Gok Wan is planning what could be could be the country’s biggest New Year’s Eve rave after a ‘mind-blowing’ response to his online DJ sets.
The party animal has already had 1.2million people tune in to one of his ‘Isolation Nation’ parties which he live-streams on Facebook.
Gok said that uniting house music fans has lifted him during what has been one of the hardest years of his life in the Covid-19 lockdowns.
He has been inundated with messages from fans worldwide who have said his sets from his home in London have also raised their spirits.
Gok might be an establshed fashion icon, author and chef but he has solid dance music credentials, having been a professional DJ for six years.
As a teenager growing up in Leicester, he was never far from the decks and went to his first rave when he was just 13.
Gok said: ‘When I was younger I was very isolated within my own husk of a body and my paranoia about things like my sexuality.
‘I suddenly found a community of people in a warehouse in Coventry at a rave called Nemesis.
‘I was very underage to be at a rave but I was there with my friends and nobody cared what I looked like or how I spoke or who I was, I was still discovering who I was at the time.
‘We were all brought together by Grooverider, who was one of the DJs on the night. It was such a euphoric moment. I fell in love with house music and I have loved it ever since.’
A huge admirer of dance music legend Frankie Knuckles, the 46-year-old’s kitchen sets are uplifting mixes with soulful vocals and infectious beats influenced by the Chicago house scene.
‘It I did for a bit of fun at first to get people together and when I got a thousand people I was pleased,’ Gok said.
‘It was incredible to see how quickly the figures grew as I tapped into what I guess was a national need.
‘It became very tribalistic, the response was just mind-blowing.’
At one point 1.2million people tuned in as he went into the mix, which he combines with a chatty repertoire to the camera and vodka mixers..
Isolation Nation was born out of Gok wanting to connect with others in times when he admits suffering from a lack of social contact.
‘It’s been one of the most trying years of my life,’ he said.
‘I’m a very sociable person and really enjoy my freedom, I like to work hard and go out a lot, whether it’s dinner or drinks or clubbing or DJing or whatever.
‘I felt like I’d had all of my freedom taken away. But Isolation Nation wasn’t a selfish act.
‘I needed to dance, connect with people and know there was hope at the end of this.’
Isolation Nation has spawned a CD and collaborations with the Defected Records label and leading house music artists.
Joining forces with Club Class Music Management and Creative Artists Agency, Gok now plans to turn the online energy into real-world parties.
He said: ‘The virtual parties will stay but will become less frequent when we come out of lockdown properly and, fingers crossed, we have vaccinations and everything else.
‘But we are going to make the virtual a reality, we have all these plans for next year.
‘We want to take it on the road and do a tour to say thankyou to everyone for listening and provide an opportunity for everyone to see each other.
‘We can see on the feed how people have got to know each other but have never met in real life.
‘On top of that I would love to take Isolation Nation into a residency in Ibiza, there’s real scope for it with this vocal, disco-house.
‘A lot of fans of Isolation Nation know these tunes from the first time round and I want to give them an opportunity to get back out there where they won’t be judged for their age or what they’re wearing, exactly what happened to me in Coventry when I was a kid.’
For the time being, Isolation Nation will keep spreading the love online once or twice a week, depending on Gok’s filming commitments.
He is preparing to see in 2021 with what could be the biggest party in town.
‘At Christmas I want to hold a big party and then I’m working on ideas for New Year’s Eve, when it’s safe to assume we won’t be in clubs,’ Gok said.
‘If we could get seven hundred thousand to a million people tuned in over the course of many hours it could be one of the biggest parties thrown.’
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