For Destroy Boys, writing and recording their latest record Open Mouth, Open Heart was a bit of an adventure, but it was all worth it based on the results of the final product. Their third studio offering, the recording process necessitated a lot of planning and replanning, thanks to the nature of recording an album during a global pandemic. Singers and guitarists Violet Mayugba and Alexia Roditis, along with drummer Narsai Malik, decided to live together, quarantining together so they could solely focus on songwriting rather than worrying about interacting with others.

The results speak for themselves, with Open Mouth, Open Heart displaying the most cohesive, focused batch of songs the band has ever produced. Producer Will Yip, well known for his work with Panic! At The Disco, Mannequin Pussy, and The Menzingers, really helped the songs come alive, not to mention ensuring the trio sounded as tight as they ever have before.

With Open Mouth, Open Heart coming out a few weeks back, we caught up with all three members of Destroy Boys for an exclusive track-by-track rundown of every song on this awesome new batch of tunes.

1. “Locker Room Bully”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “This song is about like, just like people on the internet being silly and playing telephone. And it’s also about people being mean, for no reason, or like, a misguided reason. The only thing I can think about, just the internet is making me so I like just people taking things so seriously, or, you know, misinterpreting things. It’s kind of about how there isn’t room to make mistakes, and online nowadays, it seems like people just want one to fight. People just wanna fight, and I don’t really understand it. I actually woke up today thinking about on TikTok, I posted that I went to the original location of the Church of Satan. Someone was like ‘Church of Satan is bad.’ And three of the things that they listed aren’t true about them. It’s a piece of occult history. Get out of my business, dude.”

Vi: “It’s like a moral echo chamber, the internet.”

Alexia: “‘Locker Room Bully’ is about people misinterpreting stuff I say on the internet, and in real life, and me being angry about it. The way that women especially are not allowed to make as many mistakes or if they get misinterpreted, it’s like a big part of their personality now. Think about Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears being called crazy, and having meltdowns and how it’s like ‘they’re just like crazy bitches.’ So, it’s kind of about like that, sort of about a lot of different things.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Vi: “The music came first. The main riff came from Alexia and Narsai’s garage, when they lived together.”

Alexia: “Narsai started laying down this drum beat that I thought was sick. I wasn’t really great at jamming at the time, and we came up with that.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Vi: “The bridge of this song has a lot of noise in it, there’s so many pieces in the bridge some of them kind of get lost. There’s a bunch of different cool, scratchy guitars and Alexia’s screaming a bunch of different parts, and then there’s a backup lead. It’s cool. There’s like seven different lead parts in that bridge, which is cool.”

Artwork for the single “Locker Room Bully” by Destroy Boys

2. “Muzzle”

What is this song about?

Vi: “This song is about kind of a similar thing to ‘Locker Room Bully.’ It’s about how you’re perceived. I wrote the song when I had just turned 20. I was getting older, and I realized that I was growing up on the internet, and all these people were bearing witness to my coming of age, and it just made me uncomfortable because no one knows me. None of these people know me. The band was starting to do well, so people who had mutual friends with me would talk about me online and tweet and I’d be like, ‘you don’t know me,’ which is literally the lyric of the song. And then the chorus is kind of about that. It’s also about kind of being tossed around by a dude a little bit.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Vi: “The music and the lyrics came at the same time; I wrote them all at one time.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Vi: “The harmonies were written in the studio and they made the song 100 times cooler.”

Alexia: “And the rhythm guitar, I bar the chords and I emphasize the higher notes and I think it shows, but I love doing that, really emphasizing the higher strings.”

3. “Sweet Tooth”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “This song is about me loving sugar and also sex. It’s about both of those things. I thought that it was kind of a funny marriage.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “The lyrics came first. They sort of developed, because Vi wrote this whole song. Vi had a demo of this song, right?”

Vi: “Yeah I had all the parts, except your rhythm guitar.”

Alexia: “Well, you had a part and I was like ‘I’m gonna change it.’”

Vi: “Alexia HATED this song before.”

Alexia: “Did I? I don’t remember hating it!”

Vi: “You were like ‘This is never going to be a Destroy Boys song. I hate this song, it sounds bad.’ You were like, ‘I don’t know what it is about it, it just sounds bad.’ I remember that so clearly.”

Alexia: “This is not the first time that I’ve said something like this. But then I end up loving it.”

Vi: “I didn’t want to let go of the song because I love the song. I love the riffs.”

Alexia: “I changed the rhythm guitar. Then I was like, ‘Oh, I like it. I love playing this song.’ Music came first. I was just being a hater.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “A fun production note is that for the lyrics I told Vi and Narsai to each give me sexy word when we were in practice and writing it, and then VI said cloaked and then Narsai said bubble gum. Then I turned into cloaked in bubble gum. I don’t know what that means. I thought of pink, the colour.”

Artwork for the album ‘Open Mouth, Open Heart’ by Destroy Boys

4. “Lo Peor”

What is this song about and how did it come to be?

Alexia: “I wrote it about a romantic sexual situation I was in that later was unrequited and turned out to be pretty shitty. But the song was about leading up to that. It’s about saying, ‘Oh, it’s a shame. It’s a shame,’ and being sad that something isn’t going to work out.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “That’s a good question. I think they came at the same time. I use the same two chords throughout the song and then do the lead. But the lead came a little later. I actually finished it in one night. I did mushrooms and I finished the song. I had a skeleton of an idea, and then I microdosed mushrooms and then later I was like, I could choose to be chill and do something like a song or I could choose a bad place. And so I chose to go to the good place. And like, yeah, did the lead on just like on GarageBand demos, and they kind of came together at the same time.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “I used a really fancy microphone for the song in the studio. It was Lauryn Hill’s.”

Vi: “You used that for the whole record!”

Alexia: “No, no, we didn’t use it for the whole record. There were two. One that was sonically different, more bright. Then the other was Lauryn Hill’s microphone.”

Alexia: “The fun production gear is that I made a whole demo by myself in my room and used an iRig, which is a thing that you plug into the headphone jack, and you plug the guitar input into there. I did that, had it through a vocal processor, and then out to a microphone, and I had like a whole setup right here in my room.”

5. “Cherry Garcia”

What is this song about?

Vi: “‘Cherry Garcia’ is also another GarageBand demo I made in our old studio that was written almost entirely in one night, except for the lead that came later. Alexia wrote that, it sounds amazing. It was about a guy that was my best friend, and I thought he was really mad at me for something. I wrote this whole song, and I found out later that night that his phone was just off. I didn’t think it was going to be on the record at all. I was just really, really excited about this song, and then Alexia wanted to hear it, so I played it for them, and they thought that it was so good.

They wrote this lead that made the song so much cooler. Doing harmonies in the studio and everything was so cool; it was my first lead vocal song that’s really singing. That was really different and fun, and I love playing it live.”

Alexia: “Yeah, it was my first time recording lead guitar, which was cool for me. This songs a banger, I listen to it all the time when I’m sad.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Vi: “Music and lyrics were written at the same time.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Vi: “Not really on this, mostly just that I wrote it all in one night.”

6. “Te llevo conmigo (Here Lie All Those Who Have Come Before Me)”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “This song is about my family and the ways that one can be connected with spirituality and the spirit world. I’m watching Legend of Korra. But, being connected to something bigger than yourself or something outside yourself.”

What came first, the music or lyrics, and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “Music came first definitely, and lyrics way later, not until we got in the studio. It was pretty hard to write but I had an idea. Originally the song was being called by us, ‘MCR’ or ‘HDPE.’ Because it kind of sounds like My Chemical Romance and Red Hot Chili Peppers together. I was definitely trying to channel a Gerard Way sort of feeling in the chorus. I think it came out pretty cool.

I’ve always wanted to write a song in Spanish. I’ll continue to write songs in Spanish because it’s part of my family and culture. I also think it’s cool to have songs in different languages. If I learned another one, I would probably put it in a song. If a rock band I really like put out a Spanish song, as a Spanish speaker, I’d be like, ‘what?!?! That’s so sick!’ I’d be so stoked, so I want to do that for the people.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “We ended up downtuning a song, which is pretty tight.”

Vi: “It’s our only song in B-standard, but won’t be our last song in B-standard.”

7. “Bob”

What is this song about?

Vi: “‘Bob’ is the second interlude on the record. It’s only called ‘Bob’ because that is the name of the guitar I wrote it on. She’s right here, her name is ‘Bob.’ I bought her for 20 bucks. It’s a horrible classical guitar that just says ‘Bob’ on the back.”

Alexia: “Did you paint the ‘Bob?’ Yes?”

Vi: “No, it was there already. This weird couple brought her into my guitar shop, and they were trying to sell this other thing. I was like, ‘that’s bad’ and they said ‘oh, then you probably won’t want this other one.’ I said, Let me see it,’ and they go, ‘her name is Bob.’ They show it to me and I go, ‘I’ll buy it from you for 20 dollars.’ I’ve written a bunch of songs on it. It’s very trusty, it sounds horrible. But I was actually hanging out with the same guy that ‘Cherry Garcia’ is about, and I was just pissed. He left the house, and I was supposed to go meet him somewhere. But instead of going to meet him, I wrote the music for ‘Bob.’ And it’s one of my favorite progressions to date, because it’s just very sad and kind of spooky.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Vi: “What’s cool about this song is I really wanted it to be different every time; it’s actually improvised. We only did one take for the song because it came out so cool. But every time I practice the song, it’d be different, every single time, except for the ending. It’s just generally about anxiety and really overwhelming feelings that you can’t control.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “A fun production note is that one of my favourite bands ever is Code Orange and Will Yip, our producer who worked on this record with us also produces Code Orange, he knows how much I love Code and he knows that I wanted to make this particular song very scary and spooky. So if you listen to it at the end, my voice kind of distorts into something low and scary. All this noise starts happening, which is a trick he used on the Code Orange records. Which is really, really cool. So, so excited about that. It’s one of my favorite pieces of the whole album.”

8. “Drink”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “Drink is about alcoholism and addiction like in your family, the complicated nature of addiction and the back and forth that there is with it. The feelings of guilt, but then like wanting to keep doing it, because you’re ‘Oh, it feels good,’ and then, ‘Oh, it feels bad.’ So it’s kind of what the song was about, that push and pull relationship of I love it, I hate it. I shouldn’t be doing this, I’m going to do it anyway.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “The music came first and Vi almost didn’t show us the song and when she did, we were like, ‘Let’s keep it’ so it became a sick song.”

Vi: “The riff is really influenced by Oingo Boingo, which didn’t end up translating at all, but I like the riff so much regardless. It doesn’t sound Boingo-y anymore, but it was originally very spooky.”

Artwork for the single “Drink” by Destroy Boys

9. “Ruins”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “‘Ruins’ is about a couple bad relationships that were with people that I know. More specifically about this one shitty dude that I really hate and how he was really shitty to his girlfriend over and over again. It’s kind of about other people, but also about myself in unhealthy relationships. It goes back and forth between the perspectives of a friend, of the person themselves, of the shitty partner saying that they’re going to change and no, they won’t. Sort of all the different kinds of thoughts that can go through your head when you’re with someone that you probably shouldn’t be.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “I think they came at the same time, I wrote them together. For me, it’s the same guitar throughout pretty much, so I tend to do that where I pick a couple chords that I like that go with the theme of the song, and the tone of the song and then write lyrics. I hit record on the voice memos and then just go. Vi added a lead that’s pretty sick.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Vi: “We added the backup vocals later… there’s a kind of counteracting monologue in between Alexia’s lead vocal, which added a really cool dynamic to the song because you kind of hear this other perspective. People think it’s Narsai singing which is weird because it’s me, but you know, whatever.”

10. “Escape”

What is this song about?

Vi: “I LOVE THIS SONG! When Alexia first played me this song, I said, ‘You’re going to make me a million dollars!’ We didn’t make a million dollars.”

Alexia: “I actually wrote this in January 2020, which is funny because it sounds very pandemic-y, ‘I want to escape, I want to play a show, I don’t want to be in this house no more.’”

Vi: “That’s not during COVID?!”

Alexia: “No! January, 2020. Yeah, the song is about wanting to escape my surroundings. Whether that be through smoking weed or drinking or going and playing a show. It’s also about missing and being excited to play music and wanting to escape through that.”

Alexia: “It’s also about musicians being underappreciated. Like, everyone wants art, but nobody wants to pay the artists for their work. Being frustrated with people being like ‘You need a Plan B’ and I’m like, ‘Get the fuck out of here! Not if you come to my show!’”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “Sort of same time again, it wasn’t a very distinct song where it was music first, then lyrics. We added a chorus, because it used to be just three verses, and then we added a chorus in the studio. And writing that chorus, I had to write the lyrics for that on the spot too.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “That take of me talking, I did it like ten times and just never felt satisfied with it. Which is more than I recorded any other vocal take. This one just felt endless!”

Artwork for the single “Escape” by Destroy Boys

11. “All This Love”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “‘All This Love’ is about feeling like I try so hard to date someone and nobody wants to, wah wah wah. I wrote this song so long ago, I think in 2018. I specifically had a crush on this one girl. My ex-boyfriend and I were on a break for a month and then he was like ‘please’ and I was like, ‘Ok.’ Later, ugh, stupid. I wrote this song in that month.

Before you enter a relationship, I think that if possible, you should have a relatively secure sense of self. If possible, it doesn’t always work out like that. But I wanted to have a more secure sense of myself before I got into another relationship. Because the one before that I got to a place where I felt really bad when I was by myself. When I was physically alone, I felt so terrible. And I was like, ‘I don’t want that anymore.’ So, the song is about yearning for someone, but then also realizing I have work to do here first. Before I want to involve another person in that.”

Vi: “The first time I heard this song, I was in an airport and I cried. It’s an old song.”

Alexia: “Yeah, I can take or leave this song. I can say that because I wrote it.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “Same time. I was crooning in my room in college as being like, ‘I want a girlfriend, I want a girlfriend.’”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “Oh, fun production thing is that there’s a ‘ding ding ding’ thing from a glockenspiel? There’s little bells or something in the song. Doo doo doo doo. Ding ding ding.”

Vi: “It’s the keyboard bells.”

Alexia: “Right! Yeah, sounds pretty cool.”

12. “For What”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “‘For What’ is about being mad about the police, wanting to abolish the police. Being mad at lots of systems of oppression that exist in the world, and, you know, institutions, systems, stuff like that. I was really conflicted, because I wanted to write a very overtly political song. I hate the police. But it’s like, as a white person who doesn’t experience overt racism, I was thinking how do I do this? Because I didn’t want to talk about something that isn’t my place. But I also think I should talk about this and use the Destroy Boys platform.

I actually took these lyrics from another song that I wrote about being mad that we kept opening for white guy bands, because it really upsets me. Not that they’re all bad, but I am so sick of being the only one of my kind at a show. So, I took those, and it ended up working really well for the song. Because it shows my perspective on the system, because I really wanted to emphasize that everyone plays a part in it. ‘I’m sick of politics. I just want peace. I’m sick of starving here down at my feet. Why do I hold you up? Why do I please? Take back the power by any means.’

So, recognizing that sometimes I am at their feet and sometimes I’m the one holding them up unintentionally, you know? Socialized to do stuff like that, and doing a lot of un-socializing. It’s about fuck the police and fuck the system and and we just need something better. I want something better. What can I do from this position? What should I do about it?”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “Music came first, for sure. Although the initial lyrics were written at the same time, relatively, like, same day, same practice.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “A fun production thing is that I had been wanting to put a monologue in the song, and I wrote it out. I hadn’t done it before, I didn’t know how I was going to deliver it. I figured out the melody in the studio, but I’ve never really used this voice, literally like this voice in the song. When we were in the studio, I was like, I’m just going to take a stab at this, at this monologue part. And I just read off my notes, and I’m listening to the song and I do that whole thing in one take. That’s the take that we used, the first full take. I kind of had an idea in my head, and it was perfect for the song. Yeah, I was really stoked on that. It was cool.”

Artwork for the single “All This Love” by Destroy Boys

13. “Secrets”

What is this song about?

Alexia: “‘Secrets’ is about a secret that I kept, and still keep. It’s about me doing something bad that I feel guilty about later. There was this guy, he had a girlfriend and we did stuff, and I felt like, ‘Why did I do that?’ It was just a really shitty situation because I felt manipulated later. It was really just weird. I felt super fucking guilty, but also like I couldn’t do anything about it. So I wrote this song.”

What came first music or lyrics and how did this song come to be?

Alexia: “Lyrics came first. I wrote the guitar layer. It’s kind of interesting. I wrote the lyrics by writing down ‘secret keeper’ in a notebook. I wrote the lyrics with the first letter of each of the words, you know, so it’s S, E, C, R, E, T, then I started to write some other stuff, too, and then eventually stitched together the ones that I liked, and made that into the song. Then the ‘little boy, big boy clothes’ was added later.”

Any fun production or gear notes?

Alexia: “The lead that Vi wrote is so insane, that was done in the studio. Makes it so good. Oh, the song is also an E flat.”

Vi: “That song is sad. That lead is a beast, it did not come naturally, but then when it came together, it came together really cool.”

Alexia: “So good, dude. That’s one of my favourite songs on the album.”

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