During February and March 2016 I traveled North America to meet the Chew community, DJs, partners and investors. Read more about the entire Chewhiker trip here.
The morning before I’d been on a beach in thirty degree heat. That afternoon I arrived in to Atlanta. The airport is the busiest airport in the world by passanger numbers. A stop off between any city in the states. The home base of the US airline Delta. As I ran for my connection to Miami a few days before I’d never even thought of leaving the airport.
I’d messaged Cody the day before. My flight had landed a little late. messages from my host piles up on my phone as I turned off airplane mode. Daily Atlanta traffic meant that Cody was a little behind schedule. He pulled up in his SUV thirty minutes later. The blue paintwork of his yellow with pollen. I jumped into the passengar seat and we headed back out into the traffic.
Keen not to waste time Cody asked if I’d eaten. Not counting the caramel biscuit on the plane the answer was no so we headed into Atlanta. All the way into town we talked at a hundred miles per hour despite the crawling pace of the car. I learned how he had moved from a finance job in town to working in IT at his dads oil testing business. How he links in with the local DJ and events scene. How his Echobreaker show came to be because of Chew.
Dinner done we headed to a local bar. This wasn’t a usual dive bar. Alongside the drinks menu was a computer games menu. Pitchers of beer sat alongside gaming PCs and PS4s. I was happy to see that the geek vibe was complete Tardis themed toilets. Yes they were bigger on the inside.
Cody had me sold on Atlanta. We drove to his home north out of the city. The sun had set well before we left the city. We weaved around a dark lake the lights of the car illuminating the water. Crossing a dam the water was still. The roads got smaller and the streets got narrower. Thick woodland closed in. The house could have been the setting to any American horror movie as we rolled up and illuminated the gate. “End of the Trail” was the name of the house.
Inside the large family home the sitting room raised up two stories. Each wall held part of the collection of the family’s hunting trophies from around the wold. This was the most animals I’d ever seen in once place let alone in a sitting room. From the floor they leaned out towards you.
On it’s own the setting would have made my hairs stand on end. But Cody and his family brought me into their fold.
In the basement Cody had the live studio setup for the Echobreaker show. My presence jinxed the setup he used the week before. An hour later we had two cameras working and we sat down for his traditional pre show interview. I knew that this was the last time I was going to be mixing on the trip. It had been such a ride to listen and DJ in each city. This set was no exception. We mixed out of Codys selection of tracks. Pushing his laptop so hard it died at one point in the middle of the set. Fuelled by Ale brewed in old whiskey bottles we played through until we ran out of energy and music to play.
After six weeks on sofas and the occasional bed my final night round a Chew members house was a revelation. The family all had original water beds from the 70s. It was the first time I’d ever slept on one. I couldn’t work out why they went out of fashion. It could of been the quantity of beer I’d drunk but I slept right through. The deepest nights sleep I’d had so far.
I used my remaining days well in Atlanta. Eating Georgia barbecue. The sauce trumped the Texas barbecue I’d had in Austin. In town I visited the SCRATCH academy. Making up the time I worked in Cody’s family office which featured the a complete brown bear.
After my last two days I said goodbye to Cody at the airport to begin my long journey home via Miami and Brussels.
Atlanta and Cody’s company these last days summed up what I’d learned from my time in America.
Chew’s DJ’s are welcoming and generous. They don’t just use Chew, they love Chew. The audience, the connections and the community. They have more ideas for Chew than I could ever have. And I’m so thankful for seeing a window into every one of their lives.
If only for forty days and nights.