Ahead of Destroy Boys’ Philadelphia show last month, we got the chance to chat with Violet Mayugba and Narsai Malik about tour, music and a lot of food. Check out our review of the full concert, part of the band’s September tour for their 2021 album Open Mouth, Open Heart, with Pinkshift, Softcult and Jigsaw Youth here.
So this is the second night of your tour, what’s one thing you love about being on tour?
V: yes, Narsai and I are food mongrels
N: We got in really early today so we ate before sound check, but we usually do soundcheck and then just walk to wherever there seems like the most delicious spot around the venue, is probably my favorite thing.
V: besides the shows
N: I’m really excited to go to Canada just cause it’s everything’s a little bit different there, people are really nice
V: I love hanging out with my best friend every day in a car. And me, Narsai, and our bass player, David, all share one room so I call it the ‘locker room’ or ‘the boys room’ and I don’t know it’s just really fun. And all riding in the van together … we have a bunch of different games we play in the van together that are like the way we play the games aren’t wholesome but the games themselves are wholesome like we play 20 questions to guess a celebrity or we do that alphabet game where you write a story with the first letter, like the first letter is the next one in the alphabet, all of our stories involve penises though.
N: I was about to say that doesn’t end up wholesome
V: sorry you can censor that!
V: I just love hanging out with my best friends every day cause it’s so fun and then you get to do your favorite thing in the world to people. Most people don’t get to do this, like we’re very lucky! So every time we’re doing it I’m like, ‘Oh this is the best! This is the best! This is the best!” And then three weeks later I’m like, ‘I wanna go home so bad.’ and then I get home and I’m like, ‘oh this sucks too.’
What classic album cover would be your guys’ current mood?
N: That’s so hard
V: I can only picture the Nirvana baby, which is not at all how I feel
N: I was thinking of In Utero
V: I’m just trying to think of someone sleeping. I pick the crow on the Death Cab for Cutie cover, Transatlantism cause he has a little red ribbon and he’s excited about it
N: And there’s a death cab poster right there
V: Oh! Subliminal .. I literally didn’t see it, I swear I didn’t
N: I can picture that like Soundgarden album cover. It’s like an infrared photo of a guy like screaming
So the flip of a previous question, what’s one thing you miss while being on tour?
V: My little baby cats and my kitchen. I have two cats, one is named Bonnie one is named Ophelia. Bonnie is good, Ophelia is bad. This is important to note, they are different cats. I cook three meals a day when I’m at home, unless feel like really eating out somewhere which isn’t that often anymore. But I go the farmer’s market every Sunday, I’m really into cooking, it’s like all I like to do. I just hangout at home and prep food for the week. Yeah, I miss that. I love eating nice meals and exploring food around the country, like getting different stuff or wherever we happen to be at. The unpredictability of food on tour is really hard. There’s a lot of gas station dinners which is just part of the deal and it’s fine, but, you know, my tummy hurts.
N: Just being able to call a friend and be like, ‘let’s hangout’ … we hit each other up more than anything
V: Yeah I know, I was going to say that – we hangout all the time at home
N: In the Bay area there’s so many shows happening, there’s just an explosion of like five shows every week. So that’s really fun to do, all of our friends are in really good bands.
N: I live on the block of our practice space so I like just going in there and playing by myself. That’s really fun. Before we lived on the total other side, the others still do, I would never just go there just for fun, but now I can do it whenever
V: It’s a trek to get there from me and Alexia’s neighborhood
N: There’s a neighborhood called the Mission in San Francisco that I love, it’s the best. If you’ve been to San Francisco you’ve probably been there, it’s like the most poppin’, best food. San Francisco’s a beautiful place. Whenever we travel and then we come back i’m like, ‘wow it’s really nice here.’
V: It is really nice, I mean there are a lot of things that are wrong with it, like any city, but for me it feels like a utopia. It just has everything that I need.
N: It’s like extremely expensive but yeah
V: Yeah it’s extremely expensive which is horrifying and it treats its underprivileged people in the city like garbage but the parks are beautiful and there are a lot of different districts to do a lot of different stuff. I live in a place where I’m a block from a park and I also have everything I need within ten blocks of walking distance and I just discovered two restaurants right next to each other that are six blocks from my house that I’m going to all the time. [Mandalay and Corks] We have to go to Corks, that was the place I was telling you about.
N: Oh yeah
V: I went back and, remember I was like, ‘the portions are really small’? They’re not, I was just drunk. I was drunk the first time and I was really hungry because it’s also a wine bar.
N: ‘ugh these portions are too small’ *imitating Violet*
V: I’m serious. Me and my boyfriend went with our neighbors and we spent like $300 because we kept ordering stuff. I was like, ‘these portions are so small, like that’s the only thing wrong. All this food is so good.’ And then we went back the day before we left for this tour and ordered four pastas and then we were like, ‘oh my god these are normal portions, we’re sober this time.’ So don’t drink and eat.
Who inspired your musical style?
V: We all have like a lot of different influences across the three of us in the band. Like Alexia likes a lot of disco right now. We all come from liking punk and rock across the board but we also have a wide range of influences. I really like jazz, I really like hip-hop, Narsai and I really like hip-hop, Alexia loves hip-hop, all kinds of R&B, I love pop music. I love singer-songwriter stuff, like one of my favorite songwriters of all time is Elliot Smith and I take a lot of inspiration from him when I’m writing Destroy Boys songs. I don’t think would corroborate the two, if that’s the right use of that word. But yeah, I think there’s a lot more in the sphere of influence than people would imagine as opposed to just straight up punk, but we are definitely into that too. We got to see Descendents yesterday and I flipped out, it was Awesome!
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
N: Maybe if I had to think about it wouldn’t be this one but just off the top of my head… Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age
V: I’d probably pick 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day because it has a lot of different types of songs but they’re all good, so I pick that one
So what drew you guys into the punk culture?
N: It’s fun
V: yeah *laugh*
N: Like the vast majority of people who like punk rock, we got into it at an early age, like young teens, and it’s just a nice outlet. It’s different from day to day life, like you could just be going to school during the day and then at night you get to flip out with all these other kids and then go to school the next day and it’s a little secret it’s like ‘you have no idea what i did last night.’
N: yeah just angst, that’s just a natural thing. It’s just a good outlet, I feel like that’s probably the main reason people get into punk a lot of the time
V: I agree
N: Same with us
V: Yeah I was so mad when I was growing up. You were probably mad
N: I was mad, a little bit
V: You were a little bit mad, we’re both still a little mad
N: But I feel like we’ve mostly gravitated towards melodic punk a lot
N: I mean you like hardcore stuff a lot more. Even then like all of our favorite punk stuff is more stuff that’s focused on good songwriting
V: I LOVE a hook. My favorite genre right now as an adult is hardcore for sure and I was into it a little bit as a teenager, I was way more into punk because I was just starting to get into alternative music when I was 12 and I started with entry level stuff like Blink-182 and Green Day. But hardcore is like a whole new outlet for me now that I’m discovering and learning about it and it’s really special. It’s very cool and it’s growing in a way right now that I think is really interesting to watch.
M: Do you have a favorite band?
V: Scowl *no hesitation* They’re on their way here right now hopefully they say hi to us. We went on tour with them in the US with them earlier this year and they’re like the fastest growing band in alternative music right now and they just write incredible songs. The singer Cat is one of my close friends and she’s just like a force. She’s like Debbie Harry, she’s an icon. And it’s really special to see hardcore not be seven bald white guys because I love bands like that, don’t get me wrong, but it’s nice to see Cat. She sings about things I relate to, you know.
N: They only have two bald white guys
How did you guys come up with the band’s name? I read somewhere that it was just written on a chalkboard in one of your rooms when you were starting out?
V: Yeah. I had just ditched school for the thousandth time and I was in my house and my parents had gifted me this chalk wall when I was thirteen for my birthday. They took chalkboard paint and painted one of my walls and I had stuff all over it. And Alexia and I were kind of in a band, we hadn’t written any songs yet but we were like, “yeah we’re in a band lets name it first”. And we couldn’t come up with a cool name. Then I was really mad at two different guys that were treating me bad, my ex and then this other guy, and they were both being mean to me at the same time. I was like, ‘this is awful. I’m 15 this is horrible. This is the worst my life’s gonna get.’ So I wrote ‘Destroy Boys’ in pink cursive and then I looked at it for a while and I was like ‘oh my god that’s our band name.’ So I called Alexia (who was in school) and they were like, ‘hey what’s up? I’m in class,’ *whisper* and I was like, ‘This is our fucking band name! Destroy Boys it’s the name!’ And they were like, ‘okay I have to go,’ so they agreed.
Favorite song to perform and why?
N: “Fences” hits the spot
V: Every time
N: I like “Lockerroom Bully” a lot. That little cover that we do
V: Yes this new cover that we’re doing
N: We cover “Drain You” by Nirvana, it’s really fun
V: It is really fun! The harmonies are hard but it’s fun. I love playing “Fences”, that’s probably my favorite song to play. I really like playing “Drink” a lot because I just love that song. “I Threw Glass in my Friend’s Eye and Now I’m on Probation” is fun to play live because people crawl out of their skin and it’s really cool to watch and do that with them, it’s really interesting.
N: We do like four songs in a row of “Te Ilevo (conmigo),” “Lockerroom,”
V: “Fences” “Crybaby” for the last set
N: And that’s like my favorite part of the set for sure.
V: There’s no breaks, just every song bleeds in. Oh “Muzzle”
V: Yeah. “Muzzle” is so fun, I love doing that song! I don’t know how i always forget that.
We’d seen on your Instagram story that you guys are working with mutual aid groups in different cities. What made you guys want to work with the community in that way while you’re on tour?
V: This is a hard question for me to answer because Alexia does all the work for this. They are totally taking it upon themselves to work on all of these causes that are really important to them. But I can speak a little bit about their process. They reach out across different forms of social media, looking for local mutual aid groups with causes that are important to the community, are important to Alexia personally or anything like that. We have them set up a little booth at our show and let them speak right before our set so the most amount of people are in the room and it’s been really beneficial. We’ve been raising a lot of money and we’ve been donating a dollar from every ticket sale to each organization. So that’s Alexia’s project and i’m really proud of them. It’s been a long time coming and it’s really hard to organize but they do a great job.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
V: I saw this question
IDOV: okay we get a heads up
V: So I’ve thought about this. It would be some sort of delicious red sauce, pepperoni, sausage (herb sausage, garlic and herb), black olives, well cooked mushrooms, and some sort of delicious cured meat like a prosciutto, and arugula, and it would be called “The Laundromat”
V: It’s a word I like
N: Alright. I’m trying to think of all the pizzas I like so just a good, maybe slightly spicy, you know tomato sauce
V: Some sort of calabrian chili
N: yeah totally. There’s this one pizza spot in San Francisco where they have a pizza with four different types of cheese on it. And then I’ll add sausage and sweet onion. So you know probably that, maybe some black olives. Like a chili oil on top, yeah. Maybe something else but I don’t wanna get too crazy with it. I would call it “The Gnarly Narsai”
V: Wow would it be gnarly with an N at the beginning?
N: well it’s be gnarly with a GN
V: well yeah but I’m thinking alliteration for your brand
N: Yeah sure Narsai can also have a G
V: Oh yeah I like that! Oh that’s way better, Branding! *high fives*
IDOV: I do want to throw it out there, Destrombolli
N &V: OOooohh
V: that’s way better than Laundromat and Gnarly Gnarsai
N: If you get those pizzas together then the second one is half off and that’s the
V: Destromboli combo!
So besides tour, what do you guys have planned for the end of this year and beginning of 2023?
V: learn new recipes
N: Just like writing gradually
V: Yeah writing like tons of music. We’ve been writing a lot more than we have in the past, so that’s really cool. I have my little recording setup set up at home, so I’ve been doing Logic demos and Garage Band demos, just writing together, hanging out, planning stuff for next year.
N: I’d like to travel more for fun, I haven’t traveled without a band for the last few years
V: I agree with you, on the trips that I’ve taken like that aren’t band trips, like when I travel I get kind of restless. There’s like a lot of time in the day. I like to have a job. I’m like a Labrador retriever, I like to have a purpose. I don’t like to vacation, stresses me out.
N: I Love not having a purpose *laugh*
You mentioned demos, can we expect another album coming soon?
V: You can expect 800 more albums in our lifetime
N: Next year
V: We’ll put out a million of them, 800 million.
Anything else you guys want to let us know about?
V: We’re playing five nights headlining the Sydney Opera House in Australia, Sydney. And then we’re gonna do a feature in the coral reef. If you’d like to come to that tickets are $12,000 a piece and you can go ahead and search online on Craigslist for those for people reselling them.
V: that was a lie. You know that, right? Okay *laughs*