What does it take to throw the perfect party? Ask Gary Richards, aka Destructo, AKA the man behind the curtain of all Hard events. He's been in the music business since the '90s, working with record labels, promoters, DJs, and everyone you could imagine. By now, he's learned more than a thing or two.
His Hard parties have been some of the most anticipated during Winter Music Conference for about four years. Now, he returns with not one or two but three amazing parties, boasting lineups with some of the most original and talented artists in the game.
But we had to ask, how does he do it?
"That's a good question, because I always ask myself that," Richards said. "I think it's just an evolution of the artists -- constantly picking the right artists. And I think the people that come to our events, they're up for a good time. The crowd and the people that come out always make it special. It kind of constantly grows and evolves."
Richards has been running Hard since about 2007, but decades earlier, he worked hard in the music industry as a DJ and label head, trying to gain exposure for his favorite peers. Back then, he had to rely on outside venues like radio or MTV, and they weren't very helpful. Thankfully, modern technology has changed the game.
"Through all the internet channels, I can educate people on new stuff that's coming," he said. "After all those years of trying to get people into it, now we have all the tools to do it. We don't have to rely on radio or MTV. We can just use our Facebook and Twitter and our email list and our website and turn people on to all this great new music."
For Richards, expanding the musical minds of fans across the globe is one of his favorite parts of the job. Well, that and changing lives.
"Just seeing all the people who come. They're always telling me they had the time of their lives or they had such a great night or great time," he said. "I think for me, that's probably number one. But number two is the part about being able to expose artists who deserve it instead of just the most popular."
Richards continuously tops himself with must-see lineups geared toward the discerning tastes of those with knowledge of the scene. Again, we had to ask, how?
"I just do it based on my gut and what I like," he said. "I try to make it an interesting blend and not pick the same things that everyone else picks. I DJ as well, so I try to kind of blend the lineup like you would make a DJ set. Instead of mixing for an hour or 90 minutes, I'm mixing artists who I know what they would mix for their hour or 90 minutes. Put five or six or seven of them together and you get an awesome party."
This WMC, Hard hosts three "awesome parties." Wednesday, March 20, features the "Rump Shaker" at Grand Central, capturing all the heat and sex of Miami in hip-hop, trap, moombahton and all things bass. Thursday, March 21, they take Grand Central over again for a more classic Hard experience with the best names in techno, electronic, disco and house. Friday, March 22, it's the pool party with legends like Felix Da Housecat, internet sensation Baauer, French house heads and a special house set from dubstep guru Skream.
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For these parties, you're going to want to show up early. You don't want to miss a single act. A lot of work has gone into making your night perfect. Trust us, you can trust Gary.
Hard Miami 2013. Wednesday, March 20, and Thursday, March 21. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The parties start at 10 p.m. Single-day tickets cost $25 plus fees and two-day passes cost $40 plus fees via fla.vor.us. Ages 18 and up. Visit hardfest.com.
HARD Miami Pool Party. Friday, March 22. Raleigh Hotel, 1775 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at noon, and tickets cost $34.80 plus fees via flavorus.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-534-6300, or visit raleighhotel.com.