As an avid Clubhouser, one of my main objectives is to build community with people who are aligned with who I am and who I am becoming. I found that community when I stumbled upon a room where the conversation centered around “everything and nothing at the same d**n time.” It was the Chill Mode Lounge, a room underneath the club, The Chill Mode Project. At the helm of this relaxing space is Eso Tolson, the founder and curator. In this Clubhouse Influencer Feature, I was able to chat with Eso about this amazing club/room so that you, too, can find a community on Clubhouse.
What Goes on With The Chill Mode Project & Inside The Chill Mode Lounge?
If you go searching for the club, you’ll see immediately what The Chill Mode Project is all about. It is a club “focused on curating experiences for people to relax, unwind and connect”. The room, The Chill Mode Lounge, is a free-flowing room where people can enter and exit at will, jump to the stage to participate in the conversations, or choose to remain in the audience to relax and listen. At any given moment, Eso or any one of the moderators (which I am honored to be one) may be heard busting out a tune using random phrases or a quick monologue where you receive uplifting jewels of encouragement and affirmations. You may get some classic PTR (pull to refresh for those not familiar to Clubhouse lingo) moments where a person on the stage may say “PTR” so the rest of the community can see a profile pic change to a meme reaction or relevant picture to help enrich or add some comedy to the conversation. It also isn’t uncommon to hear music or the laughter from a Clubhouse game started by one of the moderators. The Chill Mode Project is, indeed, all about relaxation, genuine connections and fun.
“Everything and Nothing at the Same D**n Time”
You never know where the conversation will go when you come to The Chill Mode Lounge to chill. This is the magic of the space. The organic flow of thought and conversation is the drawing force that keeps people coming back everytime the room opens. On this particular day when I paid attention to the topic changes for this blog, the conversation floated through so many topics like:
- comical interruptions from a regular Chill Mode Lounge community member who named himself “A Pimp Named Slick-Back” from the provocative show, The Boondocks, even mimicking the character’s voice and having a photo of the character as his PTR
- a small reunion with two historically Black Greek-lettered Organizations: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority while sole members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity stood strongly in their respective spaces.
- a conversation about the joy of not having to wearing pants with buttons and long zippers due to the working from home during the pandemic
- the gender neutrality of waist beads and its purpose in monitoring weight-loss or gain (depending on who was speaking)
- an ode to clothes that began with the word “sweat”: sweatpants, sweatshirts, and sweaters
- a comical debate between those experiencing icy weather in Memphis and the Northeast vs. those experiencing the beautiful weather in California
- a conversation about the Gorilla Glue viral moment with Tessica Brown, how she pivoted this tragedy for her benefit and paying homage to the doctor who helped her
- a deep discussion about the age of social media, the follow & unfollow culture and what people do to go viral
…and this was just within the first hour of the room. These bulleted points don’t even give these robust conversations justice. The plethora of points of view, laughter and respectful disagreements that took place was beautiful to behold. Honestly, you just had to be there. When you come into The Chill Mode Lounge’s virtual space, you won’t get the same experience in conversation twice. The culture of the community, however, is always the same every single time. In the words of Eso, The Chill Mode Project is designed to “foster moments to take the edge off and…CHILL!”
A Virtual “Sit-Down” with Eso
I had an opportunity to interview Eso for this blog and couldn’t decide what to share or leave out because he said so many amazing things, so I’m sharing the entire interview here! Enjoy my chat with Eso and check out The Chill Mode Project and all of the amazing spaces curated by Eso on and off Clubhouse!
picture courtesy of Eso Tolson
What is The Chill Mode Project?
The Chill Mode Project is about creating a place for people, especially Black people, to relax, unwind, and just be. It all started as a series of playlists I curated at the beginning quarantine to help ease the tension and anxiety that was building. I wanted to help people transform their space into a place that felt warm and relaxing. Since then, it’s evolved into a collection of works and experiences such as the community on Clubhouse. It’s all about creating a space to connect and recharge.
How does the room, The Chill Mode Lounge play a role in your vision for the club?
Imagine a place you’d frequent in the “real world” where you go to just relax from the day and chat it up with the regulars. That is what the Clubhouse room “Chill Mode Lounge” is all about! It’s a place for people to come and just relax, have organic conversations, connect, and just chill. It’s not the place to rattle off your resume, promote your e-book, or anything like that. It’s a place where you can unbutton the top button, grab a drink, take off the work badge, and just be you.
As a creative, how do you see your contribution to creativity being expressed through The Chill Mode Project?
I’m pretty skilled at programming events and curating intimate experiences. I was a program coordinator at a nonprofit for a few years. I also co-founded and co-produced an award-winning local music event that featured artists such as Brennan Villines and Tank and The Bangas before their major successes. Since the pandemic hit, I haven’t really been able to do work like that. I really miss it. Clubhouse has allowed me to continue doing that work again in a very unique way. I want to stay in the business of connecting people, highlighting talent, creating community, and curating vibes. The Chill Mode Project is helping me do that.
What value are you hoping to add to Clubhouse?
I hope that I can add space for people to just be. You know? There really aren’t enough places for people to just be. And that goes for both the real world and the digital world. I want people to know that they don’t have to put on their “best representative”, or have an eCourse, or have a million dollars, or have their own business, or know famous people to be of value. They are enough exactly where they are. There’s always room to grow and be better. However, I want people to know they are already valuable.
What does Eso do off the app and how can people support you beyond Clubhouse?
Essentially, I create projects to uplift, inspire, and celebrate people. That’s my core. When I’m not programming events or curating vibes, I do brand consulting and create lettering art. You can find my work on IG at @coolurbanhippie (http://www.instagram.com/coolurbanhippie)! You can purchase work from my website at http://esotolson.com/shop. For those playlists I referenced, sign up for my newsletter at http://www.esotolson.com
The Tavares Review
Because I am one of the moderators (shout out to the other amazing mods Mendell, Kristin, Dr. Alixis, William, Dr. MJ, Tim, Maya, Malik, Silas & John) of this tremendous space, I am particularly biased to The Chill Mode Lounge & The Chill Mode Project. All of the things that Eso set out to do with this club and especially with this specific room, are things that I experience every time I enter. Because of the way the Clubhouse algorithm is set up, I am more than excited when I see my followers come into the virtual lounge to relax and have a good time with this budding community. Celebrating and honoring Blackness in this way is one of my favorite things about this space. I can say that I’m developing friendships that are taking form and shape off of the app. I am literally building community with like-minded people. It’s a breath of fresh air. Hear me: If you want to breathe this fresh air, I implore you to stop and take a visit! You won’t be disappointed and you will be back again and again!