On Point With: Ricardo Tavares

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This Brazilian boy came into New York nightlife during the glory days of the scene. Today he’s at the helm of HARDER, a kiki that’s equal parts old school kinky and new new school kooky… and fans can’t wait for the new season to debut at its new home this weekend! Thotyssey gets HARD with Ricardo Tavares!


Thotyssey: Hello Ricardo, thanks for talking to us! 

Ricardo Tavares: Hey, thanks for having me!

How was your summer?

Amazing .. we had parties every weekend in June and July in various places like San Francisco, Chicago, PTown and Fire island, and they were all super fun.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s EASIER to bring HARDER (or any large-scale party) on the road than to find a suitable space for it in NYC.

They are both very difficult and challenging. But once they are put together and we have a good party, it’s all worth while.

When you go to other cities, are you able to stay basically true to the character of HARDER, or do you have to change it a lot to accommodate the culture of each city?

Well, you do what you can to stay true, but it has to happen organically–just like it did here in NYC,

from its start at an underground sex club to a proper club like The Deep End and now 3 Dollar Bill. In some cities, the party gets a bit more raunchier than other cities. But one thing that stays true and never varies is the quality of the music.

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We’ll talk about the latest evolution in the party in a bit, but first let’s get some background on you! Where are you from, and how did you wind up in NYC nightlife?

I’m originally from Rio in Brazil, and I moved to NYC in ‘94, where I quickly became part of the club kids scene in all of the clubs back then. And then in ‘99, I worked at the original Cock on Avenue A until the end of 2001. Nightlife has always been in my veins, lol!

And you’ve always been on the raunchier side of things! 

Haha, I’ve been to many sides, but the raunchy side is the most fun one.

I bet there are some tales to tell about the original Cock.

Yeah, for sure… lots of stories.

What happens at Old Cock stays at Old Cock, I guess, lol!

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So tell us how HARDER came to be.

HARDER started in 2015. I had been on hiatus from nightlife since 2012 (when I was DJing back then). I was planning to open a cafe in Chelsea with a partner (I am a trained pastry chef also) in 2015, but at one point we needed more funds–so I posted on Facebook about it. Ryan Smith (from the Wrecked duo) messaged me saying that he would DJ a benefit party. Then Michael Wakefield offered me his space in Park Slope and boom, we had our first party. Brian Gately (who was my resident DJ for over a year) and Mister Wallace DJed as well. The cafe didn’t open, but people started asking me when is the next party. So then, HARDER was born.

How would you now describe HARDER to the uninitiated?

HARDER is an underground dance party based on parties in Berlin and old school NYC, whereas it’s not a sex party… but sex might happen somewhere! So it’s what I call a Sex Positive Party…. but there’s no obligatory clothing check, and we don’t provide any sexual material (lube , etc.), so it’s more casual. But you can always expect to listen to some great DJ and to get your groove on at HARDER.

These days, your house DJ is Eric Bloom. How did you hook up with him?

Eric and I became friends about three years ago. I met him in the bathroom at Horse Meat Disco. I totally cruised him while he was peeing, lol! But he had no time for me, so we became friends. And then after a year or so he started DJng. So when I started having guests DJs, I gave him an opportunity–and he killed (she’s not just a pretty face)! And since then–2 years now, I think–he became a great DJ, and he is just getting better and better. He is my sister, and love to work and be with him.

I met all my best friends in the bathroom, lol! I know that Casey Spooner of Fischerspooner is a frequent host and performer at HARDER as well… did you know him from Ye Olden Nightlife Days?

Casey did host and performhere in NYC, and in two parties I did in brazil (Rio and

São Paulo). Funny enough, I met Casey only like two years ago when he was still working on the new album SIR. Buy the album, by the way–it’s amazing–and go support queer artists!

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So as mentioned earlier, HARDER bounced around a lot these past two years: Open House, Gateway (RIP), The Deep End… and now this Friday the 14th, it’s premiering in its new home, 3 Dollar Bill! This is a really amazing space… and it’s basically a sex dungeon, wouldn’t you say? 

Yes 3 Dollar Bill is an amazing space, and I am ready to take over and transform it into a real dark and underground club. I am doing a lot of decorating to change the look of it. Tyler Jensen edited some great videos for the party, but now I am also working an artist from Berlin, Victor Luque. He is creating some original and very XXX videos for HARDER–they will be projected with the other stuff, but people will GAG!

What else should the children expect from the premiere?

Super fresh beats, dark corners, visual stimulation… and a bunch of horny people!

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Any more spoilers for the whole upcoming season?

Well, we might make HARDER into a Sunday morning after hours some point soon… a monthly Sunday after hours.

That would be something! And hey, the GLAM Awards are coming. You and HARDER should be maybe getting some love from the voters, right?

That would be a beautiful way to be showed appreciation by the NYC nightlife community.

Yes! Well at any rate it’s going to be a great, sexy season for HARDER at 3 Dollar Bill. Speaking of which, last question: who is the sexiest man alive?

A guy from Spain that I know. but I’ll give you guys a famous one: Tom Hardy. He’s one of them!

Thanks, Ricardo!


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Ricardo Tavares produces HARDER, a monthly party debuting at 3 Dollar Bill on Friday, September 14th (10pm). Check Thotyssey’s calendar for all his scheduled events, and follow Ricardo and HARDER on Facebook and  Instagram.
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