After More Than Two Decades of Music, Destructo Will Not Slow Down

The dance music pioneer talked with Popdust about his inspirations and co-headlining a show with Shaq.

"I always felt like I could have been a cop or an attorney," said the 48-year-old techno-Trap guru Gary Richards, otherwise known as Destructo.

Destructo - Dare You 2 Move (feat. Problem)

"I know that may sound kinda weird, 'cause I want people to party, but I'm pretty thorough." Destructo, the LiveStyle North America President, and one of EDM's most decorated DJs, is an astute perfectionist and says the key to success in the dance world is exactly as demanding as it sounds. "You gotta be relentless and original. We all have the same tools and everybody copies everybody," the DJ said frankly before taking the stage at Electric Zoo. "You gotta create something new that we haven't heard, and then you gotta just pound down every door."

Destructo's meteoric rise doesn't come as a shock considering the DJ's work ethic. He is the godfather of North America's EDM scene, and everyone from Deadmau5 to J.U.S.T.I.C.E. rose to fame in part thanks to Destructo's impact on dance music. "Honestly, my greatest skill is just that I've just been around for a long time," Destructo said. "If I was entering dance music now, I don't know what I'd do. A lot of people make really good electronic music now, so to be great is really tough. I would have probably become a lawyer."

The producer also recently supported DJ Diesel⁠—otherwise known as Shaquille O'Nea⁠l—at Brooklyn Mirage. They also conquered the Hollywood Avalon back in December. Needless to say, Destructo is a huge fan. "Shaq is legit," Destructo said. The duo performed at Brooklyn Mirage after Ezoo. "I saw a video of him DJing way back when he played basketball at LSU. He had the same set up that I had back then, and currently, he's playing some of the gnarliest riddim out there."

Additionally, Destructo recently released "No Retreat" and "Rubberband," and willl return to LA for his annual All My Friends festival in October. "I have a really odd process, 'cause I'm not in the studio all day, every day anymore. I've always got so much stuff goin' on, so that's why I always collab with people. "I can't just sit in a room by myself and come up with a masterpiece, so my collaborators really help me bring that extra level to whatever it is I'm working on."

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How Ariana Grande ruined La La Land for me

Was Ariana Grande an inspiration for La La Land's hit soundtrack?

Here's The Introduction

This is the part of the article where I tell you that I enjoyed La La Land. I paint myself as one of those rare cinematic consumers who neither overrated nor underrated Damian Chase's musical ode to the City of Angels. It has moving moments but a slow beginning. But this isn't a film review. This is about the music.

Much of what makes La La Land compelling is the bold simplicity of its themes. Musical themes. Hidden beneath layers of minor 7ths and modulation are some pretty clear-cut melodies that indelibly imprint themselves right onto the amygdala. One such theme is from "Another Day of Sun". The opening number contains a progression and melody that is repeated throughout the film and appears as an island of pop in an ocean of jazz. It rings of familiarity, yet it's hard to place.

After seeing the film, I soon found myself humming this theme everywhere. In the shower, back alley stairwells, the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store. This melody, both pervasive and elusive, haunted my steps, longing to be connected with an identity long past. Then one day, I was making a chicken salad sandwich in the kitchen, discussing the matter with my brother (at this point it had become a matter of great importance). Suddenly, it struck me, like the scene in Jaws, when Roy Scheider's character hears the screams of the first shark attack and that weird dolly zoom thing happens on screen. Not familiar? Take a moment to refresh yourself:

Anyway, it was just like that. After days of incessant humming, trying to excavate my mind for melodic memories, a neurological wall broke open, and out of the dust, a single figure appeared.


Ariana Grande

Of course! How could I have been so deaf to the blatantly obvious? Justin Hurwitz's theme lines up with the Pre-Chorus from Grande's "Problem". Don't believe me? Let's take a listen.

First, we'll listen to Hurwitz's "Another Day of Sun Melody" as it reappears towards the end of La La Land. Listen carefully!

Catchy ain't it? Alright, now that we've got that covered, let's head on over to Ariana and take a listen to the Pre-Chorus from "Problem".

It's so clear! Justin Hurwitz was clearly listening to My Everything while composing for La La Land. I can't believe that...what? Oh, you're still unconvinced? Hmm, well, let's try them together and see what you think.

The Reveal

So what do you think? Well, I don't really care what you say, because to me, La La Land and Ariana Grande will forever be inextricably linked. And every good story needs a reveal so here it is: I love this. Far from ruining La La Land, this confluence of Teen Nick royalty and Hollywood hierarchy only serves to strengthen my love of each respective work. Yes, the title was a lie, but get used to it, this is the internet.

If you have yet to see La La Land, it's sure to stay in theaters for awhile. If you haven't heard Ariana Grande's My Everything, honestly that's impressive and I applaud your skills of evasion. At any rate, I encourage you to check out both the film and the album. If you need to hear that mash up again before embarking...well be my guest...