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Beyond the bright lights, the spectacle of lasers, and the pulpit of the DJ booth, there’s an enigmatic mystery emanating from within the culture of L.A.’s vibrant electronic dance music scene. Explore it with us in eye-opening bursts as we put the city’s finest electronic music producers under the microscope to better understand their greatness in addition to their contributions to the industry in our new, electronic music-dedicated series, “Not Another DJ.” 

In the Summer of ‘86, Gary Richards landed in Los Angeles like a timebomb of showmanship excellence. He was between 9th and 10th grade when his dad’s work in the radio show business relocated the family to Los Angeles from Washington, D.C., with a stint in New Orleans along the way. With a voracious appetite for music including rock and metal, he didn’t confine his tastes to genre and it paid off. Richards released his first song “Raindance,” under the moniker Destructo, within five years of living in the city. It was the beginning of a DJing career that now spans nearly three decades. 

As the original founder of the famed Electric Daisy Carnival and Hard Events, Richards is a fixture in the California nightlife scene and arguably one of the biggest party throwers on the planet. “To create a release of their energy in bringing them together.” Richards told the L.A. Weekly while picking up takeout at his favorite L.A. food staple, Mr. Chow. “It’s definitely a thing humans need to do.” 

Heading into its second year this week, his recent 21+ project All My Friends Festival brings leviathan talents like Justice, Idris Elba, Diplo, MK, Black Coffee perform in what Richards calls “a smattering of the best house music DJs from around the world.” Held this weekend at Skylight Row in Downtown Los Angeles, “It’ll have a feeling a lot like some of the events I produced back in the day before they got commercialized and big.” Said Richards “Everyone playing is top of the top.” 

Now with three new tracks slated for debut in the coming months and a festival on a cruise just around the corner, which is cleverly named FriendShip, Richards empire is ever-expanding. He’s also living proof that true greatness doesn’t rest.  

Catch Destructo at All My Friends this Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20. All of the info is at amfdtla.com.