wasn’t even a problem, I just had to eat what she was eating so… but yeah.

But then, it got to a point where she said something ( I’m getting deep now ) she said something about… I think it was a mistake obviously like a slip of tongue about me being a liability and I took that into my head, my brain in fact. I tried to forget about it, I went to my A-Levels lecture that day but I came back and apparently I was putting up a mood for everybody and I realized I was still thinking about this. So while I was trying to sleep “Liability” just kept echoing in my head and I told myself, what do I do in order not to be a liability. I think I was around 17 or 18 then oh I think I was around 20 then.

Photograph by Chukwuka Tolulope Obu for MC! Magazine

So I asked myself “what do I do in order not to be a liability?” And the thing was to be independent, alright? So I left the house and I lost contact with my mom and I broke my sim, I did everything just to make sure it looks like I’m the only mom in this world so at some point in time I traveled to India to school and they needed approval of my parents so it was so deep I even went to get a fake parent then. During the whole thing, I was like you know what actually I want my mom to know I was leaving this country but don’t worry I’ll keep in touch. I didn’t have my mom’s contact, no I have my mom’s number. I actually called her, she didn’t pick so I didn’t bother again so I sent a message on Facebook to my aunt who connected me to my mom. I got to my mom and apparently, my mom had lost almost everything, like she was doing very well, very good before I left the house…but at that point, my mom had already lost everything and the last card she had on her she said she was going to use it to support me and where I was going to but that still didn’t make me feel like staying back because I mean the agony, I’ve slept on the floor, I’ve done some stupid jobs like I don’t even want to talk about some of the things I’ve eaten but yeah maybe that’s why I eat a lot of trash now but anyway I’m just saying this for people that might be going through a similar situation not like I’m trying to expose my mom or whatever because I know we’ve gone past that now.

So, I still ended up going and when I left, I think, was when my mom decided “okay I’m done trying to be in a relationship with someone else, nobody will ever replace your dad, and things like that” and I started getting close… obviously now there’s no man beside her so I need to be there for her whether I like it or not, she’ll call me sometimes and give me gist I don’t even want to hear but the love is there and I just have to give her that audience and ‘stuff” so from there we’ve just been growing and as we were growing… Actually, a lot of things that happened while I was growing up made me forget about everything that happened with the “liability” thing because to think about it she was the only person that actually contributed to my growth, growing up whether I admit it or not. So, that bond is always there and I feel like she contributed to what I am today because she didn’t like it at first but my stubbornness won. Everything added up and made me who I am and I won’t lie, most of my inspiration comes from her and my dad, then my grand-mom but when I think about my mom (mom’s phone call interrupts) so yeah, I could kill anybody actually for her because my mom is one of my very very close friends.

MC!: That was quite an intense and revealing one. Let’s talk about financial freedom. For someone who lives both in the UK and Nigeria, considering the Nigerian economy and the high cost of living in the UK, how do you manage to stay afloat and make wise financial decisions?

TE: I just make sure my income is more than my expenses Once there’s a sign that things aren’t adding up, I do other jobs like shoot music videos and host events. I’m also an introvert so once there’s food at home, I barely spend.

Although generally, it’s easier in Nigeria because asides from the cheaper cost of living, I’m closer to my market (A larger Nigerian fanbase). Once I weigh my options and can figure out which brings me more opportunities, I’ll lean towards that. I still think it’s Nigeria though but Uk also has its benefits. In short, anywhere outside Nigeria has its benefits (where is the lie?)


1 Comment

  1. This is very interesting,I took my time and sat down alone reading this,wow this is really amazing that is whatever the situation you’re or you meet yourself never look back just keep going if people are not encouraging you “mehn”encouraging yourself I learnt a lot of things from this,TWYSE EREME continue to shine from glory to glory I really love all you skit infact I can watch it throughout a day 😘 much love from here and I Would love to meet you.

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