By Alexia Hill – Photo by Johnny Corte
Zona Music Festival in its inaugural year was located at Margaret T. Hance Park and featured over 40 hyperlocal and globally-renowned musicians. Destroy Boys performed on the first day of the festival alongside: Bartees Strange, The Garden, TV Girl, Bleachers and Beach House. Despite the downpour of rain, fans and new listeners brought all of their energy to match the band’s fast-paced, punk-influenced rock set.
Destroy Boys consists of: lead singer and guitarist, Alexia Roditis; guitarist and singer, Violet Mayugba; and drummer, Narsai Malik. With roots in Northern California, the band came together organically even with different backgrounds of music.
“My parents were just major music appreciators, so was my older brother, who played music. Between all of them, I just grew up around different styles of stuff, and then I got into playing much later, like 14,” Malik said. “I was like, this is really, really fun. I think I’m gonna keep doing this. I met people and started playing music, then I met these freaks [Mayugba and Roditis].”
For Mayugba, growing up with musicians as parents and listening to bands like AC/DC extinguished any ideas of being a musician growing up. That disdain dissipated later on when she was introduced to pop punk and different music influences that led her to where is today.
Roditis, however, comes from a background unrelated to music.
“My parents weren’t really into music, they’re more like athletic people but they were very supportive of me and my siblings’ creative endeavors,” Roditis said. “So I just started when I was in middle school playing ukulele and then eventually, when I was in high school, started playing guitar, and singing. I’d always been singing since I was seven or something like that, but I kept it a secret until we started the band when we were like 15 or 16.”
The alternative rock band stems primarily from Roditis and Mayugba, who later met Malik via his “adequate email” in response to their search for a drummer. The band name itself? Almost self explanatory.
“You know, I’ve been in a bunch of bands with bad names and bad music and we were kind of just talking about doing a band. There were two different dudes being mean to me at the same time, and I had a chalk wall so I wrote Destroy Boys on it in chalk. And I was like, ‘aw that’s our band name,’” Mayugba said.
With over 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, the band has definitely grown since its time in Sacramento. Its first album in 2017, “Sorry, Mom,” produced a hit song titled “I Threw Glass at My Friend’s Eyes and Now I’m on Probation” about a complicated relationship with an older man. This song later became popular on TikTok.
Every song on the album tells a story for the listener to relate to, alongside lively guitar riffs and an overall sound I can only think to describe as loud, passionate and head-banging. If you’ve ever had the feeling of going through something and wanting to scream at the top of a mountain to get it all out, these are the songs to do it to.
“I always tell people that it’s like melodic rock or it’s like punk influenced, melodic rock music,” Roditis said. “I feel like there’s something for everybody in our band.”
Its most recent album, released in 2021, is titled “Open Mouth, Open Heart,” and it plays into the band’s original influences of punk rock while also allowing for some musical freedom. For example, Roditis wrote two songs in Spanish, “Te Llevo Conmigo” and “Lo Peor.” There’s also a beautiful acoustic song called “All This Love,” which is my personal favorite. The album even features Mayugba as the lead singer in “Muzzle,” a song about being mistreated by a man and not wanting to be seen as a “Polly Pocket girl.”
Zona Music Festival was just the cherry on top for Destroy Boys’ busy year of touring. Mayugba explained that ever since 2016, Destroy Boys has been DIY-ing tours in the United States. Last fall, the band experienced its first-ever headline tour and toured in London, opening for well-esteemed bands like Taking Back Sunday and Alkaline Trio.
“My favorite show we’ve ever done was Riot Fest, which was in September. It was our biggest festival we’ve ever played and it was just fucking unbelievable. You know, we’ve been small-time touring for so long that we’ve learned to not have any expectations about what the show is going to be like and just play, if it’s an arena or if it’s two people, and I was like, oh, man, I wonder how this is gonna go,” Mayugba said. “We looked out and it was like, completely full. And then they saw us and they started chanting ‘Destroy Boys,’ and like, then the whole crowd went off. It changed my whole opinion about our career at that moment.”
Zona Music Festival had four stages: Nicks, Eddy, Mingus, and Ronstadt. Around 6:45 p.m., Destroy Boys brought on a mosh pit and completely obliterated the Mingus stage in the best way possible, with ample time to still see other artists before and after.
“I was so excited for the lineup because I’m like, I want to see Bartees, I want to see The Garden, I want to see TV girl and Chicano Batman, and our set doesn’t clash with any of those,” Roditis explained. “So there’s this stacked-ass lineup which is cool, and everyone’s been really nice. The rain was unexpected, but it’s not horrible.”
The set on Dec. 3 was my first time taking part in a mosh pit, and I never understood why it was part of the concert experience until now. When watching a band like Destroy Boys, it feels like discovering community for the first time. Every person around me was juxtaposed with aggression yet extreme care, loudly screaming the lyrics but with soft and caring smiles on their faces.
Destroy Boys and their almost Riot Grrrl sound with a dash of Misfits sway, are continuing to grow; I truly believe the band will rise to become one of the next big things in rock history.
Next year the band is performing in Budapest, Germany, Austria and Italy. With the future in mind and 2022 coming to an end, Roditis and Mayugba explained how much of a privilege it was to work with producer Will Yip on “Open Mouth, Open Heart.” They hope to continue incorporating new and different aspects of bands they love into their own music and sound.
“Anyone can start a band. Anyone can start a band that doesn’t sound like a band that already exists. I don’t know, just have fun in life! Nothing is that serious, have a good time, dance a little bit, scream a little bit,” Mayugba said.