Yesterday, I sat down with Gary Richards to discuss the artists he booked to perform at the HARD SUMMER Music Festival this year. He told me about artists he’s excited to have on the bill, as well his curatorial vision for the 5th edition of LA’s largest music festival.
DB: Overall, what were you trying to accomplish with the HARD Summer line up? Is there a particular audience that you were trying to please?
GR: I don’t think there was any particular audience that we were trying to please. The goal was to give a diverse line up that would make for an amazing event over two days. So it was booked in a way to space out each individual area with their own theme. The HARD stage will have the biggest electronic artists and live music. The HARDER stage on one night is all the big techno dudes and then dubstep on the next. The Discotheque on one night is funk and disco, and the second night is disco and house. And the last stage is broken out into the Fool’s Gold Clubhouse and the OWSLA Tent. So, it’s really booked in a way to give people different styles in different areas over two days.
DB: The headliners are a very diverse group of artists. Which ones are you most excited to have on the bill?
GR: Well that’s a loaded question, dude. I’d have to say all of them. Hahaha.
Well, definitely we’re very excited to have Miike Snow play live. We’ve never had them live. We’ve only had them DJ. And their live show is what I really am most excited to have at HARD. They’re great DJs, and then their live show is just next level. It’s the perfect blend of band and dance. No one does it better.
And Bloc Party obviously. They haven’t played in the United States in 3 or 4 years and they’re a very special band. We’re glad to have them as their first show back in the US. They’ve never played HARD so it’s very special.
DB: What about Squarepusher? I can’t remember the last time he performed in LA.
GR: Squarepusher! Definitely! We’re very lucky to have him. He has a new record coming and new production. And he’s been one of my favorites for a very long time. To see him back in 2012 and people being excited about it is very exciting. I’ve never seen him, but I know his tunes from Warp records from back in the day. I love his music. He does something completely different than everyone else in electronic music. I think it will be a treat for people who go to HARD and have no idea who he is (the guy plays a sick bass, too) and I think some of his fans will come to see him and get turned on by some of the new shit. So I think it’s a good marriage.
DB: Other than the headliners who are you most excited to have on the bill?
GR: There’s a lot of them. Definitely DJ Antention. He’s a guy I’ve tried to get here for a long time. I’m pretty excited for Smims&Belle as well. Lets see what those guys from Foster can do. Light Year, Kill Frenzy… all of them. I booked them.
DB: Can you tell us more about some of these smaller artists?
GR: DJ Antention is a guy that I really don’t know who he is, or what he is, or where he is. But apparently he has been sending me tracks from Russia for the last year and a half, and I’ve been playing them at all of our events. So whenever you hear me play all these crazy mental tracks — the most mental tracks you hear me play — and ask ‘what the fuck was that?’ … well that’s DJ Antention. So, I hunted the guy down, and we signed him to do a couple EPs on our record label Nitrus. He just keeps on delivering blistering tracks but they still have a groove to them. He’s the only guy who does hardcore that has a groove that I can still work into my set. So I figured this guy is next level shit and we have to bring him. And now he’s coming.
I’m also excited for Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team (a duo comprised of Teki Latex and DJ Orgasmic). I got to see Teki Latex DJ a couple years ago at WMC. The guy was out at the pool in a speedo. Bald head. He was just killing it. It was the middle of the afternoon. Dude didn’t give a fuck. His sound is very similar to what I play. Kind of like what the Dirty Bird dudes play. More housey/tech-house, whatever you want to call it. I really like his vibe and the vibe of his crew. They’re like the new Frenchies who I have to have on the bill.
Justin Martin. Really excited for him. His sets and Craze’s sets on HOLY SHIP! were big highlights for me.
Joey Beltram. What can you say about Joey Beltram? Most of the younger generation probably have no idea who he is. In 1991 and 1992 he was THE GUY. THE GUY who made the best tracks. THE BEST heavy techno tracks around. All of the heavy sounds you hear in the Bloody Beetroots records, that is the Joey Beltram sound. I think the call those synth sounds hoovers. If you’ve never heard the songs, check out “Dominator,” and “Energy Flash.” I played with Joey Beltram in 1992. So twenty years ago we were on bills together.
DB: Do you foresee any of these smaller acts being potential HARD headliners one day?
GR: Oh yeah. Lots of them can be. They all make great tracks. We just need to educate people about them.
Light Year is rad. Everything I’ve heard from Light Year is solid. Lots of people have told me good things about him. When I went over to Australia for the Stereosonic festival last year, everyone told me I have to book Light Year. The four or five tracks I’ve heard by him are amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does and how that works out. I’ve never seen him live, but I assume that based on his taste and the music he makes that he must be good.