Sterling Hedges: I think a lot of people nowadays are beginning to marginalize EDM as mainstream. What are some ways you are trying to prevent people from having that stigma?
Gary Richards: Well I’m not really trying to prevent it. I’m just trying to keep what we do not so EDM mainstream. You know I hate the word EDM, to me its just electronic music. I’m just booking what I’m booking trying to keep HARD fresh and different.
As for EDM going mainstream, it is what it is, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not exactly what we do, but it’s great that shit is so big. What happens is people hear it and they want more. Then they might go to a festival and then might stumble into some other area. Then all of a sudden they hear The Martinez Brothers. Like, “what the fuck was that, who are The Martinez Brothers!?” Then they get into that, then they see Seth Troxler. All of a sudden your life gets consumed by this shit…
Sterling Hedges: What informs your decision to book artists, like last year Flying Lotus and Mr. Oizo, and this year Sophie. They are kind of off the grid or seen as strange. Is it just what you are feeling and what you like?
Gary Richards: Yeah, that’s just what I do. I say HARD is like a salad and to make a good salad you have to have a good balance. The right amount of olive oil, vinegar, tomato, garlic, lettuce, onion, olives. You don’t want your whole salad to be fucking lettuce.
There are five different areas and you want to make each have a specific theme or vibe.
I always say my job at HARD, well one of them, is DJing the DJs. They have their sets and I have mine when I play, but I put all them next to each other to make one big giant fucking set which makes the whole day.
I have a pretty good handle on what they play and what they are doing and how to make it all work together, that’s why our festival is really cohesive…
…I think a lot of people when they promote they see a name and think, “if i put this name on here I’m gonna sell tickets”. I look at it from different angles. I look at it by set time, by the poster, and what makes this look like a fun fucking thing that I would want to go to. I used to pretend like they wanted me to do an electronic soundtrack for a movie and I’d make a playlist with Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Aphex Twin, and I would make these soundtracks for myself. It’s the same exact fucking thing except I actually get to book it. I can actually move the needle and make a difference.
Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. She also founded West Coast Fix. She’s also on Twitter: @nine_u