Draining: A unique lifestyle pioneered by music collective Drain Gang


Drew Yorke via Wikipedia Commons

Swedish artist Bladee performs at a concert in 2016.

Molly Rawat, Feature Editor

When one hears the word “drain,” several different ideas may come to mind, such as the process of allowing water to flow out of something or to deprive something of life. But what about one of the more novel, unique meanings of the term? 

What “draining” truly means can differ from individual to individual, but in a vague sense, it refers to the act of indulging in the distinctive sound of a few musical artists who often collaborate as an artistic collective called Drain Gang. 

Originating in Sweden, Drain Gang includes singers/rappers/songwriters Bladee, Ecco2k and Thaiboy Digital, and producers Whitearmor and Yung Sherman. Their music is inimitable and is difficult to fit into one, identifiable genre. 

Senior drainer Tarun Vedula addressed the somewhat uncategorizable nature of drain-music. “I would say drain fits into the category of cloud pop and cloud rap/EDM, although I think it’s hard to put them into a box because of how unique their music is,” he said. “I honestly think the best way to categorize their music is to just call it ‘drain.’”

Many of their tracks, such as “Friday Nite,” “Subaru,” “Crushed,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “4am” and “Rain Check” have an angelic and ethereal vibe to them. Others such as “Vanilla Sky,” “Amygdala,” “The Flag is Raised” and “Western Union” sound more dreamily euphoric. Several other Drain Gang songs simply cannot be classified as one thing over another and should not be. 

In an interview with Jack Angell, Bladee claimed that the concept of genre is “definitely a bit outdated. Now with the Internet, everything is one thing basically, and everything is inspired by another thing,” he said. All music today takes inspiration from hip-hop. Genre is limiting yourself. Just be yourself and let that be the genre, and you can do whatever you want.”

Perhaps this is what listeners mean when they refer to Drain Gang as internet artists. Interestingly, rather than a genre, internet music may simply be a new mode of connection and communication within the world of art. With the internet comes the ability to inspire and find inspiration through a plethora of resources.

Apart from their music, part of Drain Gang’s memorable presence is their eye-catching fashion style. Bladee can be found sporting anything from new lookbooks to vintage thrifts. Ecco2k is known for his often androgynous clothes, hairstyles and jewelry. In any case, from their appearance to their sound, Drain Gang is anything but conventional. 

Senior drainer Lauren McGovern expressed her love for draining as well. She has a positive outlook on the group’s influence. “I think its association with the internet, individuality and interesting new sound are what have drawn many people to this genre, but also what causes many people to call it ‘trash,’” she said. “But, a central message of Bladee’s music is that everything is trash – its value is only what we give it. This value the internet gives to Drain Gang is why they will likely continue to grow as a group.”

It is safe to say that even though draining holds different meanings for every individual, it is not only an activity or genre of music, but a lifestyle.