[The Audiofiles] Go HARD or Go Home: Gary Richards and the Evolution of His EDM Empire

Cross Published on The DJ List

As a innovator and pioneer of the dance music scene in Los Angeles, Gary Richards has forged an empire of sound out of a simple mind state: just play good music. Internationally recognized as Destructo and the head honcho behind HARD, Richards had humble beginnings as a club promoter and warehouse DJ  in perpetual search of the perfect party location.  His first two ventures  – Magical Mickey’s Holy Water Adventure in ’91 and Ravemerica in ’92- were held at Wild Rivers Water Park and Knott’s Berry Farm and spoke volumes to his creative capabilities; not to mention, they’re something his current fanbase would most certainly welcome back with open arms. ‘The Sermon’, his first real parties series, was perfectly timed to open at 6am and boasted Richards on the decks as Destructo donning a priests costume as an extended family of friends rallied around as the sun came up.  As a local Angelino with almost 15 years in the industry, he proceed to throw parties at literally every venue in town – from the Roxy to the Viper Room, The Standard to the Fonda (formerly the Music Box) and The Shrine to his personal favorite The Palladium. In 2011, he was sought out by Trent Reznor to promote the American release of ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ at his Mouth Taped Shut Parties and he’s even forayed into the silverscreen as the Music Supervisor for the 2001 flick 15 minutes; though it’s not likely he’ll be back again.

“I just do what I like to do, I dont do test stuff with audiences; I just kinda go ‘Hey, let’s do this!’ The thing with Trent was way different, he personally asked me to help promote the parties – but movies, I’m good with what I’m doing right now”

As I sit silently grinning on my cell phone, a gregarious Richards sits on the other end; and as he delves into the details on his new Album, it’s easy for me to forget that the musical tastemaker and global jet-setter had literally just walked in the door from LAX. For the last few days, he’s been in Europe as part of The West Coast EP World Tour in promotion of his latest album dropping later this year. For the past few months, he’s been deep in the studio curating his signature G-House sound for ‘The West Coast’ EP and his latest single ‘Party Up’ featuring YG, one of the first releases on Insomniac’s new label.

As a DJ I always try to find something new – that’s the point of being a DJ, playing something new. I heard some stuff incorporating hip-hop into house and wanted to do a whole set, but there just wasn’t enough material.  So I went into the studio with intentions and sampled some stuff from Dr. Dre.,” explains Richards, ” I thought it’s cool – but I thought it’d probably just be better to get a real rapper instead of sampling.  I hooked up with YG before and it worked out real well, and he introduced me to other artists – and not only are the songs cool, but it’s fun.  What I do, it’s computer, programming, synthesizers – so to have someone come in as professional lyricist, or someone to who really sing and put it over all that – it’s like discovering a new planet; it adds so much more to the music, it’s exciting.

Though we can’t tell you who else he’s collaborating with, we can  tell you that he’s excited. For an artist who draws inspiration from personal favorites like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, NWA and Dr.Dre – this album is set to be a Pandora’s box full of eclectic earcandy and creative collaborations.

From promoter to producer, father and husband, artist to audience – Richards is more or less a modern day Renaissance man. Hand picked by Rick Rubin to handle A&R for the Electronic Music division Def American Recordings, Richards was responsible for bringing in the electronic rock sound of Prodigy, Lords of Acid and XL Recordings.  As he catapulted throughout the industry, Richards forayed back to DJing and Producing when he realized that what people were really craving was the live experience.

On New Years Eve ’07,  Richards threw a the party of a lifetime – and by in just 7 years, the HARD  franchise has catapulted from a one night stand into an international empire with events spanning from North America and into England and Australia, curated stages at festivals like ULTRA and EDC,  and last but certainly not least, the cruise everyone craves: Holy Ship! Since it’s inception, the HARD brand has forever been at the crux of music festivals – offering up something a little darker and outside the norm of a more ‘mainstream’ event, and has  become synonymous with exceptional live performances from some of the most talented, multifaceted artists across the board.  Though they might differ in terms of styles and traditional ‘genres’ – they all do have one thing in common: they play good music.  Through the pursuit of exceptional artists and his annual US tours, Destructo has catapulted the careers of artists, peers and friends like the Dub Police, Boys Noize, Wolfgang Gartner, Rusko, Crystal Castles, the Bloody Beetroots,  and is responsible for bringing the awe-inspiring South African group Die Antrword to Los Angeles.

I just like good music.  It’s just about dancing and having a good time – but I always try to pepper something in with an edge.”  Take one gander at his lineups over the last seven years and you’ll find yourself wondering whether you’ve stumbled into an EDM Festival or a Rock Show – but according to Richards, that’s the point.  “HARD is like a salad – artists like Bootsy Collins, Bootsy Collins, Giorgio Mororer, Miike Snow; they keep it fresh.

Every brand has growing pains as they reach their pinnacle, and HARD is no different; take the most recent HARD Hollywood Bowl date featuring the legendary Nile Rodgers and Chic, Giorgio Moroder for example. “Sometimes when you try new things, they don’t always work – I got ahead of myself” lamented Richards, ‘We will definitely be having them for a show because they deserve the notoriety.” The main difference between some brands and this brand – perseverance. Minor setbacks aside, HARD has blossomed into a household musical name, hosting shows from LA to Miami and New York City to Colorado.

Next Thursday,  HARD’s ruckus returns to Red Rocks with Knife Party, Dillon Francis, Samo Sound Boy and Julio Bashmore and Richards couldn’t be more excited –

Red Rocks – favorite venues anywhere period.  I remember the U2 album ‘Blood Red Sky’  from when I was a little kid.  It was recorded there live. They sold out that place, and to now sell out that place with house music; I’m humbled.  And the people of Colorado are fucking awesome – they know their music!

The day after Red Rocks, he’ll rush back to Los Angeles for the 7th anniversary of HARD Summer. With LA’s Historic Park under construction – the event has migrated to the Whitter Recreation area, about an hour away from the heart of Los Angeles.  From Beyond location, fans should note some fantastic changes coming their way:

“It’s a much larger park so we have more room…and we have grass! We added a fifth stage – so just expanding and making it into a more proper festival.”

Representing each and every genre, HARD’s lineup boasts a menagerie of musicians – the HARD and HARDER stage featuring the ‘biggest acts’ and the Green, Pink and Purple tents speaking to specific sounds, according to Richards – he’s basically DJing the DJs.   On Saturday, the Pink Stage hosts the Dirtybird Crew with Worthy, J.Phlip and Justin Martin and  Sunday will showcase the G-House on Green Stage as Destructo joins Tech House phenoms Brodinski, Sharam Jey, Kill Frenzy, DJ Mustard and favorites Hannah Wants, Bones, Vanilla Ace and production partner Wax Motif.  “We all go together like butter; it’s 10 artists vibing out to the same beat.”

If we’re going to talk about every genre, we have to mention the Trance elephant in the room – Tiesto.  Though Richards admits he’d never host a whole stage, if there’s one or two guys in the Trance scene that are habitually turning it out (we’re looking at you, Anjunabeats) – they’ll be there.

Originally introduced through Zedd to, Tiesto was in talks to come to Holy Ship 2013. Though that fell through, his agent reached out to Richards again this year and after paying his own way to the cruise – Tiesto got to pull surprise of a lifetime as Zedd introduced him as the guest act of the weekend.  And after playing a late night back to back deep house set in the disco of Holy Ship!, Richards was taken back by Tiesto’s skill and sold on his abilities to bring something new and different to HARD,.

“It seems like the perfect thing.  People are excited to see him, and I’m stoked because he gets to play what he wants.  He’s an awesome fucking DJ. It’s weird when you say the word trance because what I think of trance and what you think on trance is different. When I started DJing, Trance was synthesizer, arpegiated, super deep long, electronic, synth-ed out really cool shit – and somehow it turned into vocal pop music. What happens a lot with these guys is they have to live up to their name, they have to live up to what fans think of them. But they want to do different stuff too, they don’t always want to do the same thing.”

Between developing the HARD brand and his perpetual push to fill the world with good music, Richards has built more than an empire of music -in a true reflection of our cultural melting pot, he’s assembled a brazen community of international music lovers, simply begging the world for more good music.  Catch Richards as Destructo next Thursday at Red Rocks, then Sunday 8/1 at HARD Summer on the Green Stage.

Keep up with Gary Richards through his socials – The DJ List | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

HARD SUMMER FULL LINE UP

 

[The Audiofiles] 2013 – A Year In Musical Review

Looking back at my posts from the last year, one that stands out the most to be is my 2012 Year in Musical Review.  Partially, because it’s catalyzed my writing career on multiple fronts – but mostly because music, especially kickass live music, is something I truly care about to my core.  Music influences our moods, our personalities and even our daily interactions.  Unless there’s something highly important and technical that I have a deadline for, I’m literally submersed in music 24/7 – from the time my alarm and I wake up, to my morning runs, to the drive to work, you get the picture: I more or less have provided myself with a soundtrack to my life.  With my attention span as short as it is (…squirrel!…), I constantly refresh my collection of original jams, remixes and singles and try to take in as much live music as I can.

I’ve been leafing through the ticket stubs and reminiscing about the excellent year in music that I just had.  From attempting to co-start a music forum site and to with The DJ List, my daily extra-curricular activities have always circled around new music, fresh artists and the latest and greatest they have to offer.  Somehow, even though I’ve managed to be busier than I’ve ever been I’ve definitely managed to fit in some quality R&R (Rave & Relaxation) into the mix. So, without further ado – here are my musical musings for 2013; enjoy!

Live Shows: Concerts and Festivals

Best Trance Show:

Above & Beyond @ Avila Beach,

Cosmic Gate @ Palladium (Runner Up)

Truth be told, I’m sitting here trying my hardest to even place Cosmic Gate in second place because Above & Beyond’s sunset at Avila Beach was just so spectacular!  It was a small crowd with unexpected surprises in store for everyone in my friend group – we each found someone at the event from out of town (LA, Riverside and SF) that we didn’t know was in attendance and were all simply wowed by the musical prowess the group possesses.  But Cosmic Gate is not a team to be underestimated, during the live show they brought out my favorite pixie blonde vocalist, Emma Hewitt, and Jonathan Mendelson who gave a phenomenal first live vocal performance during Nic Chagall’s ‘This Moment’.

Best D&B show: Modestep at the Nokia Club, High Contrast w. Camo & Krooked  at Dim Mak Studios

Best Deep / Tech House Show: Kaskade @ Focus OC’s 10 Year Anniversary

Best Progressive House Show: Eric Prydz / Pryda / Cirez D @ Create

Best Electro House Show: Gareth Emery @ XIV

Best Festival: Lightning in a Bottle

For the last six or seven years I’ve been a self-professed seasoned festival go-er and have a host of Insomniac, HARD and GoVentures events under my EDM belt (almost 40 if you want to get specific), but truth be told last year I only attended three festivals, one of them being Sea of Dreams on NYE. For as much as the lineup to  HARD Summer thrilled my pants off, the event didn’t…however, Lightning in a Bottle and Sea of Dreams surely did.  Each was musically right in their own right but on a more personal level, I truly felt bonded to the community that LIB and Burning Man cultivates and have actively been seeking out similar events ever since.

Best Festival Set: Keys n Krates, Dillon Francis, Alex Metric ((HARD Summer)) HeRObust, Pumpkin, Rusko, The Polish Ambassador,  Odeza, Andreilien ((LIB)), LowRIDERz, A-Trak, Thievery Corporation ((Sea of Dreams))

Best Venue: Sea of Dreams @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | NYE was one of the most amazing musical experiences I’ve ever had, everything about the night was golden and a lot of that is due to the venue and soundsystem that came with it; top notch.

Weird but Rad Venue: Lightning in a Bottle @ Lake Skinner, Temecula, CA | I was tempted to give LIB the gold star for ‘Best Venue’ but after the all of the shenanigans with the county and residents of Riverside, I’ll wait until next year to grant the festival that award.  Basically, I want to see it shine in all of its glory; not just in my personal experiences but for the greater community in attendance as well.

Best Pool Party: Daylight

Best Party: Sea of Dreams

Best Up and Coming Venue: Sound in Hollywood

Favorite Reopened VenueCreate (previously, known as Vanguard)

Best CrowdDoLab shows – Avalon | If you only remember one thing about the music scene in LA, let it be this: the Do Lab will always do you right.  I always look forward to the art infused musical events they throw.  Whether they’re at the Nokia Club, King King or out in the middle of nowhere Riverside – they make sure to cater to all of your senses and the people who show up are some of the nicest friends you hadn’t met you.

Douche-iest CrowdXIV by Hyde, Greystone Manor, Sutra | I still hold by last year’s statement about Sutra, but now that I’ve finally attended events at Greystone and XIV I can easily bump those two to the top of the list.  Maybe it goes hand-in-hand with my appetite for all things Do Lab and underground, but I can’t wrap my head around wearing 3″+ heals to a club and cozy-ing up to people just snag an extra drink (or five).  I prefer the let-your-freak-flag-fly mentality of other events and prefer stomping around in flats to trying to maintain a proper demeanor in an outfit that’s definitely not meant for dancing.

Best Lasers: Create and Exchange have most definitely stepped their laser game up in the last year, far surpassing anything that Avalon has ever done (sorry guys – not knocking the place (it’s still rad!) but it’s true).

Ferry Corsten @ Exchange
Hit us with those laser beams
*pew pew pew*

Artists

Favorite Set/Act of 2013: Above & Beyond in Avila Beach

Best Surprise of 2013: Crywolf, Mitis, Kill Paris, Disclosure, Keys n Krates, Flume

So Glad I (Re-)Discovered: Bonobo, Emancipator, Shpongle, The Magician, 

Remixes So Nicely:  SubFocus, Flume

Best Remix-er: Boy Noize, Dillon Francis, Cazzette

Favorite Vocalists: Jonathan Mendelson, Alex Clare, Annabel Englund, MNEK, Chet Faker, Florence Welch, Emma Hewitt

Most Disappointing: Daft Punk everything; maybe because it was directly juxtaposed to Keys’n’Krates with their live instruments, but Duke Dumont was also pretty underwhelming live and looked like he was just pressing a button; last but not least, Cedric Gervais did absolutely nothing for me.

Vocalists Who Shouldn’t Perform Live with DJs: Danny Brown

People Who Should Be Reminded They’re Not DJs: Will.i.Am, Paris Hilton

Songs:

My Top 10 Songs of the Year

  1. Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul (Steve Angello + Jaques Lu Cont Remix)
  2. Darkside – Papertrails
  3. Oliver – Night is On My Mind (Dillon Francis Remix)
  4. Disclosure – You & Me (Baauer Remix)
  5. Seven Lions + Myon & Shane 54 – Strangers
  6. Minnesota – Stardust Redux (Crywolf Remix)
  7. Maya Jane Coles ft Karin Park – Everything
  8. Thomas Jack – Booka Shake
  9. Flume ft Freddie Gibbs – Holdin’ On (LKids Remix)
  10. Lane 8 – Be Mine
  11. Mat Zo – Lucid Dreams – (M Machine Remix) [runner up]

Favorite Soundcloud Sets:

Show and Tell:

Best Hosted Web Show: BBC Radio 1 Diplo + Friends, Above & Beyond Group Therapy

Best Site for Discovering New Music: Hypem

Best Sites for Shows: MetroWize LA,Resident Advisor, The DJ List

XP Points:

Festivals Attended: Lightning in a Bottle, HARD Summer, Sea of Dreams

Shows Attended: All Day I Dream (/Lee Burridge), Donald Glaude, Richard Vission, Porter Robinson, Seven Lions(x2), Ferry Corsten, Krewella (x3), Modestep, Mimosa, Kill Paris, Crywolf, Markus Schulz, KhoMha, Jamie Jones, Jack Beats, Style of Eye, Gareth Emery, Kaskade, Skrillex, Bauuer, Eric Prydz (x2), Above & Beyond, Cosmic Gate, Candyland.

Parties Frequented: None (weird!)

[Doing it Right] HARD Summer 2013

‘It was deep, it was soulful , it was techno, it was disco – a kaleidoscope of sounds.’
A tribal beast of rhythm, a ceremony of sound, the gathering of the spirits that would lift us off the ground,
My vision was so clear, but it was still hazy in my mind;
I must have went to house heaven, because nothing’s that divine.

My Love

This Summer has been one of my busiest and best to date; but between the caliber of friendships that I’ve developed over the past year and the effervescent and ever-evolving music scene in Southern California why would I expect anything less?  This past weekend marked the annual mayhem and debauchery that is Hard Summer – one of the only multi-day EDM festivals left in the city of Los Angeles.  It’s taken a few days to recover, but somehow and somewhere between the laughs, the stories, the ‘did-you-guys-see-that?!’ moments and our tired joints we’ve managed to detox from one hell of a wild ride and revel in its glory.

One of the best things about the way HARD has transformed in the past year is that you could get fresh and funky one minute and dirty and dubstepping the next; with acts like Disclosure, Alex Metric, Oliver and Claude VonStroke‘s DirtyBird crewJ.Phlip and Justin Martin in the ‘Underground’ tent you could take a break from the ear thrashing bass (not that I don’t enjoy a good rage sesh every now and again) and groove to something different.  All in all, we couldn’t have asked for better company, weather, food trucks, people watching and amazing acts to see.

On the flip side my friends and I walked from the event with a few legitimate concerns about the safety of the set-up and layout of certain areas like the location of the food trucks, merchandise tents and the ‘Underground’ stage. The vending areas were in an incredibly central -read: profitable – area and disrupted an otherwise pleasant flow to the grounds. The biggest problem for me was having a tented off stage with closed sides. The Sahara and Gobi tents at Coachella created a similar relaxed, shady atmosphere but the addition of sides on the tent made the crowding unbearable and trampling a definite possibility. I was there for Disclosure and so thankful we escaped – the lack of oxygen was pretty brutal!

HARD works hand in hand with Los Angeles: when you purchase your ticket, you’re granted free access to the Metro systems in the city for the entire weekend.  It makes so many things absolutely easier on all of the festival go-ers – driving, traffic, parking, the possibility of accidents and DUIs; the list is endless and we didn’t have to fret about any of it! Once we hit Union Station, we were a mere hop, skip, jump and a ten minute walk to LA Historic Park.  On the way there was an amazing vendor handing out deliciously flavored, and might I add free, fruit-infused waters to all of us so we could fend off our impending dehydration – thank goodness!

Especially compared to the last few HARD events I’ve gone to (last year’s HARD Summer + Day of the Dead), the lines were so much more manageable this year and we barely had to wait; the addition of metal barricades between the lines was absolutely necessary and completely welcomed.  After a friendly little frisk by the security team, we were on and through to the other side: lights, camera, action – here we go!

I had-had-had to make sure we were inside by the time Keys n Krates hit the stage and rightfully so – I guarantee you one thing, they are part of an EDM revolution with the likes of Modestep, Infected Mushroom and the old Pendulum live sets.  There’s just something so damn magical about live instruments – especially the evolution and pairing of them with modern forms of electronics and technology.  It’s giving me a braingasm just thinking about it!  We bounced around between the stages essentially the entire day, because we have severe forms musical ADD and after Tommy Trash tore the city a new one the main stage never really sounded the same.

Day 2 was a whole horse of a different color when compared to the first day; chalk it up to people on Sunday needing to go to work on Monday (or, conversely, people on Saturday who planned on partying for 36 hours straight) but the vibe was a lot more low key and I heard lots more people interject with a “Sorry!” or an “Excuse me…”.  It was like we all got some unwritten memo about chilling out, and we did.  If the aggression of the first twelve hours dissuaded anyone from coming back to another HARD event I surely hope they let the second day change their minds.  Like usual, I came out of this festival with more friends than I went into it with; but, I’ve been doing one thing differently as of late that I hope everyone employs at festivals sooner or later: turn off your phone.  Not just the mobile network but the entire thing!  Sure, in emergencies whip that shit out and find your passe but while you have one: enjoy the moment and focus on the friends that are next to you instead of concerning yourself with people that aren’t around.   You’ll find your entire experience so much more enjoyable; trust me!

Justin Martin

Miau!

Zedd

For an excellent way to bounce through your day, peruse these fine sets from my favorite acts at Hard Summer; enjoy!

[The Audiofiles] Required Listening for HARD Summer, Day 2

Well, it’s happened – it’s August!

 It’s been officially one year, 200+ posts and 80+ subscribers since I started this amazing blog last Summer and I have to admit – it’s the best kind of therapy a girl can have.  Thoughts stream from my brain, through my veins and onto the screen with beautiful synchronicity and I’ve watched myself grow from a confused young lady to a less confused woman.  Also, I’ve realized that it’s a crying shame I never formally created a 2013 Bucket List because there’s a lot of things I could be crossing off right now – like this:

My first Drive Thru Car Wash!

To that effect, this week has been beyond bonkers and full of wonderful food and good company [ per usual; noticing a theme, yet? 😉 ].  First things first though, I love the way that new months are announced! Whether it’s a friendly ‘Rabbit, rabbit’ or someone posting Bone Thugs n Harmony, the first of the month is always full of wonder [ e.g. ‘I wonder how the fuck this year has gone by so fast! ]  I remember last Summer when I was getting ready for HARD – while most girls are sitting around debating about outfits, getting excited about makeup; I’m sitting around drafting schedules and figuring out who I must-see this weekend.

Tracklist:

  1. Justice – Helix
  2. Bassnectar – Upside Down
  3. Empire of the Sun – Walking on a Dream
  4. Zedd – Spectrum
  5. Crystal Castles – Plague
  6. Disclosure – You & Me (Baauer Remix)
  7. Dillon Francis – IDGAFOS 2.0
  8. Etc!Etc! x Brillz – Callisto
  9. Flosstradamus – Rollup
  10. Gesaffelstein – Control Movement
  11. Mr. Oizo – Secam
  12. Busy P – Still Busy
  13. Claude Vonstroke – Beat That Bird
  14. Breakbot – Baby I’m Yours
  15. Brodinski – Let The Beat Control Your Body
  16. Felix Catral & Clockwork – The Fire
  17. Rudimental – Feel The Love
  18. Justin Martin & Eats Everything – Feather Fight
  19. Eats Everything – Jagged Edge
  20. Paper Diamond – Can We Go Up
  21. Breach – Jack
  22. J.Phlip – Big Ass, Party Hat
  23. Cashmere Cat – Mirror Maru
  24. Don Diablo – M1 Stinger (gLAdiator Remix)

Unfortunately, with how much vacation I’ve taken and the limited amount of time I’ve been able to update, I haven’t done a ‘Wednesday Watercooler’ piece in forever.  And, with the amazing news that I’ve been hearing and reading about lately it’s truly a shame! So, before we get into the fun and fabulous post I had in store -I thought I’d hit you with a dose of awesome links and reads to make your cheeks hurt from laughing and turn that pretty mind of yours in circles.  We’ve got the whole spectrum: science, silliness and of course – cats, so let’s dive in

So, here it is – your Friday Fun Links:

Music: Revealed: The Part of Our Brains That Makes Us Like New Music

Funny: 16 Problems Every Petite Girl Deals With, illustrated by cats

School: Teacher Takes Student’s Phone, Sets Passcode as Math Problem Answer

Science: The trouble with teleportation: It could take quadrillions of years

Cats: Cat Stowaway Survives On Freighter From Philippines To LA

Equality: 75 Unforgettable Moments From Minnesota’s First Day Of Marriage Equality

And a few videos – just because they’re AWESOME:

Homeland Season 3 Preview:

Living in a Van Down By The River…

And with that, a fabulous weekend to you and yours! Xx

[The Audiofiles] Required Listening for HARD Summer, Day 1

This morning I woke up, looked at my calendar and almost freaked out because this is the last week of July;  I’m sure I’ve said this a few times already this year but where the hell has the time gone?! Granted, I’m far busier than I’ve ever been: last November I started volunteering at an organization called the Kitty Bungalow: Charm School for Wayward Cats and was quickly named the Board Liaison for the organization.  During my time there, I lost track of a few very important mantras – like love yourself first, be cognizant of the way people treat those who are inconsequential to their lives and that with great power comes great responsibility.  Thank goodness I have an amazing boyfriend, support system and family to keep me in check – I was losing perspective, soul and my positive perspective; there was something sucking at my soul and I needed to breathe and figure out why.  Ultimately, I realized what was going on in that pretty little mind of mine – I was placing my dreams on the back-burner so I could go and chase someone else’s, and it was causing me the most strange kind of anxiety: that my dreams weren’t _____ enough to chase.  And just fill in the blank with whatever you will: good, valid, amazing, wonderful, solid, proactive, achievable, doable.  After a few weeks of minor anxiety attacks and frustrations, I realized that what I was forgetting/neglecting/ignoring was the most important part about these dreams: they’re mine.

I took a deep breath to re-evaluate my life’s trajectory and then I made a move: I left the organization.  I love cats, I love people and I love making lives better – but it’s difficult to remain affable and altruistic when at the end of the day I’m unable to help myself.   Beyond my dreams being deferred, the kicker was that owner of this amazing foundation built on the idea of saving feral cats couldn’t figure out how to treat people.  I took a moment and mediated on an adage from an old friend – you can’t win’em all, but you can surely throw the game; so, after toying around with e-mail drafts for two weeks I finally took the plunge and sent in my resignation letter.

It hasn’t even been a month since I’ve sent it – twenty days to be exact – but in my adult life, I can tell you one thing for sure: my soul feels free again.  I’ve had the chance to experience, embrace and cultivate so many new and exciting feelings within my heart, soul and head.  Each day, I fall more in love with my soulmate – the term ‘boyfriend’ doesn’t do it justice and the English language lacks the capabilities to aptly describe the way I feel inside.   He’s my biggest cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on and the best support system – and friend – a girl could ask for.  We’ve been able to spend more time together – and productive time at that: laying down the groundwork of our goals and converting them into possible realities.   He makes me believe – not just in myself, but in my dreams and the time I’ve invested into them;  it’s surreal and I can only hope everyone finds this type of counterpart in their life.

What’s even better is that my dad came into town this weekend and I got to introduce my favorite men to each other – it was so much fun!  We ate – oh, we ate – well, had wonderful conversation and I even got to introduce my father to Danny’s mom – best relaxing weekend I’ve had in a while!  On Friday we headed over to the Farmer’s Market at the Grove to have some Brazilian BBQ and Pinkberry; on Saturday we got our Eggs Benedict on at an amazing place called Tres at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. They had feta foam on top of the eggs; just process that for a second and try not to drool on your keyboard. During the day, we had an adventure to Universal Citywalk to catch Despicable Me 2 in 3D – if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out.  One of the cutest movies I’ve seen in a long time and probably the best sequel ever  Finally, we ended the day with some stellar Sushi and conversation.  Sunday morning was for the parents meeting – and that went phenomenally.  We all took a walk down to the Farmer’s Market and got some crepes – both sweet and savory – and the Waffles Versaille.  I was tres full!  Last but not lease we rounded out the weekend with some Abbey Road on vinyl – because why not!

Speaking of being a perpetual five year old trapped in the body of a 28 year old, there are certain things that will simply put never ever lose their meaning to me.  There are little bits and pieces of my reality that I covet and keep close to my soul; n no particular order: bubbles, cotton candy, sprinklers that create rainbows, tanlines, live music, miniature bottles of liquor, costumes and fabulous people.   There’s something uniquely special about each one of them to me, but if you throw them all together and put a little magic in it – you essentially get a music festival. And speaking of, we’re currently gearing up for one in LA right now!  HARD Fest is proud to present HARD Summer – coming up at LA’s State Historic Park. Last year’s event was absolutely ridiculous and this year’s shouldn’t be any different!  I’ve compiled a playlist of the Day 1 artists to get down to and I’ll hit y’all with a Day 2 playlist later this week =) enjoy!

 

  1. Knife Party – Internet Friends
  2. Duck Sauce – Barbra Streisand
  3. Dog Blood – Next Order
  4. DJ Fresh – Gold Dust (Flux Pavilion Remix)
  5. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
  6. Major Lazer – Bubble Butt f. 2 Chainz
  7. SBTRKT – Wildfire
  8. Disclosure ft AlunaGeorge – White Noise
  9. TNGHT – Acrylics
  10. Tommy Trash – Monkey In Love
  11. Kill the Noise – My World
  12. RL Grime – Pockets
  13. Alvin Risk – SKYCLAD
  14. Destructo – Higher
  15. Oliver – Night is On My Mind
  16. Duke Dumont – The Giver
  17. Will Sparks – Ah Yeah (TJR Edit)
  18. Alex Metric ft Oliver – Motion Study
  19. Keys n Krates – Dreamyness

Doing it Right: HARD Summer 2012

One of the best parts about living in Los Angeles (and trust me when I say there are a lot of great things about living here), is that there is never a shortage of fun to be had – especially in the summer months.  The sun is bouncing down on the city, and the city bounces back with some crazy fun parties located anywhere and everywhere: hotel rooftops, parking garage rooftops, warehouses in the depths of downtown, and sometimes even a Tiki Boat!

Just last weekend, HARD Fest hosted HARD Summer at LA State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles.  What’s typically a relatively quiet sanctuary in the middle of a bustling city was transformed into a menagerie of colors, glowing objects, and kandi covered ravers.   The festival lit up the downtown skyline for two days from the early evening deep into the night and boasted top notch acts in multiple genres.  A definite perk of HARDsummer was that riding the Metro was free; no one had to worry about traffic, parking or who would be tasked with driving us home.

First, let’s get real for a second, and I love getting real: the lineup for the first night was less than impressive; however it was also a lot less packed.  The crowd was easier to navigate and even though I lost my phone, I didn’t lose my friends. Secondly, let me tell those of you that have yet to attend a multi day festival: it is aggressive!  Admittedly, my exhaustion after day one was mostly due to running from stage to stage in search of a danceable beat – but there were a few DJs that made my heart happy and made faces in the crowd melt.
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