The ClubPlanet Interview: Destructo

The ClubPlanet Interview: Destructo

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
02.10.2015

Like a modern day Superman, Gary Richards lives an incredible double life.  As the promoter behind HARD events, he throws some of the biggest and most forward-thinking parties around the world.  From the Holy Ship to the Summer tour, their mix of electronic and alternative music is unlike any other festival outthere.  Under the guise of Destructo, he is leading his own musical movement- G-House – bringing the worlds of rap and house together, a modern take on the classic hip-house movement.  His ‘West Coast EP’ brings together legends (Too $hort, Kurupt, and Warren G) with current rappers (Problem, YG, and Dolla $ign,) over tracks he produced with Wax Motif.  For music with a new vision, Destructo and Hard Events are ones you should follow.

RS: So is there a “Beast Mode” record on the way?
Destructo: No, not after they didn’t hand it off to him, f*k that. What the hell, I am a Redskins fan anyways because I am from DC originally, but I was getting on the Seattle train because we need to root for somebody that’s winning. My son is always like “why do we root for the Redskins? They suck!” It was a good game but come on!

RS: How was life on the Holy Ship?
Destructo: Life on the Holy Ship is pretty busy and there is a lot going on and a lot of obligations, but it’s great to see everyone having a good time and relaxing. It’s cool to see the artists hanging out and bro-ing out with each other. They don’t really have to go anywhere and do anything, whereas normally at a festival they come in and play and then have to get to the airport to go to the next gig or festival. On the Holy Ship they are there for 4 days so it just becomes a big love fest.

RS: Do you think that there will be some collaborations coming out of it?
Destructo: Absolutely. I think that a lot of artists met on the boat and then continued relationships and different things.

RS: What is it like being exposed to all of the fans for so long?
Destructo: It’s cool to see everyone so into it and so appreciative. They love the event, and there’s been so many great friendships made. I think the best part of the whole event is that so many people from around the world have made new friends and relationships through that event.

RS: Has being in close contact for such an extended period with all of the artists affected how you see the music or the direction that your music is going?
Destructo: No, being on the boat and hanging out with the artists is fun and cool, but when I do my music I just do what I do, it doesn’t really get affected by all of that.

  

RS: Where did the whole G-House sound come from?
Destructo: For me personally, I wanted to make a record that was a combination of hip-hop and house. The first track that I did was “West Coast” and I realized pretty quickly that it was cool to have Dre and Snoop samples on there, but I wanted to get rappers in the studio live and work with live vocals. That kind of just took off and became a new thing that I have been working on.

RS: I know that back in the day the West Coast guys were really against dance music. Was there any blowback at this time with rappers saying that they didn’t want to work with dance music? 
Destructo: I don’t think so, everyone that I worked with came into the studio and I played them the track and they all liked it. I think that music has really opened up and people like a little bit of everything. I think that back in the day it was way more gangsta and people weren’t really into it, but then again I don’t know because I wasn’t really collaborating with rappers back then. I know that YG definitely wanted to make sure that the track was cred and not some cheesy shit. I try to explain to these guys that as much cred as they have in the hip-hop world I feel like I have in the dance world, and I would never steer them wrong.

  

RS: So you worked with Too Short, Warren G, and Kurupt, are there any other classic rappers that you would love to work with?
Destructo: I definitely would love to do something with DreSnoop, and Rakim, that would be sick. It’s weird how these things come about, sometimes you meet someone and you end up doing something and sometimes the label puts you in the studio. There are so many awesome rappers out there.

RS: Do you think that what you are doing is bringing more of the hip-hop heads into the house and festival scene?
Destructo: I am trying, I don’t know if it is, but I am trying to get all of the best worlds of music together to come out and party.

RS: Just like you’ve done with the HARD festivals. What are you working on with the HARD festival side? What is coming next?
Destructo: We have our next Holy Ship coming up on February 18th and then in March we have our Miami parties that we do for Miami Music Week. We are getting ready to launch a tour called The Go Hard Tour which will be the end of April and all of May on the weekends. After that we have HARD Summer and Red Rock and so forth.

RS: What is your take on Miami for this year, because there has been talk both ways saying how it is not an event anymore but then there are people that are saying that it is still important?
Destructo: I go there every year and we do our events there. So many people are there from the community and I just love going to Miami. I like Joe’s Crabs, the beach, the weather, and the clubs. I think that it is always an important week in electronic music and I think that it is important for us to be there and turn out some cool parties the way that we do it. 

RS: With your HARD events, who would be your dream lineup that you’ve not had yet so far?
Destructo: I always say this, but the only act that we haven’t booked yet that we want to book is Daft Punk. I think that we have had so many dream lineups already. I have bookedMoroder, I have had Bootsy Collins play, and we have had so many awesome artists play over the years.  I feel have done a good job and have gotten most of everyone that we have wanted. I am trying to find the next thing and what the new stuff is. As far as legends go, I think that other than Daft Punk, we have nailed almost all of it.

RS: Speaking of the new thing, the deep house sound is big in the UK right now and there is talk of progressive becoming the next sound on the forefront. Where do you see music going next?
Destructo: I don’t know, I just think that if people keep putting out quality music it will keep getting bigger. I think that with electronic music it can go in a million different ways, there are so many different varieties and options. For me, I am kind of pushing this whole hip-hop and house thing and I just hope that good quality music comes out no matter what style it is as long as it is good, solid production; music, song, and melody. Music is always the same and it has basic ingredients and it’s not like you can reinvent the wheel that many times.

RS: Who are some artists that we should be watching out for?
Destructo: One of the guys that I work with is called Wax Motif and he is pretty badass and  he helped me make all my tunes on the EP. I have been playing some new tunes from this kid named Cosella right now that is pretty dope. There is a new guy on Dirty Birdnamed Ardalan who  is cool. I am really digging Mano Le Tough's stuff, and Branchez is coming up and there is so much cool stuff.

RS: Let’s go back to something that you just said, you said that Wax Motif worked with you on your tracks on your EP. When you are in the studio with him how do you collaborate? Do you fight over the keyboards, does he do the production and you give him ideas?
Destructo: We definitely don’t fight, we work really well together. We come up with a vibe. I am not the best player in the world at the piano and bass and things like that, but I know exactly what I want and he is an expert at getting the sounds. Together we go in and in one night we can get a track done. Then we just live with it and go play it out, listen to it, change it, and refine it. Then we get in the studio with the vocals and do the same process. We just play it live until it finally becomes something. 

RS: Stepping back to your role as someone who organizes HARD Festival, when you are booking a festival do you ever care about what is going on in the DJ Mag list?
Destructo: No, I don’t think that I have ever really looked at it, to be honest with you. I personally think that I am different enough; I just try to do what everyone else isn’t doing. I always try to be unique as far as booking artists or making music or DJing and just try to be different. Everyone does the same thing but who wants to go to a festival that has the same stuff as every other festival. I just try to dig and find new stuff.

RS: How do you balance your family life with your DJ life, production life and your festival life?
Destructo: It is tough but when I am home, I am home. I take my kids to school in the morning and I hang out with them at dinner. When I am at home I don’t go and when I am on the road I don’t take an extra day here and there, I always come home. It’s hard on them and I am definitely at maximum capacity. I think that if I have one more responsibility I may explode. I won’t do this forever, and eventually I will just be a dad and chill out.

RS: If your son or daughter wanted to be a DJ, what advice would you give them?
Destructo: I would just tell them to be original and don’t follow the pack. Do what they feel and not do what other people are trying to do. There is a saying that Tommy Lee fromMötley Crüe has a signature on his eMail that says “be yourself because everyone else is taken.” I think that is really important in electronic music because in electronic music you can kind of do anything with the computer, but the key to it is being original and coming up with something that is new and interesting.

RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there?
Destructo: I love you guys, thank you for supporting me!

Interview conducted February 2015.

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