We often know the immediate consequence of tours on pause – the loss of incredibly electrifying, soul renewing and religious-type experience of live music. Yet a less talked about, but incredibly important topic is, just what happens to all that fashion that was destined for the beaming shine of stage lights?
For Oakland-based riot grrrl punk trio Destroy Boys fashion is a part of the experience and as fun as it gets. Carrying the lifeline of punk ethos of rebellion, their style is all about expressing yourself in the most honest truth, no opinions needed. Making waves in the punk scene as loud as their dynamited guitar riffs, heavy percussions and scowling vocals and, they have captured the attention of some of the genre’s most influential musicians like Greenday’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace. The fresh-faced, young female fronted band are pumping fresh blood back into the life of power punk. With the pandemic still halting the return of live music, Destroy Boys invited us for a chat to lead us through their closet and creative process to share what could have been and what is.
LADYGUNN spoke with Alexia Roditis (Vocals) and Violet Mayugba (Guitar) about using their music to help cope with growing up in the public eye, their eclectic fashion inspiration and getting DMed by the one and only riot grrrl herself, Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna.
Hi, hello. How are y’all doing? Are you in a parking lot?
VM: I’m good. I’m taking a new medication that disrupts my sleep. So I haven’t been able to sleep in like 48 hours but I just woke up from a nap. Which is why…*motions to face*
You look great, very fresh!
VM: Thank you! That’s so nice, I put on a turtleneck and I feel like this looks like I’ve been out all night, just rocking.
AR: You look great! And I’m doing pretty good. I’m driving home right now from Sacramento, where we’re from. I was going to come home last night but made it to Davis and thought never mind, I’m going to turn around. So now I’m sitting in a parking lot, going to eat soon. But yeah I’ve been pretty good. It’s been an interesting week, but it’s cool.
It’s been a pretty interesting year… I know it’s a pretty loaded question but how has the overall year been going for Destroy Boys?
AR: There are a lot of parts that suck; cancelled tours, the pandemic, you can’t see people. But it’s also been a really good time for reflection. Seeing what’s important and finding out what I care about. I’m trying to look at it in a good light, you know? I feel like I’ve done a lot of personal work that I wouldn’t have been able to do if we were just going and going like we would’ve been. It’s been good finding the silver lining to everything.
VM: That was such a good answer! Yeah, I agree. I feel like it originally seemed like it was going to inhibit growth, but it really catalyzed it in a weird way, so that’s cool.
VM: Two Snaps.
In terms of growth and being provided a new perspective, have you picked up any new talents or hobbies?
VM: I learned how to cook a steak finally! That was really nice. I don’t do it often because red meat is pretty gnarly but it’s a good skill. I love to cook so I got a little better at that. And practicing guitar. Oh, I have also been getting into music production with at home stuff like Logic and just learning ultimate basics. Mixing and mic’ing and all that. It’s really fun! It’s really scientific which is really cool.
AR: I’ve been playing every instrument I can get my hands on. That’s been really fun. I play a lot of guitar and sing a lot but at my house we have an organ, a drum kit, synthesizers and bass. So I’ve been playing all those things and just getting better at jamming. Just getting better at just playing music in general. I also got back into reading as a form of escape. Truly. I’ve watched so much TV and listened to so much music and podcasts, but so often I’m like “This isn’t what I want!” What I want I have in book form.
Have you read anything good lately?
AR: Yeah! Right now i’m reading Just Kids by Patti Smith. It’s really sweet. I also read The Moon Book by Sarah Faith Gottesdeiner. It’s about the moon, moon mapping and how to work with cycles of the moon. I guess that’s also a hobby I’ve been into lately, figuring that all out. It’s really fun for me.
VR: Alexia is always texting me about the moon!
Now you’re a fairly young band both in age and time together, but you’ve already made such a name for yourself. Your tours would’ve shared stages with big names like Against Me! and Vundabar, and your fans include some influential people like Billie Joe Armstrong and Laura Jane Grace. How does it feel to have such influential names be big fans of your music?
VR: It’s…so rad!
AM: It’s so crazy! So like, Kathleen Hanna reached out to us via DM over the summer…
WOW. Kathleen Hanna, I knew she was going to get mentioned during this but I wasn’t expecting in that way. That is so cool.
VR: I lost my damn mind.
AM: We were like “WHAT THE FUCK!” It’s just so nice to have people’s support. It validates what we’re doing is what we should be doing when these people that I respect so much like my band and what we’re about. We’re doing something right, you know
VR: Yeah, it feels really good too to have the support of people that are such incredible, respectable idols who have made such waves in the music community and in our personal lives. I am such a huge fan of all of those people, it just feels so validating. It’s funny because the Rolling Stone thing came out after our first record when we were only like 16? We were young teenagers in high school. So all the songs we were writing were straight up emotional dumps. We still write from the heart now, we just have a more refined skill now. It’s just funny that people were like “whoa these are great!” And we were like “what?! We’re just really upset!” and we’re just hanging out and only played a minor.
AM: It’s still like that. I think our old lyrics are still really good. They’re just…more raw? I mean our first album we recorded literally all in one single day. And our new stuff, well, we have more time to work on it, so that helps make it better.
I don’t want to stress on tours being on hold, I think we all know what that’s been like, but something we don’t hear too much about are some of the other important things were missing out on like all the unseen fashion that are now sitting in closets. We heard your stage outfits are really fun, if you were to describe it with a marketing slogan, what would it be?
VM: The first word that comes to mind is aerodynamic, but I don’t think thats right…I think of “huge and dark” because I like to wear big baggy clothes that are black.
AR: Thats hard because I feel like I have a pre-pandemic and post-pandemic style. Shoutout to the pandemic because I have honed into a style and I don’t think I had a cohesive look before. The past months I’ve been dressing up and caring a little more about what I look like when I go out.
Like you’re more intentional now because you don’t get to do it as often?
AR: Yeah, like I have all these clothes! I want people to see them! I want to wear them!
What are some of your staple on tour pieces?
VM: When I’m on stage my favorite outfit is Dickies pants, Dr. Marten boots and a big giant black t-shirt because you don’t overheat. Also this navy blue Dickies jumpsuit I wore on tour with Mannequin Pussy a lot. During the pandemic I feel I’ve been trying to look a bit more slick, there’s just variants in how I dress now. I have these really cool leather pieces with silver accents and I wear a little bit more jewelry and pieces that are more fitted. I was really excited to rock out in this custom Zana Bayne harness I now have.
AR: On stage – I’ll have a theme in my head but i’d say it’s always comfortable, floral and really about the face and makeup. I would say dresses or a favorite outfit was a giant shirt with a wolf howling at the moon with short, soccer gym-shorts. Just comfortable for sure. I feel like I wore pretty bright colors pretty often too… I also just got a cape over the pandemic and that’ll probably be my new comfy thing. I love it! They’re sick, I’m trying to bring it back.
You two are like fashion ying and yang. Overall, do you feel like the fashion choices you make plays an important role in your performance?
AR: I don’t think we’re very purposeful with our clothes as a band, but it’s very important individually. I personally care about what I wear. I want to look cute and I want to look a little scary. Like Tim Burton meets vampire, black and white, gothic looks. It’s kinda funny because I wear black and white, but I don’t think things are very black or white at all. I refuse to see situations in that way. Maybe I should be wearing grey? But that wouldn’t go with the hair as much. I don’t think it’s as much as what we wear, it’s more so the process of getting ready. For me it’s about doing the makeup so that I look like a little character and it kinda helps you get into a show time persona.
VM: It’s really nice to have that routine, especially on tour. You’re like in Adidas sweats all day in the van and then before you play you put on your show outfit and it totally switches your mindset. It’s like ok now I’m going to go and play this set. Which is still me, I don’t think we play different characters, we’re just different extensions of ourselves.
Have you noticed your fan base start to embody or copy your style choices at your shows or online?
VM: Yeah, they do it to Alexia all the time! It’s so cute.
AR: People have dyed their hair half and half. Which was an accident actually. I wanted to bleach the whole thing but my friend mixed only enough for half, like perfectly just for half. And also my makeup, I draw triangles under my eyes and people do it all the time. I find it really flattering.
I know you’ve mentioned a few, but any icons or fashion influences you pull inspiration from specifically when it comes to stage outfits?
VM: This is a very specific example, but I like Billie Eilish. Her style is so clean, crisp and consistent. I think it looks really good. And I’m really into the idea of being shapeless. Like if you wore two big baggy pieces of clothing, you’re shapeless and I think that’s so cool. And my big glasses too.
AR: We don’t dress the same, but my roommate probably. He’s a mod and has a very defined style and I really like that. He has his outfits and they’re cohesive. His partner was like “you should dress in more black and white, it would go so well with your hair!” And I was like “Yeah! Why did I never think about that?” So then I just started collecting things. I just became inspired to hone into something. I don’t really look at pics of people and want to look like them, I don’t really pull inspiration that way. Also, I just really want to look like a vampire, like an old one. It sounds so silly but I am very serious about it. I always thought a business casual look is really cool. Style just all over the place.
Moving broader, who influences your music and creative process?
VM: I love The Muffs, a lot. They have a really specific sound that I’m a huge fan of. I think they’re a really overlooked band. For guitar stuff, I love Interpol so much. I’ve loved them forever, but I stopped listening to them for a few years. One day Alexia was like “remember ‘Rest My Chemistry’?” And I was like “YES!” so then I got back into them. I also love a band called Code Orange, they’re a new metal band doing some cool stuff that’s really interesting. I love Elliot Smith. I love all the people we named earlier. I love all kinds of music, but anything usually with clear, aggressive guitar or emotion to me is great.
AR: I’ve been pretty inspired by the people that I live with and my friends when it comes to making music. Everyone in my house is a musician, and we have a jam space in our garage. It’s been really inspiring to just be making music all the fucking time. Also, just being inspired by all the shit happening in the world. I want to create things that make an impact on people in a positive way. I want to fill the spaces of songs I wish existed. Like where is the song for ___? If I say “I don’t know,” then I’m probably going to create it. And really soon. I’m also pretty inspired by the moon! And by anyone who just does what they do and doesn’t try to sound like other people. Like my friends and Rico Nasty! I love her. She does her own thing. And Mannequin Pussy, especially Marissa’s screaming and that they can flow between genres (which I feel we’ve been doing for a long time too) so I love that.
VM: I love Megan Thee Stallion.
Shoutout the now three time grammy winner! I love that so many incredibly powerful women figures are being named. Being a mostly female identifying band, especially in a genre that is so male dominated I think the female inspiration comes out often as a theme in your music. Your latest single Muzzle is a great example. A power house song centered around reclamation of the self. How did that single come about?
VM: Yeah, it was the first destroy boys song I actually got to sing lead on, I was really excited that I was able to do that. I wrote the lyrics like way over a year ago, in January 2020. I wrote them in two separate parts. The verses I wrote on my way to work. I had just turned 20 and was trying to figure out going from teenage-dom to real adulthood. We were really young when we started, and we were lucky to have fans, but I was starting to stress out about how there were a lot of people just in the world that just perceive me all the time. I know that’s a meme right now but I just felt like whether it be at my job or on the internet or out on the streets, none of these people know me and they think they do. It’s a blessing, but it’s also a curse. And then the chorus is just about not wanting to be tossed around by a guy, like thrown in and out of a relationship and stuff.
AR: This idea of being perceived is just so weird. I like to look at my instagram insights, and it’ll be like 100 people saved this selfie and I’m like who the hell is doing that?
Being so young when you started, that must be strange. You’re growing up essentially in the public eye. Growing up is already hard, then add public scrutiny on top of that.
AR: It’s weird.
VM: It’s really weird.
What helps keep you afloat during those challenging moments?
AR: During the pandemic, it has been the supporters and fans who have really made an impact on me. I used to not respond to message requests because there were a lot of them and I didn’t think I could respond to everyone. Then I realized how fun it is. Having those interactions with people in small ways has just been nice. There are moments you get perceived and it’s not right, but then you realize no one is ever going to perceive you like you want them too. And there will be people who will always have their opinions about things or who I am but then I realize I don’t even know them, so who cares. I have friends and family that love me and that love each other and I find solace in that.
VM: I love having Alexia in all aspects of my life, and especially this one. I talk about it all the time. Alexia is my favorite voice in rock and roll, like there are so many great voices but Alexia is my favorite one. I was literally just talking about this with her roommates while she was in Sacramento. I have really supportive parents and godfathers in the industry, so it’s really nice to speak to people who are in the industry and get it. Just keeping a very close, tight circle of people who love and respect me because we deserve that, I deserve that. Just knowing that I myself, and the people around me, know who I am. It makes it a lot easier to just focus on creating music. And when you get caught up in the other shit it can take away from creating music. Which is something we’d both die without.
You’ve definitely kept the music going during this crazy time. You all even have a livestream this weekend. How does it feel to play again, in this format? Can we expect some wardrobe changes to let some of this stored away outfits have their time to shine?
AR: Definitely not, we’re sticking to one outfit just like we would if we were on tour. But the experience is cool. Just weird to not have an audience to feed the energy off of. Also, anxious a bit more than usual because we just haven’t played in a long time so it definitely takes a while to get into the performance. It’s interesting, but it’s just nice to play.
VM: It’s fun to play again, it’s really nice. But for our outfits, yeah, I am sticking to a black shirt and black pants, but the boots will be switched up to a new pair of Dr. Martens.
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photos / courtesy of artist
story / Jeanette Diaz