TVBOO: How ‘Blue Collar Bass’ Is Changing the Culture
With PBR coursing through his veins, Mitch Draper, better known as TVBOO, has spent the majority of 2022 gearing up for the biggest moment in his career: releasing his full-length album, Blue Collar Bass, via WAKAAN.
Although he’s now on his own headlining tour, selling out venues across the country, he hasn’t lost touch with his southern roots. With a healthy dose of comedy, dubstep, and authenticity, he’s bringing the Mississippi lifestyle to center stage. There’s something patriotic about a shotgunning, mud-lovin’, mullet-totin’ kid from the South living out the American dream. That is exactly what Blue Collar Bass, is all about.
Draper’s introduction to musicianship began in Jackson, Mississippi, where he began drumming for local metal bands during his early teen years. Eventually, he shifted his focus to building a local EDM community in his hometown as both a promoter and a DJ. His time as a promoter in Mississippi was relatively short-lived, but it gave him the confidence and connections he needed to attempt a full-time career as a DJ and producer.
When he first began releasing music, TVBOO struggled to find his identity in the scene. At the time, it seemed like his favorite producers were stoic creatures with mystical creative talents and a serious demeanor. After a few failed attempts at emulating this stoicism, he quickly discovered that the key to success was to be himself.
“Once I just started being myself, that’s when it worked,” Draper said in an exclusive interview with MP3 MAG at this year’s WAKAAN Festival. “It doesn’t matter who you are, everybody has something that makes them unique, right? When you’re being yourself, you’re in your own lane.”
Draper’s relatability and comedic timing are certainly traits to be admired, but that’s not what makes him unique. Instead, it’s his unapologetic authenticity, lit up with a Southern flair that’s never been seen in the bass music community before.
The South has an interesting relationship — or lack thereof — with EDM. Traditionally, electronic music hasn’t coexisted with chewing tobacco around a campfire or hunting deer in camouflage overalls.
At first glance, EDM culture and Southern culture might seem distant — but how different are they, really? Considering both groups’ community-oriented way of life and historically rebellious tendencies, it seems like the perceived juxtaposition is merely a case of misunderstanding due to a lack of exposure. That’s why Draper is trying to change that — with both his music and podcast, TVLKS With TVBOO.
In the (roughly) three years that Draper has been hosting TVLKS With TVBOO, he’s recorded 118 episodes and discussed everything from politics and daddy issues to country music and everything in between.
But Draper isn’t just talking shit. He’s a genuinely curious dude who’s more interested in gaining perspective and humanizing his favorite artists than he is in thrusting his beliefs onto other people.
“It’s cool because people are having fun with it. I sit down and have a conversation and that’s fun. You really get to know the people who are sitting down with you, the man behind the mask, you know what I mean? We’re all dudes and dudettes. We’re just people, and it’s really cool to break that wall down.”—TVBOO
One way Draper breaks down that wall is through comedy. Whether it’s a passing joke about filming pornos in the name of charity during a podcast with GRiZ, or a hilarious stand-up comedy set at WAKAAN Music Festival, comedy plays a crucial role in Draper’s relatability and coping with the evils of the world. According to Draper, “the best way to talk about things is through humor. That’s why comedy is so important.”
While his jokes are often purposefully vulgar, Draper never intends to offend people. He just wants to make people laugh and push the boundaries of creativity, in comedy and in music.
If there’s one label that’s continuously pushed the boundaries of creativity in electronic music and its culture throughout the past half-decade, it’s Liquid Stranger’s WAKAAN. The imprint is at the forefront of creative evolution in the electronic community and has been a driving force behind this next generation’s most talented and experimental producers since 2015. The WAKAAN label may not be the first to push “freeform bass music,” but there are few entities that have created such a beloved community by artists and fans alike.
WAKAAN’s relentless pursuit of cutting-edge sounds is a risky business, but co-signing TVBOO might be the most interesting pickup they’ve taken yet. By releasing Blue Collar Bass and promoting his first headlining national tour, they’ve set a powerful message to the EDM community at large — this music belongs to everyone.
“I feel so blessed to have a label like WAKAAN support me. When I first came to WAKAAN, I felt like a little bit of an outsider. I knew it was kind of a risk supporting me, you know? Because I say ridiculous shit. I do dumb shit. But they love that. They’re just like ‘do it. Be yourself.’ I’ve actually never felt more accepted and encouraged to be myself.”
That’s what makes Blue Collar Bass so great; TVBOO’s new project is experimental in sound as it is in personality, executed with careful clarity. The comedic elements never overshadow the deafening sound design and bass-heavy ambiance that saturates his music. This is especially true regarding Blue Collar Bass, which Draper considers his “most mature” work to date.
“I worked with singers and musicians, I even wrote some lyrics [on Blue Collar Bass]. I was able to express myself musically in so many different ways with this album. The branding behind it is kind of comedic, but that’s just who I am. I’m not gonna put something out that isn’t fun to me.”
Draper has come a long way from his adolescent days as a metal drummer, and Blue Collar Bass marks a bold new chapter in his musical career. His message, however, remains the same: whatever you’re doing, have fun doing it. It’s a friendly reminder that life is silly, and so is EDM. That’s what makes it so great.