HARD Haunted Mansion isn't a place for the easily rattled. In contrast to other electronic dance music fests, the Los Angeles-based Halloween weekend two-nighter is neither about "vibe" — the fantastically grandiose bells and whistles often attached to such things — nor PLUR, the peace-love-unity-respect party line of today's raver. The event, which takes place at the historic Shrine Expo Hall (once home to the Oscars), is packed wall to wall with artists who serve up their beats loud, heavy and, of course, hard. One fan-made sign summarily nailed the theme thusly: "If it's too loud, you're too old."
Of course there were costumes (an impressive percentage of which could've been described as "Slutty Skrillex"), a laser show, and above-stage images of smirking jack-o'-lanterns and slack-jawed zombies, but the focus was on the broad swath of talent amassed for the fourth annual fete — from genre-smearing godhead Skrillex to elder statesman Fatboy Slim to underground legends like Skream + Benga to future stars like Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, not to mention the supremely satisfying chaos that was Major Lazer (complete with an Usher cameo). Naturally, SPIN was there to document it all.
Read on for exclusive backstage photos and interviews with HARD's stars. — Chris Martins
Ask John Lydon: Anger is an energy, but disco is a weapon. Like so many other first-wave punks and post-punks — Wire, Joy Division, the Clash and Blondie, just to name a handful — Johnny Rotten eventually discovered that setting his shredding guitars and caterwauling vocals to a dance-floor thump gave his music a power… More »