When I walked into Gary Richard’s dressing room, he is showing his friends his new track “Freak”, a slick House tune that sounded great within his Destructo set earlier at HARD Red Rocks. He thinks it could use some female vocals but I enjoyed how it sounded already as it is, Richards was excited for the sold out turnout for HARD Red Rocks and was excited to catch Porter Robinson’s set, who was playing after him.
The CEO/Founder of HARD has had major success in the month leading up to HARD Summer in Pomona, including a sold out show in San Francisco the same night as we were talking at his sold out show at Red Rocks, plus HARD Summer itself selling out as well and becoming the largest HARD outing and the biggest festival Los Angeles County has ever known. HARD is taking over, defying genre barriers and redefining how to enjoy music live. Not only with a successful event company, Richards’ alter ego, Destructo, has been garnering a lot of attention with his incendiary DJ mixes and “G” House original songs that have been getting play at a ubiquital level (be sure to grab his new West Coast EP).
Both as a businessman and artist, Gary is on the top, and no one has the gall to try and take him down. We got to chat a little bit about his company, his music and wild back to back sets with Skrillex.
Read the interview below:
How are you feeling about HARD Red Rocks? The turnout is insane.
Gary Richards: It feels good, I finally got to play maybe a half hour later so I wasn’t sweating bullets, it got pretty full, Colorado is fucking awesome man, I love it here. We gotta get back out there soon and check out the rest of the show. Branchez was killing it, Option4 was killing it, he’s awesome I’m glad we got him.
You’ve got Red Rocks today, Lollapalooza tomorrow and HARD Summer Saturday.
GR: And Chems (Chemical Brothers) in San Francisco tonight too. We had to pull an audible, because it was supposed to be Chems, Brodi (Brodinski) and J. Phlip but Brodi couldn’t get here so we got Claude Vonstroke in his place.
That happened in 2012 with him also didn’t it?
Yeah, Brodi’s got a little issue with the border. I think he had some situation in New York that is some of thing that his own. So when he comes through, he gets flagged. It sucks, because he’s the fucking best guy in the world and doesn’t mean anyone harm. He’s got a little blip, he’ll be fine. Hopefully he gets here by Saturday (he didn’t make it, his time slot was taken by Cashmere Cat).
It was great to hear “Technology” and “LA Funky” tonight, when we talked earlier this month you said you wanted to work them in more. Do you feel like they’re mixing in with the newer stuff better?
GR: It’s funny because I think was playing at Wakarusa, or Summercamp, or one of those kind of festivals, the jam band thing, and there were people on the side of stage, my buddies, and they were like “when you play your songs, it’s just better.” I was like, “really?” Cause when I play my songs I know I can be tired of them you know?… I think tonight I played 30 songs and maybe 16 of them were mine, so at least half are my remixes so I’m trying to do more of that because anybody can play other people’s tunes, there’s [an art] to DJing but I feel like people are starting to come to see me play my tunes.
The medley of LA Funky and “Dare U 2 Move” was awesome.
GR: Right on, that was totally on the cuff, I was like “oh fuck!” Because I was looking at my clock and I was like, “okay, time is running out” so I gotta get them all in there because I have an ending, how I want to end it and I didn’t have enough time, an hour’s too fucking short man. [laughs]
On Saturday night after HARD Summer you’re doing a back to back to back. How exactly is that going to work?
First we’ve got to get Brodi here [laughs] but me, Salva and Wax (Wax Motif) are doing it and what’s cool about [these] sets is that we’re going to play everything from 80 (bpm) to 100, to 110 ,to 120, to 130, to 140, to 160. We’re all going to play everything and just go around. Normally I’ve just been playing 120, that’s just what I play, then I started back to backing with Sonny (Skrillex) and he’s like “what’s this 120 shit? It’s fucking boring dude, we gotta go to 100” [laughs] and I didn’t even have a song that was 100 so after that I went home I made a folder of shit so when Sonny comes and wants to wreck shop I’m prepared. So we did it again, and it was with Mija, and I was like, “alright, fuck you, [play] Hannah Montana,” rolling it in there just pulling out all different kinds [of songs] and I feel like it makes the set more fun… it’s crazy and we’re just going to take turns just playing hip hop and electronic and see what happens cause that is all of our themes. Me, Wax, Salva and Brodi we’re all doing hip hop with some kind of techno. We gotta record that set, it’s going to be crazy.
With such a busy schedule, what do you try to do on your downtime?
I usually just hang out with my kids and my wife. Go to the pool, go to a movie, shoot Nerf basketball in my son’s room, what [the] kids want to do. Actually last weekend was the first weekend probably in forever to have my entire house, and everything, to myself. I just hung around the pool, went surfing, did nothing… Actually, I’m lying, I got my set ready for all of this [laughs] no one was in my house, it was quiet, so I could DJ, I’d wake up at nine in the morning and started DJing all day. I actually got my turntables out, I’m going to Europe and I want to play vinyl over there. I’m going to Ibiza and the place I’m playing has turntables, getting out all the old vinyl. So listen to music and hang with family.
In our previous chat we talked about up and coming artists catching the eyes of HARD, I wanted to see, in terms of nostalgia, who are some artists who have played you would love to see come back to HARD?
GR: Justice is making new music so I know they’ll be coming back in a bit. The one that I always wanted to get [back] is Calvin Harris, but when he had the band, his first album (I Created Disco) to me, I love Calvin’s first record. So when I started HARD I was like, “fuck, this is the guy! This guy knows how to make melodies and dance tunes, but like indie, this is sick!” but he changed his whole [style] and blew up [laughs] but if I could get Calvin Harris back with the band, that would be pretty cool. 2LIVE CREW would be cool, they played at the first one. The main one we gotta get, somehow, is Daft Punk, then I think I can retire [laughs].
You’ve got the Pineapple Express tour coming up, what should people expect if they went to one of the shows?
GR: That’s a good question, just one big fucking party [laughs] I’m going to show up, we’re going to eat some fucking pineapples and play tons of new music, just have fun you know. When I go play shows people show up to have fun, they come to here great new tunes, meet up with their friends. I gotta work on something special though.