- Streamer Mitch Jones is releasing his first EP on Friday.
- Once one of Twitch’s most controversial content creators, he wants to change his public persona.
- Collaborating with producer Kala, Jones hopes that his honest approach to creation will succeed.
In April, hunched over his computer with dyed bleach-blonde hair, Mitch Jones told his 85,000 YouTube subscribers that he was done with streaming.
After spending the past nine years on
, pulling in over half a million followers and becoming a staple on the streaming platform, he said he was burnt out and wanted to pivot to creating music. On Friday, he’s releasing his new EP “If I Could Go Back.”
Over nearly a decade online, the 29-year-old worked his way up the streaming charts by playing video games, chatting with viewers, and going out into the real world with a camera.
But despite his prominence on the platform, his content became secondary to the drama that swirled around him.
“Live streaming has been very good to me and I’ve met a lot of cool people, but for some reason, my heart just isn’t in it anymore,” Jones said in his April 21 YouTube video. “I just really want to find meaning in my life again.”
The former spoke to Insider about his burgeoning music career and how he’s trying to transition from his online brand as an internet edgelord to a heartfelt musician.
Mitch Jones started off as a World of Warcraft streamer before drama took over
Jones started streaming on Twitch’s earlier incarnation Justin.TV in 2011, playing the popular massively multiplayer online title “World of Warcraft.” He was talented at the role-playing game (RPG), and ranked number one in player-versus-player combat. That’s how he met fellow “World of Warcraft” streamer Byron ‘Reckful’ Bernstein. The pair became close friends, consistent streaming partners, and eventually roommates in 2015 in Austin.
But as Jones’ popularity grew — averaging around 5,000 viewers per stream in 2015 according to metric tracker SullyGnome — the line between his personal life and his streaming persona began to blur. In 2016, Jones starts dating a fellow streamer who Jones says “created beef” between him and Bernstein. The drama played out on stream and on Twitter, which he says eventually led to their breakup in 2018. The public falling out was chronicled by fans, who created lore write-ups on Reddit and videos.
Jones said that this public controversy permanently damaged his relationship with Bernstein.
“And from that day on, I was never the same. That ruined everything for me,” he said. “Once I lost that motivation, I just became this sad person for many, many, many years.”
Streamer drama embroiled Jones’ online persona, to the point of Reddit condemnation
Over the next half-decade, Jones became the center of several other Twitch scandals, getting into feuds and insulting the content of other popular streamers. His humor, which centered around self-depreciation and offensive jokes (one of his most popular videos on his channel is the 2014 “r—– dance!”), was increasingly viewed as offensive as Twitch became more of a mainstream platform.
In 2019, he received multiple suspensions from Twitch, one for reading his chat while driving and the other for using a racial slur in a private message he leaked.
Jones said he believes that he stunted his emotional growth by continuing to stream to an audience that applauded his edgelord humor. An edgelord as an individual who mentions “taboo topics which are deliberately intended to shock or offend,” according to Urban Dictionary.
“As a steamer, you’re putting on a show, that’s the whole gig and Twitch chat loves edgy, self-deprecating humor,” Jones said. “It was a personified version of me, the immature parts that I knew the viewers wanted to see. I wish I had stopped doing that a long time ago.”
Bernstein’s passing changed how Jones felt about content creation
In July 2020, Bernstein died by suicide in his Texas apartment. The news quickly made waves in the Twitch community. Jone said he cried every day after his streams.
A week before his passing, Jones told Insider he thought Bernstein was exhibiting peculiar behavior. “It really f—- with me that I didn’t walk up to him and say anything,” Jones said. “I was so close with this person, and then now he’s gone, and there’s nothing I can fu—– do.”
Jones took the next few months off of streaming, returning in November for the latest “World of Warcraft” expansion, “Shadowlands.” Consistently pulling in over 10,000 viewers a stream, he says that he was making between $50,000 and $60,000 a month.
During this period, he says he tried to keep the drama to a minimum, focusing on what made him popular in the first place — being a virtual mage who is good at dueling other players. But he says he soon realized he just didn’t align with his audience.
“I had this audience of just straight edgelords that I didn’t really want to cater to anymore.”
Jones turned to music to process how he felt about Bernstein and where his path had taken him. His first music video release in April was a tribute to Bernstein titled “Now that you’re gone.”
Jones said that music gives him a chance to talk about his struggles and share his underlying fears in a new way disconnected from his Twitch persona.
“I gave my life to this s—, and it ruined my life,” Jones said. “This music thing has been just a shock to me, I have to feel all the things I was running from. I have to feel everything, and I want to feel everything.”
Jones’ EP “If I Could Go Back” is being released on July 23 on Spotify and Apple Music.
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