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Can this man clean up EDM? 'They find all kinds of things in those pills' | Musique Non Stop

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can this man clean up EDM? 'They find all kinds of things in those pills'

Gary Richards was instrumental in the rise of electronic dance music in the US. Now his challenge is grappling with the surging number of drug-related deaths on the scene – including at his Hard Summer festivals

Gary Richards is battling middle age as hard as he can. The former party host at the heart of the 90s rave scene in Los Angeles, he’s now 46, a dad, and a multimillionaire promoter whose rave empire was bought out in 2012 by a multinational corporation. But that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down. His just-released EP as Destructo, his DJ name, is called Renegade, to reflect his position as an artist who does things his own way. “I don’t put up any rules or walls,” he says. “I don’t feel that my sound is one style of music. It’s a smattering of lots of different things.”

The same could be said of his role as a genre-defying promoter. When he founded Hard ten years ago, Richards anticipated EDM’s explosion in America before almost anybody else, and in the process has achieved nearly unrivaled success. But the music’s ascent has paralleled a different, terrifying trend: the recreational drug landscape has begun to change dramatically. New, unregulated chemicals manufactured in China have come to America and can often be found on the electronic music scene, including everything from so-called “bath salts” to deadly stimulants and amphetamines. The result has been a vast, uncontrolled cultural and pharmaceutical experiment with a rising death toll. And Hard has become a staging ground for the experiment.

Related: EDM's 'summer of death' reporting is more than just tabloid raving

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by Ben Westhoff via Electronic music | The Guardian
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