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    Fri, 11 Jul 2008 07:08:05

    Featured Festival: HARD - Destructo breaks HARD down for us

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    At the moment, Destructo is pretty stoked. The Nitrus Records founder, DJ extraordinaire and HARD Festival organizer has a lot to look forward to. Right now, he stands on the eve of his second HARD event. The first festival transformed downtown L.A. with memorable New Years Eve performances by , Peaches and 2 Live Crew. Now, the second installment is set to turn up the summer heat on July 19 at The Shrine Expo Hall. The lineup is even bigger this time around. Destructo's handpicked N.E.R.D., MSTRKRFT, Spank Rock, A-Trak, Steve Aoki, Kid Sister and Kill the Noise to turn downtown L.A. into an all-night carnival. Some point during the festivities, he even plans to churn out his own head-spinning set.

    On a clear and sunny July afternoon, Destructo gazes out the window of his posh, distinct and classy Los Angeles home. He's got a wide-eyed enthusiasm for electronic music, and he's no stranger to the scene. Chances are he was behind one of your favorite underground parties in the early '90s. Nevertheless, HARD symbolizes the genre's evolution, and it's something that Destructo's always psyched to discuss. He sat down with ARTISTdirect in this exclusive interview to discuss the festival and much more.

    How do you choose the lineup for a festival like this?

    I just pick available artists I love that I think would fit together. I always try to keep an electronic, techno vibe running through everything. I try to mix it up though. I just want a well-balanced roster that'll make for a great show. I go with my personal taste and what I think will make for a sick fuckin' party.

    You've got big mainstream artists like N.E.R.D., but also hot, cutting edge acts like MSTRKRFT. It's pretty diverse.

    Obviously you want to pick some acts that are up-and-coming. I wanted to find artists that would be on the rise and getting bigger, especially by the time the event came around. All of the acts on the bill are in that category. N.E.R.D. are a staple. Pharrell's been around forever, and the dude's the shit. He's one of the best producers in the world. So that was a no-brainer, and all of the other artists are coming up.

    Aoki's a big part of the L.A. club scene right now. You've also been a part of the scene's fabric for years. It's cool that this is an "L.A." event.

    We've got Jason Bentley [L.A.'s KCRW DJ] too, and I'm definitely trying to make it "L.A." I pride myself on being a guy that's tried to help shape L.A. nightlife. I think Steve, Jason and I are all good representatives of that. Steve's definitely the young gun.

    What were some of the big events that stood out for you back in the early '90s?

    In '91, the big events were Love, LSD (Love, Sex Dance), Alice's House, Double Hit Mickey, Apocalypse, Electric Daisy Carnival and Narnia. We did all the water parks. However, none of those were nearly on the size of what we're doing with HARD. We were doing 1,000 people per event, and if we got lucky, 3,000. Now it's a whole new scale.

    There's been a resurgence in electronic music now. What does it feel like to be there again?

    It feels really good. It feels like those days all over again. I think the quality of music that's coming out is even better, though. The kids are more into the music. They're following the DJs, production and who's making what, as opposed to just going, getting wasted out of their minds and not even knowing what's going on.

    Would you say kids are more into the music as opposed to the party these days?

    Definitely. All of these kids have become connected because the Internet. Normally, when you put out a record, you try to work it in your market; get local shows and build it regionally. These days, it's got to be global. Kids that like Justice in L.A., Toronto, New York, Japan and Australia are all connected. I get hit up by people all over the world that are like, "I wish we could come to HARD." It's a global scene now. The doors are going to be open even wider.

    Cutting across borders like that makes your festival standout.

    It's awesome. At this, we've got the hip-hop skater kids, and they like the techno shit. The techno kids like rock. The rock kids like electronic music. It's one big melting pot. It makes for better music, and it makes for a better party. Fuck all of that fucking pretentious bullshit, man. Just come and party.

    You're playing at 3:30 in the morning yourself, right?

    I think so. My plan was to give myself a good, long hour and have a nice spot, but I've got myself in between some bands to handle duties when there's dead air. There's going to be so much going on, so I'm not sure yet.

    You must be stoked to have Nitrus artist Kill the Noise on the bill too.

    Kill the Noise just put out a single on Nitrus, and he's this badass DJ and producer from Rochester, NY. We're just stoked to have him. I can't wait to see him on the stage.

    There's always going to be a segment of people that love this sound, and they're going to go out and party

    You're plotting a Destructo record too, right?

    That's the plan. I'm trying to do it with Jeff Turzo [Wired All Wrong, Ex-God Lives Underwater]. Turzo's totally down. He's just busy as always.

    How do you see the genre evolving next?

    I think it's going to keep morphing and becoming more of a melting pot. If you listen to Linkin Park or any of the new rappers, it's infiltrated everything. When we started playing it in 1990, the only place you could hear techno was at four in the morning in a warehouse in downtown L.A. Now it's in every TV commercial. It's in every movie and every song. I think it's going to keep morphing into more genres, but that's only going to make it better. I never put a wall up. Spank Rock and Santogold are crossing into that urban world, but they maintain electronic and rock elements. I love that. I think they're going to keep pushing the boundaries further and further. I just think that more people will be turned onto this music, and it'll keep growing.

    Obviously it's not going away. It's been 18 years now…18 years of clubbin'. I'm 37, so when I was 20 this was all fresh and new. Now that I'm 37, there's a whole new batch of 20-year-olds that it's fresh and new for. In another 20 years, it'll be the same thing again. It's like rock and roll or hip hop; it's not just a fad. There's always going to be a segment of people that love this sound and they're going to go out and party and fucking dance. I love the music, and I've got the dream job, man.

    —Rick Florino

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