OUTHAUS has emerged as one of London’s most popular queer club nights in recent years, providing an inclusive and expressive space for LGBTQ+ and allies to party the night away. It was founded by Josh Harrison, who you will see adorned in a cowboy hat on the decks at any OUTHAUS extravaganza.
“I’ve always been so inspired by disco, Studio54 and the 90s, and I remember walking into the kitchen and saying to my boyfriend at the time…I’m going to start a club night,” Josh tells GAY TIMES. “Now when I see the family that has grown around us, I feel in shock every time, it truly is an incredible and really unique crowd.”
While OUTHAUS is led by Josh and his DJ sets, it’s built up of a collective of queer performers who bring the night alive with their fierce choreography, unapologetically queer fashion and high octane energy. It’s what’s made the club nights such a massive success.
The nightlife collective has been handpicked by W London to host a massive Pride party in collaboration with the hotel underneath Europe’s biggest disco ball as part of W London’s ‘Express Yourself’ 50 years of Pride celebrations. The event series commemorates 50 years since Pride first took place in the UK and introduces a selection of all-out-fabulous experiences in support of the LGBTQ+ community as part of W’s ongoing commitment to inclusive travel.
Express Yourself with OUTHAUS takes place on 2 July from 8pm to 2:30am at W London, with all net profit from the party tickets being donated to LGBTQ+ charity Not A Phase.
Here we speak with Josh about what we can expect from the Pride party at W London this weekend, the meteoric rise of OUTHAUS, and what the club night and collective’s plans are for the future.
How would you describe an OUTHAUS party?
Feel good, high endorphin, dance your heart with friends out and express yourself. We have really made sure to create and hold on to an atmosphere that makes people feel great, welcomed and where they can unapologetically be themselves. People really make such an effort with their outfits for OUTHAUS, planning them months in advance and when they are on the dance floor with all of their friends in a crowd packed full of queer expression the energy is electric. You can see the smiles on peoples faces when they are letting go of all the stress of day-to-day life, having the best time with the best music and just living in the moment and that’s exactly how we want everyone to feel.
OUTHAUS has been doing a lot over the past year – what have been some of your highlights?
We’ve done so much! We adapted during the pandemic to seated shows, to finally opening our club doors again when nightlife re-opened and it’s been non-stop since with our residency at the iconic and stunning venue The Clapham Grand. Headlining at GAY TIMES Honours alongside the UK’s best queer talent was amazing. We also recently took on our biggest production to date at Mighty Hoopla, which was a whole new level of creation for us celebrating the history of disco and the response and energy from the crowd was unbelievable.
Why did you decide to create OUTHAUS?
I remember moving to London when I was 18, and Soho was the heartbeat of queer bars and clubs. Years later I remember going into a bar that used to be where I met all my friends, and it really was not the same. Chain shops had moved in, restaurants and bars overspilling into queer spaces meant that the atmosphere and crowd became less and less about our community and naturally queer people started going less. My background is in events and PR and I’ve always been so inspired by disco, Studio54 and the 90s, and I remember walking into the kitchen and saying to my boyfriend at the time…I’m going to start a club night. Now when I see the family that has grown around us, I feel in shock every time, it truly is an incredible and really unique crowd.
OUTHAUS is a safe and inclusive space for self expression – why is it important to you that this space exists for all queer people?
This is SO important, and it was absolutely in our DNA from day one. I think when you’re a young queer person, before you come out you are adjusting yourself, dressing to perhaps not be seen as LGBTQ+, we are consciously trying to hide the most unique and beautiful thing about ourselves. You need spaces that allow for people to show who they are, wear what they want to wear, dress in the outfit that they saw in a movie when they were a kid and thinking… I wish I could wear that and feel that confident. On our dance floor you see everyone feeling amazing about themselves. They are expressing themselves, celebrating themselves and feeling like a million dollars, and that is so important for queer people to have because of how much we fought with our identity when we were younger.
What was your relationship to queer nightlife like when growing up?
When I moved to London I knew no-one in the city. I remember standing in the smoking area of Soho bars pretending to smoke, asking people for a lighter just to start speaking to people and I honestly still have those friends today. I really quickly understood the importance of those spaces for making your own chosen family, which for our community is so important.
OUTHAUS are headlining the big Pride party at W London this weekend – what can people expect?
We can’t wait! We love the W and have done a few things with them already and I’m so excited to bring an OUTHAUS Pride Party to the heart of Soho in Leicester Square. We are doing full OUTHAUS at the W London with performances, dancers, aerial acts, hosts, guest DJs from Australia – all underneath Europe’s largest disco ball… it’s going to be big! We’re also really proud to be supporting NotAPhase as well, with all ticket proceeds going to the amazing work of the charity.
Pride is a great moment for the community to come together – what does it mean to you personally?
My first ever Pride was actually Barcelona Pride. I remember going…quite timidly to be honest, not knowing what to expect. After a couple of hours and seeing all of these incredibly confident queer people around me celebrating our community, bursting with love for each other and themselves I remember feeling so unbelievably empowered, like I’d found my tribe. Pride I think is a time for us to celebrate, listen, and make our voices heard. It’s also a time to protest and stand up. There is still so much work to be done and as we all know this work continues for us every month of the year.
What does the future have in store for OUTHAUS?
We can’t wait for what’s to come, as we grow and our family grows our productions are getting bigger and bigger and it is looking incredible. After Pride we have our Summer Special on 30 July at The Clapham Grand which is always a big one for us. We have already started production and I think it’s going to be next level OUTHAUS. I also can’t wait for our Halloween night! It’s a personal favourite of mine and the effort people put into their outfits always amazes me. You can definitely expect some very very special guests to be announced later in the year and just maybe get to see OUTHAUS outside of the UK as well…