Gary Richards, also known as Destructo, is a Los Angeles-based DJ, producer, and promoter. He began his career in the 1990s as a DJ and has since then become one of the most influential figures in the electronic music scene. In 2007, he founded the HARD events brand, which has since grown to become one of the most recognizable and respected live event and festival brands in the world. HARD Events is known for its electronic music events and has been credited with helping to popularize the genre in the United States.
Destructo looks to the past to give us a glimpse into his future. The ‘Future Funk’ EP seeks to reinvigorate and recontextualize the sounds of the 80s and early 90s with bleeding-edge production trends and discoveries. The producer and event promoter has long been a key figure in the EDM extended universe and continues to be a tastemaker with this solid new release that dropped this past February 10.
A key element within the EP is the first track, ‘Perfect Beat’ which seems to be named after the eternal pursuit of that intrinsic musical element so cherished and sought-after by producers and beatmakers across most genres. The funk-house track is all about setting the tone for EP’s era-defying atmosphere with a bassline and thumping four-on-the-floor beat, building into its dancefloor-igniting drop full of vintage robotic vocal samples and groovy synth melodies.
As a producer, Destructo has released music under his own name and has collaborated with various artists including YG, Ty Dolla $ign, and Wax Motif. He has also released music on his own record label, All My Friends Records. He’s also been touring around the world and played on the biggest festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, The FriendShip Music cruise, and many others.
Sometimes artists have a cool story behind their stage name, and sometimes they don’t, and while I don’t know the details, I do know your stage name has a bit of a story behind it
I used to play loud and abrasive techno music to keep people awake at the after-hours club. So they started calling me Destructo.
And in a more… mystical sense, where does “Destructo” come from musically speaking? What informs your sound and aesthetics to this day?
I always have a simple formula: techno/ funk
If you look at the stuff you’ve released over the years, what’s in the trajectory to get us to “Future Funk”? What’s changed, what’s evolved, and what has stayed the same in you as a musician?
I wanted to make something different during Covid so I went back to the early days when I first heard real “go funk” music.
If you look up the words “Future Funk” you’ll find a subgenre of vapor-wave music that heavily samples Japanese city pop, funk R&B, and more. Did this subgenre of electronic music play any role in the creation of *your* Future Funk?
No, I just go on what I dig, not really what other people label…
Electronic music is in a very healthy influx of new creators and relatively fresh new sub-genres and trends, so I always like to ask producers this: Where do you feel EDM is headed right now?
I don’t really know but it is great to see so many layers of electronic music blossoming.
And where does the aptly-titled “Future Funk” fit into that vision? What do you feel makes your EP so forward for the genre at large?
It is reworking songs from the early 80s and giving them a 2023 electric shock. Hence the name “Future Funk.”
You founded the ‘HARD’ events brand in 2007, largely focused on Electronic music. What have been your most challenging moments or endeavors in that time and how do you feel these events and shows have shaped the Cultural landscape around them?
Too many challenges to name in the world of EDM politics. I think it is the memories we made over the years that created a big chunk of our cultural dance music legacy.
You’ve taken the stage at some of the largest music events in the world. Through your 30-something-year-long career, what have been the most memorable festivals or venues you’ve played in?
Right now I would say FriendShip floating festival surrounded by All My Friends.
What’s on the Horizon for Destructo this year?
Working on new music and new festival ideas…. Stay tuned.