Nothing moves until Jordan “Detune” DiSorbo enters the room. When he closes one door, another opens. It doesn’t fly open, like something out of a jump-scare horror flick. It opens slowly, with a creak, before DiSorbo notices. With one camera pointing straight at the door and another filming his face, viewers live on Twitch can see his stunned reaction when something even creepier happens: A music box starts to play.
DiSorbo started streaming in 2018, seriously pursuing it as a career in 2019, he told Polygon. He’s seen success over the years, transitioning from Overwatch to horror games while building a community. His fans show up for his playful brand of comedy paired with that horror. And in 2022, he started an IRL investigative series called Paranormal Detour. He built out an extensive, portable streaming kit and started visiting haunted places across the United States.
Beyond streaming, DiSorbo balances Twitch and YouTube while touring the U.S. as a musician with post-hardcore band Glasslands. Ahead of TwitchCon, Polygon spoke to DiSorbo about how he built up this career.
[Ed. note: This story has been edited for length and clarity.]
Polygon: When did you start streaming? Has your content changed over the years?
DiSorbo: I started streaming as a hobby around 2018. It was an escape for me, because I was a music producer full-time. I was touring. And when I was home, I was producing, writing music for other people. And it started becoming a grind. I was working 14-hour days, almost every day, forgetting to take days off. Two years in a row, my mom’s birthday and Christmas were the only days I took off. And I was like, I have to change, because I’m going to end up despising music; it’s going to be a whole thing.
So I turned to Twitch, because me and my friend were talking about streaming for fun. My brain was like, Okay, it’s like something you can grow. I can trick that little workaholic part of my brain to be like, Play video games and have fun.
I started with Overwatch, because I did that semi-pro for a while, and then pivoted to horror games, because I love feeling scared. That started the trajectory for the rest of my streaming career. I didn’t take it for real and actually try to make this a career until 2019, beginning of 2020. I really leaned into community building. I wanted to create a space on the internet that I didn’t have growing up being a pansexual person of color. There were not a lot of spaces I could comfortably walk in. I want to build what I didn’t have.
Last year, I started an IRL paranormal series. It was a silly idea I had one day and even some of my original community members remember the light bulb turn on. [...] I spent a year and a half researching on how to pull that off — how to create the backpack, the tech, the multi-cam. It’s held together by duct tape, but it works.
That set another new path for my streaming career. I’m the only one on Twitch who does it, especially at this level of production, being a solo person too. But I absolutely love it. I get to meet my friends around the country. I do bring different guests and it’s like I’m meeting internet friends for the first time in real life.
I wanted to bring up the ghost hunting because I hadn’t seen anything like that on Twitch before. How do you pull it off?
Streaming got me used to camera usage and my spouse does wedding films. They understand how everything works. I sat down and was like, “I would love to set up my paranormal IRL streams to feel like a gameplay stream at home.” And the biggest thing I wanted was a face camera because that’s the focal point of any stream — they want to see your reaction.
I take that backpack and all of the gizmos and gadgets in there, stream it to a server, [then send that data] to my computer at home, controlled all from my phone. My computer at home is doing all the streaming. I have four streams going at once all to the same OBS. And then I’m switching and moving them around and recording everything. It leads to some really, really cool in-depth moments of a camera being closer to the source than where the stream was. When we look at all the footage later, we can pinpoint where everything came from. We were doing that last night, and it was absurd what we were getting from other cameras.
What have you learned since you started streaming about building your own community around this? It does sound like there was a natural progression to get from horror games to IRL ghost hunting.
Community is what makes Twitch special. Other platforms don’t really have what Twitch inherently has; it’s built into the culture. Having a community that is a reflection of what you would like it to be, something that you put love and time and care into, really shows at the end of the day. When we’re not live, everyone’s in the Discord hanging out. Or, say, tech issues happen on the paranormal streams, and everything goes down. There’s five minutes of dead air, which is the worst possible thing for a live show. Everyone’s there talking with each other killing time until everything comes back. And I don’t think that would happen unless you have that found family type of feel that I really wanted to carve [out].
Is this current time period — close to Halloween — especially busy for you? I’m sure people want this content all year round, though.
People really want this content all year-round. It’s usually people who would never play these games themselves. They’re living vicariously through someone doing that and seeing the reaction, so they can get scared but then also laugh at me or with me depending on what happens. It’s like watching a horror film with a bunch of friends. It’s never as scary as doing it alone. But it’s always either funny or scary or just exhilarating to see something happen and everyone react the same [way]. There’s a comfort in that.
This time of year is busier for me, especially with the paranormal things, because I try to ramp it up. Last week, I think I did four locations within within five days or six days. I did one for YouTube, a live stream in a place called the Clown Motel. I’m terrified of clowns, I don’t know why I did that to myself. Then back out to the desert where I did a jail and then a 1917 YMCA. Tell me why the YMCA was one of the scariest places I’ve ever been. We were joking like, “YMCA is gonna be so much worse than the jail.” And then we get there and we’re like, like, “Oh, it is.” We spent two whole streams going through some of the footage and we haven’t even scratched the surface. We go through and try to do debunk everything. And then we have a pile of things we can’t explain. I’m like, “What happened in this YMCA?”
I’m a YMCA member. I’ll have to watch it to know what to look out for.
It was the only place — or I guess, [the] second place — I’ve ever been where I was almost like, “I’ll leave my gear. I’ll come back tomorrow. And if it’s not here, I’ll chalk it up as a loss. We gotta get out of here. This idea was terrible.”