Thursday nights at Output are generally good vibes, but it was all fun and candy last Thursday when West Coast producer and Holy Ship! EDM cruise founder, Destructo, took the stage. Holy captain hats batman! All of the “Ship Fam” were in full force waving flags, pineapples and anything else remotely nautical that could be found. In all meanings of the phrase, I was “ON BOARD”.
Gary Richards has the whole party in the front, business in the back thing on lock, and I’m not talking about mullets. The D.C. native turned Los Angeles music executive has an impressive skill set, and you already know the dude is savvy when it comes to playing the game. Richards started DJing under the name Destructo in the 1990s. After crushing that for a while, new opportunities began to present themselves. Richards is the CEO and founder of HARD Events, and he’s been putting on major EDM Festivals since 2007. Plus he gets to be the Dance Commander for the MSC Divina, which will be making two epic sailings this winter (I’m going in February – Can’t wait!).
I made it a point to talk about his producer/executive portfolio, because you can see this professionalism bleed into his performance persona. He’s a good looking, well-dressed dude (this bitch would listen to his pitch) and he puts off a calculating presence. He was calm and collected, turning knobs and interacting with the audience enough to keep people captivated. “Turn up and show me what you’ve got, East Coast!” (have you really been away that long Destructo?)
The show, which was part of his West Coast EP Tour was high energy. The pulsing yet smooth beats that Destructo creates is the perfect combination of deep house and techno, while still lending itself to the hip-hop samples he integrates every so often. He played his bigger hits to rave responses from his loyal ship fam, most notably during Higher or his Stand Up remix (originally mixed by fellow LA DJ Henry Fong). Of course we got some sneak peaks into his new shiz too. Party Up is a sick hip-hop infused dance track that is surprisingly intricate even though the lyrics leave a little something to be desired (IMO).
Destructo’s major releases are 2012’s Technology and 2013’s Higher, both of which were featured last Thursday. I wouldn’t say his music is ROWDY (like say fellow OWSLA label producer Skrillex), but Destructo knows how to work his crowd, and that’s what makes his show feel progressive and layered. The drum and bass is driving, the distortion is on point (so sick in Higher, just a perfect example of how he creates these hypnotic patterns that draw you in without feeling redundant), and the synths offer a creamy melodic texture that makes his music a damn delight to the ears. The beats are cool, steady and totally danceable without making your head and heart want to explode. The vibe seems more sophisticated and mature than a lot of the Top 40 trance dance that’s so popular nowadays (and apparently results in nearly 100 teenagers getting carted away from an Avicii concert. Uhm no, and also, where are these kids getting drugs? You know what, screw it, I’m going to do a long form peace about this. Am I still talking? Yeah, yeah I am.)
The club was probably only at half capacity on that particular night but the party felt just as hype as ever as people danced, sang along and made new friends. If this was any indicator of how that cruise is gonna be, I’m going to be in good, nah, GREAT, hands.
You can check out his new single Party Up Ft. YG on Beatport. It will get you where you need to be.