“You have to be different, because everybody else has already been taken.”
Since first stepping foot into the world of dance music in the early 90s, renowned producer and entrepreneur Destructo has done it all.
From DJing at the world’s largest music festivals to helming the fabled All My Friends brand to founding the fabled HARD series, Destructo changes the game with each venture. His latest musical release finds him dropping a collaborative single with fellow electronic music superstar TroyBoi.
Their new song “You’re The One For Me” is a feel-good, summertime bop reminiscent of Destructo’s childhood in New Orleans. With a disco-influenced rhythm and melody, the track perfectly fuses funk and house into a unique blend. The single also arrived alongside an official music video directed by Alex “GRIZZ” Loucas.
During the weekend of Tampa’s Sunset Music Festival, we sat down with Destructo prior to his scintillating performance to talk about music production, collaboration, and his unique backstory.
EDM.com: You’ve got a new single out with TroyBoi. Some might say this is a peculiar collaboration, in the sense that your music is rooted in house and TroyBoi’s in trap. How did the song come to be?
Destructo: I’ve always been a huge fan of his and a supporter, and have booked him a ton. I feel like in that style of music he’s one of the best. I always say he’s got the best drops. They’re always unique and interesting. And then when I met him, he’s such a sweet guy, we just kind of hit it off and we have always been friends.
He was sending me some music that he was working on with some throwback stuff, and I was thinking, “I have this one record that I’ve always been trying to mess with.” It was a throwback record that we got the rights too to work with on this track. So I got it all played up, then I sent it to him, and he kind of worked with it, and we just sent it back and forth a few times. After some time it just came out naturally.
He did a remix for me too, for my track with Busta Rhymes. Whenever I want something a little more hard-hitting or interesting, I always try to get TroyBoi into the program. Yeah, we’ve been friends for a while now—I think more than anything—he’s just a good homie. I think the music is one thing, but I think our friendship is more.
EDM.com: Where did you meet TroyBoi?
Destructo: I don’t remember. It must have been at one of my shows. I must have just booked him, but I can’t remember the first time when I met him. When I usually put out one of my records, as you said, my stuff is house, but I find that if I get someone to do a remix—like a bangin’ remix—it’s cool.
You take the melodies and the vocals that I got and do them differently, so I always wanted Troy to do something, so we did a little Busta Rhymes remix, which was called “Fuckin Shit Up.” He did a sick remix of that. And then we just did this thing which I think it’s different for both of us, but it’s like a summertime feel-good record.
EDM.com: What was it like collaborating with him? Did you send the track back and forth?
Destructo: Yeah, we were never in the studio together so it was always me sending him stuff. I sent him over all the music, then he kind of assembled it all and we just kept going back and forth. We’ve been working on this thing for a year, or even more. It’s just really easy over the phone and over the interwebs. It’s always better to be together, though.
EDM.com: Do you prefer writing in the studio over collaborating over the Internet?
Destructo: It’s always better to be together.
EDM.com: What are a few of your top favorite new songs or artists you’re listening to right now?
Destructo: You know, I just heard this dude the other day LSD XOXO. I played this track last night in Salt Lake called “Mutant Exotic.” I love this funky stuff. I also really like that new one that Chris Lake did with Riva Starr called “Beat Freak.” But yeah, LSD XOXO, you heard it here first.
EDM.com: What is one top favorite old school song that you can’t seem to shake from listening to?
Destructo: Oh man, there’s like a million of them that I always play. When I do the Sunset Sermon, I always play all the throwbacks from the 90s. You know, because I’ve been DJing since around 1990, so I have all of those records on vinyl.
But I would say the one song I keep listening to is called “Together” by Falcon and Thomas Bangalter. That’s a pretty good one… I might also say “Brighter Days” by Cajmere.
EDM.com: What does this new single mean to you?
Destructo: The notes in the song are replayed from an old record that my dad played on the radio. My dad was a radio programmer, and we lived in New Orleans in the 80s. He would play that record on all the radios, it was a big record, so it just has this special place for me. So I wanted to flip it because it reminds me of being a kid.
My dad’s radio station was a top urban radio station in New Orleans, so when Rick James, The Gap Band, Al Hudson And One Way, Teena Marie, and so much funk was coming out—like the real funk—I was able to hear it as a kid and it seeped into me. I was able to pull from a big pool of it. You know, I went into dance music, but in my brain the way I conjure music is different from many people because I had that exposure to so many different things when I was a kid.
EDM.com: That’s interesting. I can hear the funk influences in many of your tracks.
Destructo: You know what’s funny is that I was doing an interview with Too $hort on his podcast—he and I did a tune together. He was telling these girls, I swear to god he said this. He was like, “It was two in the morning, I’m having my own HARD fest up in my bedroom, and I put on Destructo. And the girls were like, ‘This guy?'” And he was like, “Yeah, cause your stuff doesn’t even sound like EDM. It’s like funk.”
It’s weird because anytime people say EDM, I never want to have big drops. I want to have it more sexy and groovy. For me personally, that’s just kind of what I deal with. Sometimes I feel like maybe it takes away from me because I can’t play a lot of my stuff at the big festivals because my stuff is more groove. I always think of it like it’s “four in the morning” music.
The same thing happened with YG, when he asked me, “What’s the song about?” A lot of artists who worked with him were asking me that too—I’ve learned to kind of conjure an image… So my whole thing is, come together. I’m not your normal dude who just sits in the studio. I love that I get to work with TroyBoi, I get to work with Taiki. There’s a lot of dudes who’ve helped me see my vision.
EDM.com: Do you think this track is different from your older stuff, or is it similar but wrapped in a new way?
Destructo: Yeah, I mean it fits, you know. Everything I write, I always try to make it to play in my sets. It’s a little bit different, though. It’s a little more disco kind of a vibe.
EDM.com: There’s an inherent growth that takes place as an artist throughout the process of writing a song, from the initial idea to its release. Does that growth carry over into your personal life?
Destructo: Yeah, I think it does. I think with me, I’m just really driven, so when I get an idea for something, I drive it home, and I keep trying to make it better. I guess it does kind of mirror my life because I’m constantly chipping away.
I’ve got a stockpile of all these little ideas that I’ve started with people over the years, and that kind of mirrors my personality too because I feel like I’m best when I collaborate with people. And the key to that is as you get older, you realize who the people are that you can do that with and who it doesn’t work with. For example, there are some people who [while] collaborating will completely mess everything up, but when you’re fortunate enough to have the right people where the energy meets, it’s great.
That’s how my whole life is. Everything I do is like that. Even with our parties, or if I’m doing a festival, it’s always input from many people.
I feel like I’m good at managing all the personalities too. I know how to do it so everybody’s happy. I like to let everybody get a shine, let everybody have their thing. I think that’s the way it should be, but most people want it to be all about them, and that’s it. And I think that kind of messes our scene up a little because everyone’s fighting to get ahead, and I always look at it like, we’re all together. You know, and I try to bring everybody up, always.
EDM.com: So what would you want the younger generation to take away from this track, or what would you say to the younger producers who dream of building a music career?
Destructo: Well, I always say: be unique and be relentless. Whenever anyone asks me that, I tell them, you have to be different cause everybody else has already been taken. If you’re copying other people’s music, maybe you get lucky, but you’re not going to change the game. Then if you are that guy—if you’re Trent Reznor or Prince—don’t stop, no matter what. If you know you’re that dude, then eventually, it will find its way. And that’s it.
There’s no secret sauce that someone’s going to put on your head, and then all of a sudden you’re just going to blow up. It takes hard work and you’ve just got to keep pounding at it, and then hopefully you can cut through with something that no one’s ever seen before, and then it’s game on.
EDM.com: Looking forward, what are your plans for the future as far as releasing music? Any plans for an album?
Destructo: I’m working on some more songs with rappers. I’ve got some new stuff that Taiki Nulight is helping me with, and we’re doing some stuff together. I’m also working on another EP with all rappers and then I’ve got a couple of things more in the funk land as well. I want to do some funky disco vibe ones and then come back to more house and rap, but the songs kind of just come together when they come together.
EDM.com: Any final thoughts you want to leave with our readers?
Destructo: I’m stoked to be back. I’m stoked that we’re back. Let’s keep it like this, you know? Hopefully, this stuff doesn’t pop back up. You can’t take things for granted.
My little brother passed away in 2004, and until that happened, I didn’t have that outlook, you know? Every day is a gift. So for me, I value everything, all the time. And I think that this whole pandemic has put it into perspective for many people—don’t take things for granted. Anything can happen at any moment, so enjoy your life. This isn’t a dress rehearsal.
You can stream “You’re The One For Me” here.