As the festival circuit and the weather start to warm up, west coast festival goers know it’s getting close to HARD season. The LA-based electronic events giant has announced the official lineup for their sixth annual Red Rocks event slated this year for August 2 featuring a headlining performances by DJ Snake, Virtual Self, Mija, GG Magree, and Hekler. HARD generally offers their Red Rocks lineup as a primer ahead of their flagship summer event billing, usually around the time of Coachella. If this year’s Red Rocks talent roster is any indication, expect HARD to deliver another top-notch lineup later this month.
Roping together a well-rounded bill of exciting electronic talents, HARD comes through with a characteristically bold lineup ahead of their return to Morrison, Colorado. With Porter Robinson returning to HARD Red Rocks and longtime friends of the brand in DJ Snake and Mija topping the bill, expect this year’s event to exceed the hype.
When electronic music maven Gary Richards announced his newest event, FRIENDSHIP, would be setting sail from Miami all the way to Coco Bay in the Bahamas, the wave of excitement in the dance community was high. As Dancing Astronaut first reported, the man also-known-as Destructo’s new venture would be backed by his own, and newly minted, AMFAMFAMF banner aboard the Celebrity Equinox December 11–15.
Now, AMFAMFAMF announced that cabins are no longer available for its inaugural sailing. Despite no lineup yet unveiled, 3,000 FriendShippers placed their trust in Richards’ ability to man the FRIENDSHIP’s maiden voyage and make it one to remember. FRIENDSHIP sold-out within less than 48 hours — because of course.
Richards has undoubtedly built an irrefutable reputation in the industry over the years as the founder of HARD Events and the current president of LiveStyle. As such, FriendShippers can expect some of the best international music acts aboard the ship, and though the lineup will surely prove to be an impressive feat, the four-night venture promises immeasurable beauty in itself.
Russian bass house duo Volac are back with their newest single “Walk Around.” The duo displays their unique style in cartoon comics through their own podcast, ‘VOLACAST,’ where they host guest mixes from friends and showcase their own original music.
Earlier in the year, Volac joined forces with HARD founder Destructo to make “What I Got.” The incendiary tune received more than 1 million streams on Soundcloud.
Volac’s amalgamation of bass music, g-house, and deep house has primed them for success in the current house music climate; the group’s heavy bass lines and grunting synths are carnal candy for sweaty dance floor boppers. Newest single “Walk Around” rolls as much as it thuds, synthesizing rhythm and aggressively saturated bass creating a thickly layered four on the floor sound.
House music fans should keep an ear out for Volac’s single while they “walk around” festival grounds this summer; they might recognize what they hear.
Hailing from France, one of house music’s most sonically versatile acts, Mercer, showed little to no mercy amidst his set at this year’s Hard Summer. Hitting the stage for his highly-anticipated deliverance was an equally satisfying spectacle filled with edgy, hard-hitting grooves.
If his recent works on Tchami’s label Confession served as no indication of his uncompromising abilities, his hip-hop grooved set at HARD will definitely do the trick. It’s in-your-face performances like these that launched Mercer in the electronic sphere in the first place. Listen below.
In an Instagram Live address to his fans on August 6th, Electric Daisy Carnival‘s owner and poster boy, Pasquale Rotella, discussed myriad issues concerning the dance music industry, his company Insomniac, and it’s relationship to HARD Events, and big changes on the horizon for EDC structuring and mission. Here are a few keys highlights from the address.
EDC New York may not be returning. The company is putting forth new efforts to desaturate the U.S. festival market that it helped to over inflate, focusing more on “quality over quantity of festivals.” This also means downsizing certain festivals like Nocturnal Wonderland from a three-day festival to a more boutique, limited capacity sized event.
Focus will be put on EDC Las Vegas’s transportation system, especially leaving the festival. Rotella doesn’t want to make an official public statements until all changes are solidified. However, EDM Sauce ventures to conjecture that major changes may include the rumored possible future venue change to Las Vegas’ new NFL stadium.
EDC will not move to two weekends and will not be changing the experience inside the festival. Rotella emphasized that the EDC brand and experience will always stand for electronic dance music, stressing that attendees likely won’t be seeing hip-hop on the lineup beyond producers bringing out live guest appearances, a decision that belongs to the artist.
Pasquale spoke to Hard Summer Music Festival founder Gary Richards leaving HARD Presents for LiveStyle. Rotella clarified that Insomniac has actually owned HARD for the past few years, based on a creative partnership Insomniac has with Live Nation Entertainment, the event conglomerate who purchased HARD from Gary Richards in 2012. HARD was able to operate on its own up until this year when Richard’s contract ran out.
Boys Noize producer Alex Ridha posted a clip of what sounds like a certified heater to his Instagram, showing himself and Skrillex working in the studio to prep some new tunes. While Dog Blood’s tracks have their own unique sound, fans of the two prolific producers and label bosses are already going wild for potential new releases from the project.
After spending more than a decade building his revered nightlife brand HARD Events, it is rumored that Gary Richards is being pushed out of it’s crown jewel event Holy Ship!
News is surfacing today from multiple sources close to HARD and parent/partner companies Live Nation and LiveStyle that due to an enduring feud Richards will not be booked to play or tapped to participate in Holy Ship’s 2018 iteration, set to sail this January 6. Sources also suggest that Richards’ future at the head of the HARD brand itself is now in question.
One source described a call received from a colleague close to HARD and Gary Richards as a heads up to those connected within the industry and a wake up call to fans whose noise on social media might impact the situation.
“The call was more or less an explanation of todays events,” the source disclosed. “He had asked me to spread the news amongst the community as the Holy Ship! community is very much dedicated to it’s founders and HARD.”
The source also revealed that a statement will be released to those directly involved to “keep quiet” about the events that are transpiring.
Multiple sources have suggested the root of the feud lies in the ongoing contentious relationship between Bowery Presents’ parent company AEG and Live Nation. Bowery Presents notably helped Richards arrange the first Holy Ship events by facilitating a partnership with Cloud 9.
According to interviews given by Richards earlier this year, 2017 is the last in a 5 year contract the promoter had with Live Nation which saw him at the helm of the brand and its crown jewel event Holy Ship after HARD was purchased by Live Nation back in 2012. In a recent interview, Richards sounded less than optimistic about contract negotiations, saying he’d reached “the end” with the company.
Richards continued, saying:
“there are other forces at play here that are running the electronic scene in different directions than me, and they kind of battle with me and that part of it’s not fun — and it’s unnecessary.”
Though HARD has branched out into a series of festivals and shows, the Ship has remained one of the most cherished events in dance music due to its intimate atmosphere and, largely, the efforts of Richards himself. Many of the artists who’ve been featured on the ship were given attention and a platform on the HARD bill at crucial breaking points in their careers.
Now, in a show of solidarity, sources are reporting that those artists are pulling out of contracts to perform Holy Ship. Many are allegedly unwilling to participate in the event without Richards at the helm.
Though this information comes from sources close to the brands in question, neither company has responded to requests for statements at the time of publication. It is worth nothing that Holy Ship has yet to release an official lineup, despite releasing that information in May or June in many / previous / years.
As of publication, neither Live Nation, HARD, nor Gary Richards have responded to requests for comment, but the rumors have already begun to rock through the Holy Ship community—who have already started a petition and a hashtag #NoGaryNoShip. Sign it, here.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Richards posted the following statement on his personal Facebook:
To all the HARDfam & Shipfam :
I am leaving Live Nation after this week’s Hard event to pursue an incredible new opportunity that I will share with everyone in the weeks to come. Accordingly, I will not be attending or curating the next Holy Ship cruise event in 2018. I have the utmost respect for Michael Rapino and Live Nation.Let’s make this week’s 10th anniversary show the best HARD event ever! – Gary Richards AKA Destructo
This statement is of course a stark contrast to the rumors currently circulating, and the kind of civil response one might imagine would come from someone amidst a high profile business split — especially if there are new opportunities being pursued underneath the controversy. That said, if Richards indeed has an “incredible new opportunity” in the works, this can be taken as reassurance that the beloved figure will continue to play a large role in the electronic sphere regardless of where his alliances lie. Hopefully, some more light will be shed in the foreseeable future as to what the rave magnate has in store.
One thing is for certain: his confirmed absence at Holy Ship has already sent somber shock waves throughout the community. Comments on the original post are pouring in from fans expressing their undying support and wishes that he will be able to attend the annual affair last minute.
No way would I have ever done @HOLY_SHIP if it wasn’t for @DestructoHARD …almost positive I can speak for most of the artists
Industry mainstay and G-House legend Destructo has been known to bring out the best talent for his many events, including EDC, Hard Summer, Holy Ship!, and more. This EP is no different, featuring five remixes of “All Nite,” a track from his recent Renegade project.
The blend of house and hip hop in Destructo’s original track, which features Bay Area icons E-40 and Too $hort, allows for a versatile and engaging range of remixes. Noise Frenzy leads off the EP, dropping a dark house remix with a growling bassline fit for any dance floor.
Thereafter, Getter‘s remix follows, in which he channels his inner Herobust for a crisp yet grimy trap and dubstep output. The second half of the EP features both Motez and Brohug’s house offerings along with Parker’s energetic festival trap chaos. This diverse and refreshing remix EP means “All Nite” is here to stay and may be a staple of this festival season.
In the course of a decade, HARD has become one of dance music’s most globally recognized event producers. This August marks a major milestone for the brand: the 10-year anniversary of its flagship festival, HARD Summer. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Gary Richards and co. have pulled out all the stops for their LA institution with prestigious headliners such as Dog Blood, Justice, Bassnectar, and Snoop Dogg. However, the festival’s enviable lineup extends far beyond its closing slots. Delving further into the lineup, we’ve tapped some of our favorite acts on the bill for an interview series leading up to the festival.
Those unfamiliar with LA’s Kittens, may want to check their cute and cuddly expectations at the door. A tenacious tastemaker, skilled operator behind the console, and vetted Fool’s Gold affiliate, Kittens is coming up behind dance and pop’s most venerated forces as she sinks her claws into the game. Following quite literally in the footsteps of another certain selector who got his start spinning beats for Kanye West on the road some time ago, while learning the industry ropes from her mentor, Usher, Kittens is on the rise, fine-tuning a sound that’s a spirited blend of her genre-blurring inspirations. What else would one expect from A-Trak and the Prince of Pop’s collective brainchild though?
But support from some of the industry giants and the endless count of “top female DJ lists” aren’t Kittens’ highest interests. She’s out to make a name for herself as a cultural influencer, and DJing is just the vehicle that’s getting her there. Dabbling in trap, hip-hop, club and house genres, Kittens isn’t contained by one sound, making her a crafty wild card behind the decks. She’s even coined her own splinter-genre term, “LA Club” alongside Hoodboi, Falcons, and Promenite as a member of the Athletixx collective.
Since Kittens’ emergence in 2013, she’s proven to be a captivating, vivacious talent who’s steady upward trajectory has been entertaining to watch, and hear, although it’s still very clearly just the beginning for this burgeoning soon-to-be jet setter. With a number of high profile bookings under her belt, including Fool’s Gold’s Day Off series, Coachella’s Heineken House, and HARD’s Holy Ship and Day of the Dead, Kittens is no stranger to the booming LA dance circuit, though this summer, she’s taking on LA’s biggest dance event of the year for one of the biggest outings of her career.
Read our interview with Kittens below.
What has been the biggest breakthrough of your career?
DJ’ing for Kid Cudi. I was going to college at the time and working a marketing job at a nightclub (where sometimes I was able to DJ). I happened to be playing the right stuff at the right time apparently, because one thing led to another and next thing I knew — I was touring with Kid Cudi. I went from playing small local parties to full on stadiums and festivals plus, was able to meet some incredible people who have been huge supporters throughout my career. That was really one of those “meant to be” fate-type of moments in my life.
What are you looking forward to most about HARD Summer?
I’m really excited to be playing alongside so many artists I really love and look up to. HARD Summer has always been a big deal for me because I started attending many years ago and Gary just always gets really cool people booked who you don’t get to see too often.
What is different about your experience performing at festivals now as opposed to the beginning of your career?
Definitely playing at better times has been a huge difference. It’s nice playing to a crowd that already had a minute to get settled in and warmed up for the day but more than that, I think just being much more comfortable with myself has made a huge difference. I was always so nervous to the point where I couldn’t just really let go while I played. I was more focused on not messing anything up, lol. Now it’s just really fun and exciting.
If you could be another artist for a day, who would you pick?
Diplo probably. He really gets to do it all from the traveling to crazy places, to working with the best artists…playing and attending really dope events in general. His life seems pretty fire.
If you could recommend three artists to catch from the lineup, who would you pick?
Uniiqu3 (she’s got the most amazing energy and is just such a goddess), Skepta (you don’t wanna miss out on the heaviest UK turn up vibe of the century), & Mike WiLL Made-It (we all know he’s gonna be bringing out all your favorite rappers for this one).
If you were recruited to provide an Essential Mix in 2017, what’s the one song you couldn’t leave out?
Anything by Future lol. I’ve been the biggest Stan for Future since his first mixtapes and my love for him just grows. It’s become an obnoxious joke amongst my friends at this point.
Prepare for Kittens’ HARD Summer set with her HARD Day of the Dead 2015 mixtape:
Information and tickets for HARD Summer are available here.