Gary Richards AKA Destructo – The EDM Superhero interview
By day he leads one of the largest and most ambitious event production companies in America, by night he drops beats that make every last person in the room move their feet. Who is this modern day super hero? During the day he is Gary Richards, founder of Hard Events. At night he is Destructo, a DJ who will turn any crowd into an uncontrollable dance party.
Gary was nice enough to take a few minutes after his set at SnowBall Music Festival to let me pick his brain on a few things.
Festival Guy: In terms of the recent EDM explosion, what do you think made it truly take off?
Destructo: I think kids today have an open ear to the sound. Back in the day most people were more into hip hop or bands, but now everyone has a computer. If you want to be a musician I think in 2013 you are probably making some kind of electronic something. So everyone’s ears open to it; people are just down for it. Back in the day when I first started it was very underground. People thought I was crazy because I listened to this kind of music, but now it’s accepted. If you are 15 this is probably what you are listening to. Most people in college or whatever, they want to be DJs or producers instead of a drummer in a rock band. Nothing to take away from rock bands, I love that kind of music, but I just think more and more people’s ears are seizing to this and that it has fueled the explosion.
Festival Guy: It was actually the festivals that opened me personally up to EDM. When I listened to it I never quite got it, but when I experienced it live it just made sense.
Destructo: You probably went to a festival for a Chili Pepper’s or Rage show and then there was some weird tent with our shit going on and it finally just infiltrated and got through to everybody. I think a lot of people had pre-conceived notions that it was like lame, it wasn’t cool, for me I always thought it was cool. It just took everyone some time to figure it out.
Festival Guy: Where do you see the industry going in the next few years?
Destructo: I don’t know. Nothing just goes up forever. Things have to have a correction. I think this has been bubbling up for so long and has been building the base, and laying the roots, for like 20 years. I think it will just keep growing. As long as there are more quality artists coming it will keep moving forward. Right now we are lucky because there is just so much good shit.
Festival Guy: With Hard you are doing a show at Red Rocks now. Do you just see things and think, “that looks fun. Let’s do that”?
Destructo: You know what? Yeah, I think with our brand and what we do is universal, it stands for something. When I started I was on a mission to make dance music credible and have an angle to it. My bookings would be purposeful, with Justice and Crystal Castles, shit that had an edge and wasn’t commercial. And I stuck with it and a lot of people relate to that. A lot of people are very generic in what they put together. I have a specific taste in what I like. So yeah man, we do shit in Australia, and the UK, and we have another big announcement coming out this summer.
Festival Guy: And to the Destructo side of things, how fun is it for you to get to perform as well as promote these events?
Destructo: DJing and performing is definitely the best. Producing the events and everything is necessary, somebody has got to do it, but it’s a pain in the ass. It’s not really my favorite thing to do but I had to do it. Now I’ve gotten to a level that I have a great team. My team runs festivals like a Ferrari engine runs. It took me six years to get there. So now I can perform and go in the studio, everything I do I do so that I can have my chance to, and I didn’t want to just come in and be like “look at me,” I’ve got to try and work my way up and make tracks. My Dad was always like, “Why aren’t you at the top?” And I’m like, because I’ve got to earn it, Dad. I don’t want to be that guy. But now I think that all the guys that I play with are all down and play my tracks, it feels good. That’s way better than producing the show.
Festival Guy: Well you are doing it right. I’ve been to a lot of shows and you’re set was as dancy as you are going to see.
Destructo: Hard is like that all the time. When you walk into Hard at 6 o’clock at night it’s like that the whole way through because we trained everyone. At first tonight I was looking around and the crowd was just standing there and I was mad. It took me a lot to get here, I was DJing last night until four in the morning and then caught a plane and I haven’t slept. And it’s like, if I’m gonna do all that to get here, it’s not even about getting paid, a lot of DJ’s – they’re making money for their career, for me it’s a chance to play for a thousand people and I’m gonna give them my heart. And if they don’t like whatever, it wont be for lack of me trying.
During this interview a few things became clear. First, Gary was completely exhausted and gave every ounce of energy he had to the crowd. He really puts his heart and soul into his set. It was also clear that this passion carries over into throwing events. Gary is a very inspirational person to talk to and someone we can all learn from. He found something he was passionate about and decided to do everything he could to turn his vision into a reality. He is a perfect example of the saying, “if you can think it, you can do it.”