The “Rave King” Destructo Keeps It Fresh and New in this Interview


I wonder if he wears the number 45 to mark his age? I doubt it.

As the New Year rolls around, we look forward to what 2015 will hold for EDM and its many artists. As I closed out 2014 by attending Lights All Night, I had the opportunity to sit down with Destructo, aka Gary Richards, aka the creator of HARD Events, aka one of the Top 20 most influential EDM people as of right now.

This 45 year old going on 20 has had a marvelous career in the industry and continues to be a role model for many people across world. As I sat down with this legend, I could feel an aura around him that was existential. Every word coming out of his mouth was built around years of experience. He described the industry with such precision, he had me hanging on with every word spoken as he took me on a journey of the industry throughout the past 24 years and where it will be going in the future. Join me into the world of Destructo and what it means to be an executive concert promoter.

Only The Beat: First off, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to interview you. My first question is how you enjoyed your set at Lights All Night on the main stage?

Destructo: “I felt the set went very well. Just trying to infuse some hip-hop into the electronic genre, I felt it worked out well.”

Destructo Lights All Night

I think his set went pretty well too. What do you think?

OTB: With your new EP West Coast, you took house to a new level with “g-house.” You have included big name rap artists such as Problem, YG, Too $hort and Ty Dolla $ign. Where do you see EDM crossing over next?

Destructo: “Electronic music is infused with every genre, in studio’s these days you can see it everywhere. I’m just doing my own little version of what I dig but the sky’s the limit. I thought this was going to happen a long time ago. Technology is advancing making it easier and cooler to get these crazy sounds, but you still have to have good ideas and be creative.”

OTB: Which came first, you DJing or HARD events?

Destructo: “I produced my first event, The Sermon, and needed a DJ but couldn’t afford it so I did. When HARD was created I put my name in the bill but was busy running the event that I didn’t get to play. As time passed I have gotten more help so I performed more. I feel they both go hand in hand to stay relevant in the music industry. When I DJ or promote events I get music ready by including my own along with searching blogs for the latest music. This helps me think of new acts to book to keep my head in the game to stay fresh as a DJ and promoter.”

OTB: What was your inspiration for creating HARD Events? Was it a lifetime goal, or something that you saw that needed to happen?

Destructo: “After promoting events and DJing I went to record labels and sold records for years, but when people stopped buying records, I went to L.A. to understand the landscape and saw this scene of music where people were attending events with artists like Justice, Crystal Castles and Calvin Harris. So I thought if people aren’t buying records maybe they will buy a ticket. This kept me doing what I loved by introducing people to new music by buying tickets instead of a recorded piece of music.”

Destructo Lights All Night pic 2

He knows how to rock a crowd

OTB: What has the acquisition of HARD Events by Live Nation changed within HARD and you as a DJ.

Destructo: “Both fronts have been going well. The company (Live Nation) has expanded resources to make the mechanics of running a successful festival easier and the ability to expand the brand of HARD more likely. With having all the extra people involved, I have more time to focus on DJing and the ability to do more events like Lights All Night. With Live Nation as the backbone, I can get out more to experience the scene and do more things that I am better at, and let them handle the stuff I don’t want to do (accounting and other things.)”

OTB: What is the best part, in your opinion, about Holy Ship! and what is the most interesting thing that people don’t get to see about Holy Ship!

Destructo: “The boat, location and the weather is amazing but the best part is the friendships everyone make on the boat. Through the event a spirited family is created by people across the globe, which is really cool to see.”

Destructo Holy Ship

Holy Ship! sounds like a blast. Photo credit to Erik Voake

OTB: Being included in Rolling Stone, InTheMix and DoAndroidsDance Top 50 most influential people in EDM, any other awards you are striving for?

Destructo: “I want HARD Events to grow along with my music. I want electronic music to stay fresh and credible. It’s important to me to be unique and to always push new boundaries and artists out to the world. I don’t need an award to feel rewarded.”

OTB: Have your parents attended any events?

Destructo: “Yeah, my dad was in music and got me into music. He used to call me the “Rave King,” calling me crazy because he said this music wouldn’t sell. Now that the music is huge, they are proud of me. My dad was the person who got me to create HARD as he always wanted me to do shows.”

OTB: With the holidays wrapping up, I wanted to ask, what was your favorite Christmas present?

Destructo: “Being able to spend it with my wife and family, to be truthful I don’t even remember what I got for Christmas. I’m not a materialistic dude. Being able to provide for other people gives me the happiness that I need. Nothing that I could buy could give me the happiness that I get from giving back.”

OTB: Do you have a favorite show that you produce from HARD Events? Holy Ship! HARD Day of the Dead, HARD Summer?

Destructo: “Every show is different. Holy Ship! is intimate and unique but it’s awesome to hear that over 100,000 people came to HARD Summer. Each event is different but are very special to me, my own little babies, I love them all.”

HARD Day of the Dead Rukes

Which event of his is your favorite? Photo credit: Rukes

OTB: What does 2015 hold for HARD Events? Any new events?

Destructo: “We are looking into doing a 2015 tour called Go HARD. We have 6 markets targeted but are looking for more locations other than the usual locations such as New York, Chicago and L.A. Maybe looking at New Orleans or Dallas, places that don’t have as many big events and building up the scene there.”

OTB: Do you have anything to say to the public, or a secret you would like everyone to know?

Destructo: “Not really, I’m an open book, I’m not a bullshitter, I get to the point and do what I do. There aren’t any secrets that I can think of at this moment.”

What It Felt Like to Interview a Legend

Sitting across from such an accomplished artist and producer was amazing. He answered my questions with relative ease as I scoured across his family, promoting and DJ life. His father was obviously an important role model that taught him the things that were needed to succeed. Working across all platforms of the music business including DJ, music promotion and even some time working for record labels, Destructo knows what he is talking about.

Gary Richards (Destructo) is not materialistic, not needing awards or gifts to make him happy. As long as he can continue doing the things that he loves, making and promoting EDM music, he is happy. Plenty of things are in store for us from HARD Events as he announced their 2015 tour Go HARD and continuing with Holy Ship! HARD Day of the Dead and HARD Summer. Plenty of things are on the horizon for Destructo and we better not rest on what he has planned for the future.

The Future For HARD and Destructo

In  between the different Holy Ship! dates, he will be joined by Anna Lunoe, Motez and T. Williams for the Ship2Ship tour spanning the country starting the 11th. You can purchase tickets from TicketMaster and others.

Gary, it was an honor interviewing you and I look forward to your future endeavors as Destructo and HARD Events. Your set was amazing and you truly are a legend in this industry.

Alex Zimmerman

Alex Zimmerman

Music has always been a passion of mine, being the kid trying to find the latest music to listen to. In college, I was exposed to Emalkay's "When I Look At You" and EDM quickly became my favorite genre. I hope to show people through writing what EDM has done to me and hope I can help people discover the beauty that is EDM.
Alex Zimmerman
- 2 hours ago
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