Photo: The Life of Sesh, Jakkob, Dan Williamson
A few months ago, while scrolling through TikTok, I spotted a video of a young man wearing a bucket hat, mimicking a Jennifer Coolidge monologue, mimicking the morning after a two-day session.
“You’re not very pretty and you’re not very bright,” Coolidge sings in a teen romcom speech A Cinderella Story. The accompanying text on the video reads: “Me to me after standing all weekend with nothing to show except a stuffy nose, extreme anxiety and my overdraft.”
Those who know … know.
I clicked on the creator page and found a cornucopia of sesh related content. Videos referring to a pint and ending in a random kitchen at 7 a.m. nod to the impact of cocaine on the intestines. Jokes about the oversharer on a line. Mentions of “the plate” and – of course – of the brutal descent.
Sesh’s content isn’t new – but here’s someone very openly attaching their face to TikToks that referred almost exclusively to coke. Their name: @jakkob – AKA, 27-year-old DJ and London-based designer Jacob Hill-Anderson who claims to be the king of cocaine content. Which, given that he tells me he was a co-founder of the sesh-related Instagram page Ketflix and Pills, may well be true.
Alongside Hill-Anderson, several TikTok creator packs are capitalizing on coke-themed memes. Dan Williamson, Jack Saunders, and The Sesh Life all publish content covering the finer details of a weekend spent on ‘nose beers’ (with nods to other narcotics), along with their comedy observation touching on everything from suspicious bouncers in pub toilets uh, heart tension. Even general TikTok comedians like Jack Skipper have started to address the content adjacent to the powder.
So why promote sesh? Ding-ding: It’s profitable, with huge levels of engagement. “I work with a lot of record companies,” says Hill-Anderson. “They have a song and they’ll say ‘Can you make a story out of it?’ Graphics are dictated by TikTok.
On average, Hill-Anderson posts at least six paid sesh content videos per month, earning him several times more than the UK average monthly salary, for videos recorded by Shane Codd and Clean Bandit. Hill-Anderson has the necessary measures to support the investment; its average monthly views are around 10 million.
He sees TikTok as the first rung on a larger scale. Next step: build his Instagram audience and a line of derivative products (of which we can see him sporting samples in his latest TikToks).
“People comment” Drugs are your only personality trait “, but if you want to build an empire” – at that he pauses and smiles in his own words – “if you want to build something, stick with it. ”
“That’s how I went from 1,000 subscribers last September to over 400,000 today. TikTok doesn’t reflect me as a person, it’s just a joke which I know works well.
But these are not just new users on the sesh. Jack Saunders, 22 had around 400,000 subscribers when he started posting heavy TikToks in March 2021. Now he has doubled that figure – an increase he attributes to increased engagement of sesh content.
“Videos have started to flourish,” he says. “A lot more views, more reactions, more shares come from this type of content. Many more people have bonded with it and could share it with their friends. “
Much like Hill-Anderson, Saunders monetizes his videos via paid music promotions, with his videos featuring tracks from electronic artists like Timmy Trumpet, atop sesh riffing clips, like the weekly countdown to Friday. “Some labels move away from [explicit drug use], “he said.” But the others don’t really care. You just stick to the brief.
This openness to online drug culture comes from the increasing prevalence of drugs in society. “It’s easier to get these days,” Saunders says, alluding to the ubiquitous specter of the “bag.”
“Around where I live there are definitely more people who have it. It’s not that expensive, realistically. It’s become one of those social drugs, rather than just doing it in raves. It’s more like going down to the pub and just finding it there.
It’s worth noting that most of the British sesh content creators who have emerged on TikTok – especially those whose work seems to focus primarily on cocaine – are young white males. According to government data from 2020, they are the group behind the sharp increase in usage in the UK. Searching for the hashtag “#sesh” returns the weird viral video of a young woman, but you’re struggling to find a content creator who converted a single hit to constant sesh content and developed the platform for match – although the comment sections of the young men who produce sesh content are, oddly enough, filled with women.
“Yeah, I’ve seen that a lot,” Saunders tells me. “My comments section is more of girls tagging their friends. I’m not sure why, but they seem more committed to the comments than the making of the videos themselves.
Hill-Anderson also seems aware of this dynamic; he’s pointing fingers at videos he’s made under the guise of an aspiring lover, just looking for his special someone to “make cues” with in Winter Wonderland. The comments below are filled with young women “applying” for the position.
“It’s just an engagement,” he shrugs with a wry smile. “I’ve done a TikTok on Emotionally Unavailable Girls four times with different songs including Taylor Swift. People comment – it pushes him up ”.
But isn’t it tired of having to constantly pretend to be on one? No, Saunders says, because the feedback he’s getting is pretty positive.
“I get a lot of Instagram DMs on Friday and Saturday, which tend to be like, ‘Oh buddy, I just brought in a fresh bag, hope you are having a good weekend,'” he says. “I prefer to respond to this that people give me negative comments. ”
For her part, Hill-Anderson is clearly embarrassed by some of the responsibilities others place on her, including comments that accuse her of glamorizing addiction.
“One guy commented on my video that ‘I sniff every other weekend but the way you glamorize it for these young kids is really horrible,” “he recalls. “That’s what gets on my nerves when people bring children there. I’m going to ruin these kids – no I’m not. I am not the drug messiah.
But what about the creators themselves? Are they really as on it as their videos show?
“Right now I’m trying not to go out every weekend,” Saunders tells me. After confinement, he had a big summer and is back on the health train. But its content is anchored in its own reality: “I go out, I go down to the pub with friends and I have a drink and all the rest. I know what it is – I’ve been to raves with these people ”.
“To a certain extent, the character is me,” says Hill-Anderson. “But that’s me in my early twenties. I am no longer close to that.
Besides, he says laughing, he prefers ket.