The Destroy Boys started in high school, releasing their first album of punk goodness when they were all about 16 years old.
Their brand of hard-hitting, chord-burning jams are like firecrackers in your ears, with songs like “Vixen” and “Muzzle” offering an explosive combination of punk singing, wild instrumentals and emotionally expressive lyrics.
The band will make its Coachella debut on Saturday, April 15 and 22.
“(The Coachella offer) felt like my personal rockumentary moment, because I called my mom immediately after,” said Violet Mayugba, guitarist and singer. “Our managers texted in our group chat, and they were like, ‘Hey, we just got an offer for Coachella.’ I was just at home by myself at the time, and I re-read it, like, five times to make sure it was real. I was jumping up and down and excited, and I called my mom, and I made her guess what we had been offered, and I told her, and she started crying. … It was just really cool and special, because we’ve been working so hard for so long.”
Mayugba said she’s been wanting to play punk music since she was 12 or 13 years old.
“Coachella is one of those markers on a band’s career that just shows immense growth,” she said. “To be on it ourselves and see that on the poster was really humbling and exciting. It was really sweet for the inner teenager in me to see that.”
The band members see their Coachella slot as a win for both punk bands and people who aren’t cis white men.
“When I think of Coachella nowadays, you think of pop,” Mayugba said. “It definitely used to be a rock festival, but the biggest names in pop and hip hop commonly headline nowadays. I always felt that there would be a place for us, because I just wanted it so bad. I really put my mind to it, and I was like, ‘I will create a place for us; we will bore a hole until we belong there.’ Punk rock is kind of having a revival in its own way right now. Hardcore, and just bands without just cis men in them, are becoming a huge thing right now, so it all lined up pretty perfectly for us.”
Mayugba and her bandmates have attracted a fanbase that is appreciative of the current state of punk rock—a genre that, thanks to both nostalgia and the internet, includes more creativity than ever before.
“My favorite bands are Green Day and Blink-182. … A lot of people my age—I’m 23—have a lot of the same favorite bands from around that time, so seeing that exemplified in music that’s being put out by people my age is really cool, and I think it’s hitting a nostalgia point,” she said. “What’s also rad is that there’s so much access to different music right now, that there’s a lot of influence from a million different genres. Artists and bands nowadays are less limited than they ever have been, so there’s kind of a new genre, almost a ‘no genre’ genre, that’s coming out right now. … We feel lucky to be a part of it.”
Destroy Boys are indeed tapping into the “no genre” genre. Their latest album, Open Mouth, Open Heart, saw the band take a few stylistic leaps into Spanish flamenco guitar (“Lo peor”) and somber acoustic ballads (“All this love”).
“Alexia (Roditis), the other primary songwriter, and I are influenced by a lot of different things,” Mayugba said. “When we put our two little brains together, we’re able to create something new that feels really exciting. I’m really into the ’90s straightforward rock stuff, and Alexia is really influenced by Latin music, and disco, and we also love new wave. All that comes together to create something new, so that’s super fun to be a part of. I love playing music like that.”
Destroy Boys are looking to take yet more leaps on their upcoming LP.
“Alexia is a very strong creative and is just naturally inclined to these types of things, and I’m more likely to just kind of repeat a very classic rock riff over and over,” Mayugba said. “… We’re always trying to push ourselves between every record to create something new, beyond what we’ve done before. We’re always open to trying new things. We’re actually working on our fourth record right now with Carlos de la Garza, who just did the new Paramore record. He’s really encouraged us to be super-creative and original and imaginative. He’s a really strong influence in the studio.”
Mayugba said Destroy Boy fans are on board with their genre explorations.
“Our core fans and new fans are actually really into what we do and are very open-minded,” she said. “A lot of them are very young, and a lot of them are not cis men, so they have this kind of exploratory personality that I think is really interesting, where they’re really just open to whatever. We have a consistent sound that comes from Alexia’s voice; we always have heavy guitars; and people know it’s Destroy Boys. People have always been really receptive to us doing a spin on whatever we did before. We put out our first record when we were 16 years old, and we’re 23 now, so I think people know that it’s a little unrealistic to expect a 16-year-old’s record from us again.”
One of the tracks on Destroy Boys’ first record, “I Threw Glass at My Friend’s Eye and Now I’m on Probation,” exploded on TikTok recently. Mayugba said she feels better about that first album, Sorry, Mom, as a result.
“Before I met Alexia, and before Destroy Boys was a thing, I was in a bunch of horrible bands that just wrote Blink-182 songs; thank God those ones aren’t on the internet,” Mayugba said. “The fact that the song from our first record got so popular is really interesting. I try not to have resentment for it, because it was something that we felt really strongly about at the time, and it’s something that a lot of people relate to and find solace in. It’s hard for me to hate that record. Of course, there are things I would like to go back and change, but if I had gone back and changed them, I don’t think we’d be where we are now. Everything just lined up the way it was supposed to, so all we can really do is look forward, and I can apply all those things that I wish that I did on the last records to our newest one.”
Coachella is set to be a mosh-fest this year, with various hardcore and punk bands headed for the Polo Grounds.
“When I can tell that the fans are having fun, it makes me feel very connected to them, and we are definitely going to be having a shit-ton of fun at the Coachella stage, because I mean, seriously, what a moment, right?” Mayugba said. “We do a song where I go freehand on vocals, and I always get up to the barricade and stand up and say hi to people. We try to involve people as much as we can, regardless of the distance physically … and just give them the best show that we possibly can, because they deserve that.”