Things To Do: Destroy The Boys, Secret Group, June 16, 2022
Destroy Boys is on the move. The band will be at Secret Group this week, but the day we spoke with the punk trio by phone, they were in a car heading to a rehearsal. We listened to a bunch of songs from the band’s latest album Open mouth, open heart and it’s a sort of invitation to listen to the looky-loos. A dominant theme is that if you want to know more about us, come ask us. So that’s what we did. Straight from the source, challenging preconceptions, destroying misconceptions around Destroy Boys. Tell us the main thing we need to know about the band, we asked.
“All I do with the band is that I always wanted it to be about the music,” said Violet Mayugba, guitarist and co-founder of the band. “I think what you might be referring to is that we’re often categorized as riot grrrl, which is a 90s movement, which is great and has influenced us a lot, but we’re just not that kind of band and I think we’re often labeled that way just because we have women in our band. But the band and what is most important to us is that we are all passionate and addicted to music. I think that’s the main thing that we really are.
“Vi has definitely hit it on the nose, the music is always at the forefront of everything we do,” added Narsai Malik, the band’s drummer. “Of course, with the platform comes other social issues that we all care deeply about, that’s for sure. For all of our tours and the one to come, we have a lot of self-help stuff, which Alexia finds and s primarily deals with, which is always important to us as individuals and as a group.
“It’s Alexia – hey! I’m in the car now,” band singer Alexia Roditis announced. to use what we have to improve people’s lives. Whether it’s literally using our platform on stage to highlight self-help groups in different cities or simply making people feel heard. Making women, making people non-binary, making people who’ve been through shitty events, traumatic events, or bad relationships, just all kinds of things, making them feel heard too.
Roditis said the message was to “do what you can, but also it won’t be perfect. And knowing that you can never do something perfectly right and it doesn’t exist. I feel like as a band with our music for example we’ve grown a lot in terms of how we play and the kind of stuff we write and in the same vein we’re growing as people and learn like everyone else.
The ride to rehearsal seems smooth, but there have been bumps in the road for Destroy Boys, all part of the growth Roditis talked about. The band formed in Sacramento in 2015, went through a few line-up changes, fought Bikini Kill comparisons, and even had to defend their name against sensitive thinkers, believe it or not. They took a few side-kicks at events regarding sexual misconduct surrounding two entirely different groups, being branded as apologists by some observers of those events. They had to grow quickly in a sometimes difficult profession.
“I think a lot of people from an outside perspective perceive us as much older and more experienced than us,” Mayugba said. “I think there’s no right or wrong way to really cross the music industry. There is certainly no play-by-play book, there is no set of rules. A lot of people don’t have mentors, we didn’t. We had a couple when we were younger, but as the band grew we really had to rely on ourselves. Yeah, I mean, I think people just don’t understand that we didn’t really understand what was going on either.
Mayugba’s parents are musicians. His father is a guitarist and his mother a singer and they have had some regional success in their activities. Their daughter’s band has broken much further than theirs, in a time when social media helps but also works against bands. This is part of the reason the group is focused on getting 411 by dialing them directly. Misunderstandings clearly affected the music. The latest album opens with “Locker Room Bully”, which likens the internet to a big room of angst and immaturity, full of sweat and smelly socks. “The witch hunts turned into hunting female dogs/And for some reason I can’t relax/Do me a favor and find out the facts/Before you come to my door ready to attack.” Roditis sings to set the tone.
“I think the album really reflects our growth as musicians first and foremost,” Roditis said, keeping the focus on the music. “It’s a lot more thoughtful, we spent more time building the songs. That in itself was kind of different.
“It’s something we’ve done for most of our career but (the album) just has all kinds of different perspectives,” Roditis continued. “In a song, you will have two points of view on the same situation. ‘Locker Room Bully’ shows two perspectives, like the whole song and then the bridge are like two very different people talking. “Ruins” is the same thing, speaking from the point of view of the person who is in the bad relationship versus the person doing these things.
“I really think this album shows that things are complicated. No one is just one thing. Even the song isn’t just one thing,” Roditis continued. “I feel like it’s something that was kind of in the background but also influenced all the songs. You can’t categorize people. Everyone’s complicated and everyone has these stories and everyone can think a thousand things about a subject.
If there is a sense of duality there, it is natural. The band’s music is delivered in English and Spanish. It reflects who its members were before they started making music seriously and who they are now. People grow and change, and so do Destroy Boys. Even though they grew up on record, they’re even more excited about the maturity of the live show. They said they had never played in Houston before, so fans will have experienced experience from them.
“All three of us take our live show very seriously. We’re very methodical in how we do it,” Mayugba said. “But a lot of it goes out the window when we get up there because we’re so We can plan everything until the second, and we’ve only just started doing it, but you know, we’re out of breath by the second song from dancing.
“Our live shows are very energetic, which makes it easy to fall into a cycle of getting really, really excited,” Mayugba continued. “All of the fans are very nice and kind, there’s a pretty overwhelming respect for each other in the whole crowd. Besides being entertained, we take our live shows very seriously. We’re about to rehearse right now because we can be as punk and talk as punk as we want but I take a very tight show very seriously It’s important to me and it’s been a huge growth since we started because we were not like that.”
Mayugba and Roditis reflected on how far they have come in this regard. They learned a lot by studying bands they toured with like Taking Back Sunday and Lagwagon and bands they look up to like Green Day. They have developed their own stage presence. They said their first shows featured onstage banter. Lots of jokes on stage. An inordinate amount of jokes on stage. Mayugba and Roditis shared a laugh thinking back on it all.
“We would speak for then a long time,” Mayugba shared. “Eventually my mom was like, ‘Man. You should stop doing this.
But these exchanges have helped fans know who Destroy Boy is and it’s clear, if you want to know more about them, just ask. Perhaps over a hot bowl of pho or a molcajete filled with salty guacamole. The last thing we discuss is the food, as Destroy Boys are rumored to love destroying tasty fine dining on tour.
“Me and Narsai are very fond of food,” Mayugba confirmed. “Alexia is getting into it too, which is great. But, we’re obsessed with road food.
“I like to eat at least one delicious meal a day,” Malik said and added that he hopes to find a good Viet-Cajun spot in Houston. “In any town we go to, I’ll spend hours rounding up all the restaurants in the venue area, looking at all the menus, picking the right thing. I love doing that on the road.
It should be noted that we are discussing fusion cuisine. Roditis had the final say on the band and the exciting fusion of people it is made for.
“Another value that we have as a band is that punk is for everyone, rock is for everyone, and everyone should be able to find their place in this kind of music and in all types of music,” Roditis said. “It’s long been dominated by white straight cis dudes, but he’s not even the one who created the genre. A lot of POC, black people, women and queer people really created and shaped the genre. So, I think that’s important too, knowing that everyone is accepted.
The secret group, 2101 Polk, hosts Destroy Boys at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 16. With Scowl. Doors at 7 p.m. for this show for all ages. $16 to $18.