What started out as an online outlet to keep his passion pulsing, is now a full blown virtual nightclub.
Thursday, July 2nd 2020, 12:57 AM HST by Mika Miyashima
Silenced because of COVID-19, local wedding DJ Joe Cortez, discovered a way for his talents to be heard again.
What started out as an online outlet to keep his passion pulsing, is now a full blown virtual nightclub. For many, it’s become something much bigger than just music.
Cortez started making Facebook live videos back in March, as a way to spread happiness during tough times.
He says at first, only about five to ten people would tune in. That’s quickly changed within the past several weeks.
His posts now gain the traction of more than 700 viewers.
“It became a place where a lot of people from Hawaii were tuning in, not so much to listen to the music, but also to reminisce and kind of reconnect with friends online while I’m playing,” explained Cortez.
He often finds himself catching people reflecting on their nightclub days in the comments.
“Everything from long bathroom lines, to things they would drink, to where’s the after eating spot,” laughed Cortez.
Those comments, sparked a new inspiration to turn his posts into a virtual nightclub space.
Now, each night has a specific theme, from ‘Thursday Ladies Night’, to ‘Old School Fridays’, and ‘Saturday Night House Party’.
Virtual club hopping is even a thing.
“I forward the parties to my other DJ counterparts,” said Cortez. “It’s like after my club, after I’ve been playing for an hour or two, they now can go to another nightclub space and experience their type of music and their vibe,”
Cortez even named one of his long time listeners his virtual club manager.
“To help everybody feel the club experience, we have table service, bottle service. That kind of stuff. Just to have that more virtual club feel,” explained virtual club manager, Dennis Goze.
Now, people from all over the country are tuning in. Cortez says he’s noticed party-goers from places like New Mexico, Texas, Seattle, California, Las Vegas, and the outer islands.
One of those includes Brian Ash of Waipahu. Ash is an army veteran who is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. He says Cortez has helped him get through some of the toughest of times.
“His music, the great times that he has, it kind of helps you get through the evenings. Sitting out in the back just relaxing. It’s helped out a lot,” said Ash. “He was playing all the old school jams and it just brings back happy times,”
If you feel like a little virtual clubbing yourself, Cortez broadcasts live for free from his Facebook page on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7 p.m.