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Destroy Boys talk Coachella, blink-182, mutual aid

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Senior Staff

MAY 18, 2023

“So for those of you reading the interview, we have a very special surprise that you can only see if you come to a live show,” joked David Orozco. “We’re busting out some crazy wild new energies, crazy wild new tricks.”

“New element on the periodic table,” said Alexia Roditis. 

“The only way to find out is to see us,” Orozco paused, “open for blink-182.”

Destroy Boys began in 2015 when Roditis and Violet Mayugba were still high schoolers in Sacramento. Eight years later, the band, which added drummer Narsai Malik in 2018, is playing famous festivals and preparing to open for blink-182 and Turnstile on their upcoming stadium tour. Before their Coachella Weekend Two set, Mayugba, Roditis, Malik and bassist Orozco sat for an interview with The Daily Californian to discuss their artistic growth and festival experience.

When Destroy Boys come up with an idea, they run with it. They start with a serious thought before twisting it into a joke, imagining it through every possible metaphor and carrying it up and down the ladder of abstraction. 

“We’re alchemists, bro. Kind of like the Stephen Hawking of rock,” Mayugba said, riffing on Roditis’ periodic table comment. 

“Stephen Rocking,” Roditis eagerly added.

For Destroy Boys, the creative process occurs in a very similar fashion. Often, Mayugba or Roditis will come in with the “bones” of a song before taking it to the band to flesh it out. Their songwriting has always been collaborative, though they’ve felt a shift as they’ve begun to work more closely with a producer and process their rising success. 

“I think before, I didn’t care as much about what I was saying, so it was a little more free flowing,” Roditis shared. “But as we keep going, I get a little more in my head about it. I think that probably happens to a lot of artists that do their art for a long time, where it starts to become, ‘Oh, I gotta make it this way or that way.’ ”

Yet, when Destroy Boys are on stage, their energy feels as uninhibited and natural as their rapport. They share palpable chemistry, and their charisma bubbles over into the crowd. Among Destroy Boys’ favorite tracks to play live include “Te llevo conmigo” and “I Threw Glass at My Friend’s Eyes and Now I’m on Probation,” but the general consensus appears to be Coachella closer “Fences.”

“It always hits. No matter how our set is going, by the time we get to that one, it doesn’t matter,” Malik said about the song. “Everyone goes off. We go off.”

Though they chatted in the heat of the Southern California desert, the band originates from and remains in Northern California. Currently based out of San Francisco, Destroy Boys enjoy playing some of the city’s independent music venues, such as Great American Music Hall and Neck of the Woods. They also have a unique relationship with Berkeley-grown Green Day: In 2016, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong promoted Destroy Boys in Rolling Stone. 

In the Northern versus Southern California debate, Orozco joked about being the odd one out: “I’m from San Diego, so I’m like the blink-182 side. They’re like the Green Day side. We kind of butt heads and feud, but we’re best friends at the end of the day.”

“We don’t feud,” Mayugba exclaimed. 

Nevertheless, Destroy Boys are undoubtedly and riotously rock — but that doesn’t make them riot grrrl. Though they have been described as “feminist punk” from early on, they push back against the label. To be sure, they are feminists, and they are punk; however, they don’t think their gender should necessarily be linked to their music. 

“(Riot grrrl) was a movement that was incredibly powerful, and I think we owe a lot of our success to it … But more often than not, specifically male journalists will peg our band as riot grrrl even though we don’t sound like them at all,” Mayugba said. “People will just say that we’re riot grrrl because we’re non-men playing in a rock band … Alexia’s also not a girl, so it’s weird.”

“I may look very beautiful and stunning all the time, but I’m non-binary,” Roditis added. “It shouldn’t be weird for women and non-binary people to front bands.” 

Roditis also noted that the label often erases the actual work they do. For instance, in conjunction with the band’s headlining shows last year, Roditis organized a mutual aid initiative in order to concretely contribute to social justice causes. 

To sum up the conversation, Orozco proposed a rather fitting headline: “Destroy Boys: leaders of the rock and roll revolution live at Coachella (gender is obsolete).” 

As for what they want listeners to walk away with, Destroy Boys encourage fans to live their lives freely and genuinely. “Have fun, live your life. Do whatever you want. Be mad. Express yourself,” Roditis said. “And don’t hurt people.”

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MAY 18, 2023