Last updated September 2023.
This is the full history of Extra Chill. It is quite long, but it has been included as we feel Extra Chill has a unique story that sets us apart from your average music blog.
The Humble Beginnings (2011-2015)
Extra Chill has roots in a College of Charleston dorm room in the Fall of 2011. Founder Chris Huber was a freshman at the time, by way of Long Island, NY, and one night he discovered a passion for writing that kept him up until sunrise, slapping away at his keyboard.
That night, he created a Google Blogger blog under a non-Extra-Chill name that will not be repeated here. It’s that very same blog that you’re reading today. Except now it’s on WordPress (as of 2018), and it’s called Extra Chill.
From 2011 to 2015, Extra Chill served as Chris Huber’s personal blog. He was a Creative Writing major, and he would post short stories, poems, and random musings about life on the blog. There was some music, but overall the site was more of a look into the mind of a stoned college student than anything else.
The Name “Extra Chill” (2012)
The name Extra Chill came about randomly, during a night of drunken debauchery at the College of Charleston. Chris discovered the joys of putting the word “Extra” in front of everything (specifically, “Extra Beef”), and he and his friends repeated it all night long, snorting out laughs in between swigs of Keystone Light.
In the morning, Chris woke up and pondered the word “Extra” for a while, until the phrase “Extra Chill” came to him. Recognizing it as genius, he immediately ran and registered the domain name, and switched from his previous, juvenile blog name, to the more mature, juvenile blog name “Extra Chill”.
Chris graduated in 2015, and the following summer, Extra Chill evolved into a format that is much closer to its current state.
Becoming a Charleston Music Blog (2016)
The idea to become a Charleston-focused music blog started on King Street in downtown Charleston. Chris was working at a now-shuttered (sold, and re-opened in late 2020) retail store called The Vault, folding t-shirts, listening to classic rock, and sneaking away to violate South Carolina’s marijuana laws whenever possible.
Also working at The Vault was a guy named Matt Zutell, whom you may now know for his successful recording studio, Coast Records. This was before all that South Carolina music scene stuff.
Matt’s band, Human Resources, had just released their debut album, En Route (2015). Being familiar with Extra Chill and Chris’s writing hobby, Matt gave Chris a copy of the record and suggested he write a review.
The rest, they say, is history. Chris went home, listened to the album, and wrote his very first album review. Looking back, it’s not a great review, but it doesn’t matter. Extra Chill’s lifetime as a Charleston music blog commenced.
Building the Scene (2017)
Soon, Chris would find out about SUSTO, introduce himself to Justin Osborne in the parking lot of The Royal American, and subsequently become a regular at the iconic dive bar venue & more, meeting local musicians and reviewing their shows around town.
He kept this up for several years, building a network of creatives and forming long-standing friendships with many of them.
One key player during this time, and still to this day, was Zach Ubaldini. He initially sent Chris an email back in 2017, saying that he liked the site, but noticed that it didn’t cover any jam bands. Zach wanted to write about jam bands for Extra Chill.
This began a friendship and business relationship that evolved as Zach became a videographer, now making content for artists in the jam scene and occasionally for Extra Chill. Today, of course, Extra Chill writes about plenty of jam bands, but back then Chris was more into indie rock.
Extra Chill Fest is Born (2018-2019)
By 2018, the site had grown a respectable following in Charleston, and had a few contributing freelancers, but was still very much a one man operation.
That began to change with the planning of the first Extra Chill Fest, which took place on September 8th, 2018 at The Purple Buffalo. This was the very first Extra Chill event, and it represented a collaborative effort between Chris and his now-closest music friend, DJ Edwards, who owned a now-defunct label called Real South Records.
In early 2020, there were some big projects in the works. We sold out The Royal American for the first time in mid-February, and we were in the process of planning Extra Chill Fest 2020 at the Charleston Pour House.
Pandemic & Reflection (2020-2021)
COVID put an end to everybody’s fun that year, and Chris entered into a reflective period. He had been working as a tour boat captain, and with the tourism industry shut down, he found he enjoyed the alone time for creativity. His goal became turning Extra Chill into his full time job.
Thus, he began expanding his horizons, covering music content that’s outside the scope of Charleston. A larger audience and dreams of freedom began to rumble, but he went back to work in May of 2020. Life took back over.
In late 2021, Chris entered into a period of extreme productivity with the goal of growing the site. He got super into the Grateful Dead during the pandemic, and found a niche writing about them and other iconic musicians in addition to the local music content.
Growth and Expansion (2022)
Traffic on the site skyrocketed in early 2022, and has been on a consistent climb since then, as we continue to grow our collection of content. Chris was able to hire a team of people to help him manage the day-to-day of the site, and things became much more awesome.
This started with Kate Bryan as a versatile writer and editor, and soon included Chris Gardner helping to market the brand locally, and in 2023 we brought on Thaddeus Adams a.k.a. Indi’Gxld to keep up with South Carolina hip-hop.
Full Time Extra Chill (2022-Present)
Chris quit his job in the marine tourism industry in July of 2022 to pursue Extra Chill full time.
He still runs sailing charters part time with Sail Folly, but Extra Chill has become a nationally-recognized publication with a reach that extends far beyond Charleston. Today we are at right around 350,000 sessions per month from all over the world.
We continue to evolve with the times, even implementing AI tools via Sarai Chinwag starting in 2023. It’s a weird world we’re living in, but we’re taking it in stride, and doing our best to have fun with it.
If you read this far, we love you. Thanks for supporting Extra Chill. We hope you’re along for the ride, because we sure as hell are!