Wrecking Balls: SF's Destroy Boys

Cory Weaver

San Francisco-based Destroy Boys have been releasing music since 2015. Currently, the trio is shredding the road on their second headlining tour in support of their new album, Open Mouth, Open Heart. We caught up with lead guitarist Violet Mayugba and drummer Narsai Malik before their Sunday night performance in May at Off Broadway.




San Francisco-based Destroy Boys have been releasing music since 2015. Currently, the trio is shredding the road on their second headlining tour in support of their new album, Open Mouth, Open Heart. We caught up with lead guitarist Violet Mayugba and drummer Narsai Malik before their Sunday night performance in May at Off Broadway.


BTT: Is there a different kind of expectation, personally, when you headline a show versus being an opener? You’re going from a 30-40 minute set to an hour or longer.


Narsai Malik: When it’s our headlining show, we try to put on the best performance that we physically can. We do an hour show and pretty much play all the songs that we know, and then maybe push the envelope on.


Violet Mayugba: We take opening really seriously. We just opened for Alkaline Trio in the UK; it was really fun and great. But, we’re playing 5,000-cap theaters, so we really have to deliver. Something we incorporated and take very seriously is no breaks between songs.


Narsai: And for an opening sense, we don’t do any of the slower songs and we only have 30 minutes, so we do eight or nine songs. As for headlining, we’ll play some of our slower ones and throw in some “deep cuts,” make it more of a peaks and valleys, which is part of the experience also.


BTT: To segue off of just being in the UK, how long were you in the UK?


Narsai: Just about two weeks. After opening for Alkaline, we broke off and did our own club shows. It was such a blast in two totally separate ways. Going from a 5,000-seat theater to a 200-cap club.


Violet: It was really cool, we got to experience both of the cool experiences in one tour.


BTT: Being an American band and playing out in this post-Covid purgatory, how’s the energy here compared to people in the UK?


Violet: It’s a different kind of energy; one isn’t better than the other necessarily. That’s what I like about our shows: everyone is just so enthusiastic.


Narsai: Not that people aren’t nice here, but they were so nice in England.


Violet: Yeah, very respectful, nice manners and so respectful.


BTT: Your sound has a definite punk foundation, but the new album is a little more…


Violet: Flushed out!?


BTT: Yes!


Violet: We used to get labeled as a Riot Girl band in the beginning, but we never were. Riot Girl was a great movement—it inspired us a lot—but we were never a Riot Girl band. People would just call us that because we’re women. In reality, we were a punk band, and now we’re just a rock band. Maybe we’ll be a salsa band or a reggae band… it doesn’t matter, we’ll do whatever we want to do.


Narsai: Some songs are heavy-hitting, but other songs like “Secrets” and “Cherry Garcia” are more melodic.


Violet: We just write whatever we want to write. I love pop, I love pop-punk, we also love a lot of indie music, hip-hop. Alexia (lead vocals) listens to a lot of Chicano stuff, Latino music…there’s just a lot of stuff coming from all sides. So, I don’t want to sound pretentious, but when people do try to categorize us, it becomes a little difficult because we come from so many different things. That’s what’s cool with the new-age genres becoming fluid. We’re just a guitar band.


BTT: Your influences and/or your 20 favorite bands back in 2015 when Destroy Boys started are still going to be some of your favorites today. Which bands over the past seven years have newly influenced or inspired you?


Narsai: Two big bands, Idles and Turnstile, are definitely big for me. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like them.


Violet: I’ve been listening to a lot of Mitski. I’ve been getting way into more pop stuff, but I love hardcore. We’re obviously not a hardcore band, I try to incorporate those dynamics into songs like, “Locker Room Bully.” That progression is based off G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit). I love a lot of the local Bay Area hardcore stuff going on, and of course, East Coast hardcore…that’s influenced me a lot lately. But, can’t forget Billie Eilish—she’s great.


I got really into Oingo Boingo in 2019. Narsai showed me Oingo Boingo and I explored their whole catalogue. The riff in our single “Drink,” originally when I wrote that song, I wanted it to sound super kookie like Oingo Boingo, but then it became a pop-rock song.


Narsai: One band that I didn’t even know, they had a sound I knew existed but that I loved is Big Fun. They’re this LA band and they are total freaks. The drummer, bassist and lead singer wear head mikes like Justin Timberlake, and the lead singer uses a keytar and plays keyboard. It sounds fucking crazy, I don’t even know how to describe it…it’s like futuristic rock funk.


BTT: Final thought. With the self-described “Hi-Fi” vibe, it’s still you guys, but it felt you all grew five years in such a short time.


Violet: Thank you so much! For me personally, it’s never good enough and it’s what makes our band good and successful—it always has to be better.