Interview by
Danny Calvi
Photography by
Robert Eckhardt
Mixtape by
Richard Chartier

Pink Noise

Richard Chartier in Washington, D.C. first came to BUTT's attention in BUTT 5 when Matmos told all about a particularly wild night they had with him at some go-go bar in Montreal. In the art world, Richard's known for his highly formal, extremely minimal compositions and installations, like one he made for the Whitney Biennial in 2002; or for his research at the Smithsonian in 2010 which involved snooping around their collection of antique noisemakers. With his Pinkcourtesyphone side-project, you get Richard at his most fun, most sexy. He's definitely the man to put the ass back in Ass-tralwerks for BUTT's first ambient excursion.

When I chat with Richard, I get the impression he’s that guy you’d find cuddling up with the subwoofer at a rave. Or the nerdy deejay type with all those deep records that made you want to sit on the bass bins and vibrate your ass off in the chill-out room.

Danny: First things first… What’s the state of go-go bars in D.C.?
Richard: There used to be more go-go bars in D.C., and you used to be able to touch the dancers, basically, anywhere they’d allow. There weren’t any laws about having to have underwear on. I liked to go to Wet. They had a shower. But now there’s really only one place called Secrets, which I like to call ‘Secrete’. It’s in an old warehouse. The first floor is a giant drag show, and the second floor is all strippers. It’s really weird to go there when there’s no one there because you can see this panorama of strippers on pedestals in a big empty space. My husband was there recently, but he was like, ‘It was kind of depressing’.
Are you guys legally married?
We have a domestic partnership, but we just haven’t gone down to the courthouse to fill out the piece of paper that says we’re married. In D.C., everyone who had a domestic partnership now has all the benefits of marriage. It’s not exactly romantic. When we got the paperwork for our domestic partnership, we were in the same line as people getting death certificates.
Have you ever been to Remingtons, the country western bar? I love it there…
I have gone there maybe once. When I first came out, a friend from my office, he and his boyfriend took me to every gay bar in D.C. I remember going to this place called Mr. P’s that was really, really shady. Upstairs the whole thing was decorated like a circus tent.
What about the D.C. Eagle? I hear that shut down. I used to love that place.
They were thinking about moving the entire building at one point. Then they were going to take over Cobalt, another bar here in D.C. It’s sad… So many of them have closed.
I blame Grindr. Do you ever go out to big club nights like Blowoff?
I have, but I don’t really like big club nights.
But you do like big sound…
Yeah, there is something about going to a club and feeling the bass. I started going out when industrial music met new beat and house, when rave-style techno became popular, and I responded to the bass.
What about the bass are you so attracted to?
The physicality of it. I think that’s what most people respond to. There’s a college for the deaf here in D.C., and in those days, a lot of deaf people were out at these big club nights like Tracks and Nation. It was always interesting for me to see how they’d react to the sound — the universal language of bass.

Catch Pinkcourtesyphone this Friday,14 December when Richard and Kid Congo bring their own club night, Move to Trash, to Saint Ex from 6 P.M. to 10 P.M. at 1847 14th Street in Chocolate City. Entry is free. More about Pinkcourtesyphone can be found on his website.

‘Please pick up’ recording of William Basinski
‘Geo Scan’ by Tolouse Low Trax
‘Evening Theme’ by Pinkcourtesyphone
‘Kippschingungen part 8’ by Frank Bretschneider
‘The Surgeon General (Her Insides Laid Bare)’ by Rrose
‘Singularity Version (Yves De Mey rework)’ by Pinkcourtesyphone
‘We Have Already Died’ by Demdike Stare
‘Kendal’ by Mokira
‘V4 Studio (Slap 1)’ by Carter Tutti Void
‘Station Spaciale’ by Espace Fiction
‘Amoebas’ by Koichi Watanabe
‘You’re Here To Pleasure Me’ by Hirsute Pursuit
‘Stars Fell’ by Pinkcourtesyphone
‘Nightvision (Andy Stott remix)’ by Bnjmn
‘Move to Trash’ by Pinkcourtesyphone and Kid Congo Powers
‘Touch Riddim’ by Seekersinternational
‘Druse (Pan Sonic remix)’ by Muslimgauze
‘Trail of Tears (excerpt)’ by William Basinski
‘Divide’ by Emptyset
‘False Memory Syndrome’ by The Caretaker
‘Untitled’ by CoH
‘Gag’ by Le1f
‘The Sonology of Sex’ by ClockDVA
‘Hairline 23c’ by Senking
‘We’ve got the power (excerpt)’ by Whitehouse

Published on 12 December 2012