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Destroy Boys' Alexia Roditis and Violet Mayugba Silence Their Inner Critics

Destroy Boys' Alexia Roditis and Violet Mayugba Silence Their Inner Critics

The Bay Area based punk outfit Destroy Boys are known for their intense, energetic live performances. But what does it take to prepare for these types of shows, and to transition from a sold out venue back to the road and beyond? Destroy Boys braintrust Alexia Roditis and Violet Mayugba talk about shutting out their innermost critic, practicing self-care on the road, and the . 

What are the biggest challenges you face in finding time to practice self-care on the road?  

Violet: There’s not a lot of time in general. Even if you have downtime, it's not necessarily in a place where you'd be able to relax per se. The type of touring we've been doing, we've played places where there's no green rooms, so you have to curl up in the back of the van underneath three blankets, and not freeze to death. Or you’re burning hot in a basement, or you're in the van for 10 hours a day with your stinky band. They smell bad, you smell bad, it’s a whole deal. Being able to carve out an actual point in your schedule, where you have a moment to take care of yourself is really hard. I think it's a skill that develops the more you tour. Our tours have been becoming a little less DIY, and more scheduled. I've been able to find moments where we're able to go out in nature- that works for me. We always try to walk outside the venue or any stop on the road. It's just a skill that develops with scheduling as time goes on.

Alexia: One of the biggest challenges is not having any alone time. That's something that I really cherish when I'm at home, and something that I prioritize. On tour, I can achieve that by putting on my headphones, and being in my own world while we're in the car. That's a way to have alone time, just pretending like I'm alone in the van. I’m still participating in conversation, but purposefully taking that time by myself. And it’s the same thing at venues, I like to go to stores, or go walk around somewhere, and just make sure that I have that time to myself. 

How do you maintain your mental health on tour?

Violet: Touring is, for lack of a better word, a boot camp for mental health, especially when you're in a band with your best friends. I can be tough, and there's almost no alone time. You have to be “on” all the time when you’re meeting new people. Again, the band might smell bad, which I found really affects your mental health after a while. But if you can just find time, even if it's five or 10 minutes, to just either be alone or practice, that makes you feel better. I know a lot of musicians who are able to find time to meditate. Taking walks is a big one. I love food, that’s something that will always ground me. Taking a walk by myself to go get a coffee or a snack in whatever city I’m in always makes me feel a little more grounded.

Alexia: I like to get that alone time if there’s a chance to get it. It can be very hard to find that time, but it’s important that I do. I’ll go out into nature when it's possible, or will walk around a park near the venue or in whatever city we are in. It's not always super achievable, but taking the time to do those little things makes me happy.

Have you experienced burnout on the road? How does that affect your performance? How does that affect your creativity? 

Violet: Burnout usually hits around three weeks. Especially if you're playing every day, or six days a week, or if you're doing crazy drives, the longer you're driving, the more it affects that. I'm in a really lucky position where I really, really love what I do. So it takes a long time for me to get burned out. But when I do, it's all about revisiting gratitude for me. That's like a really, really important skill, and it took a while. It took a lot of hard work to develop. But it's all about remembering why I'm here, and remembering how many people would kill to be in a position that I'm in. No matter how tired I am, or how hungry I am, or how weird the venue is, or how many stairs there are to lift up my giant amp, I'm still doing what I love to do. And that'll get me through any little moment of burnout. My band is so funny. We always make each other laugh. So regardless of if I'm sick of a show or anything like that, I can always turn around and my drummer will crack a joke, and it'll make me laugh and that always helps a lot.

Alexia: I think when you do a lot of work at the same time, that raises your standard. And when you're tired or don't feel like making new stuff, it can be sort of self destructive to compare yourself to that really productive version of yourself. If you're burnt out, you realize you don’t want to do anything. I don't want to play guitar. I don't want to write songs, and it's like that feels so weird and horrible. I think that the most harmful part is that comparison. The inner critic is really frustrating. And it's annoying to think, “six months ago, I wrote a song every week, what's wrong with me?” 

Your shows are super energetic and physical, so what does physical recovery/care look like?

Violet: My biggest need is sleep. If I don't sleep enough, it starts to affect the shows a little bit. We take a lot of pride in making sure that no matter what we've been through, we try to put on the best show we possibly can. But if we don't sleep, my body just doesn't recover. I have bad knees, I have lung issues, I have asthma. I have a whole kind of nine yards of issues that would prevent me from doing something like this. But it's so much fun, it all just all melts away the moment I get on stage. But when I get off afterwards, I take a breather for like 20-30 minutes before I can talk to anybody or do anything. That’s also a luxury I want to add. That only happens with headline shows, which is new. We're about to go to the UK with two amazing bands Alkaline Trio and Taking Back Sunday. We're opening, so as soon as we're done, we're gonna have to pull all our gear off and figure out where we're traveling next.  But after we do that, I like to sit down, have water, eat something really filling and then sleep as much as possible. 

Alexia: I don't think that I've always been the best at making that a priority. But there is definitely a recovery period that's needed. Afterwards, I like to sit and think about it. I also stretch sometimes so I’m not so sore afterwards. But it's something that I'm looking into to do more of, because it can be energetically taxing to put on a show. It’s a good idea for me to sit and recoup afterwards. 

How do you recharge your creative energy between shows? How do you maintain your focus?

Alexia: Usually before the shows I go into a preparation mode. I sit and regroup, and I do my warm ups that get me into a space to focus. Putting on an outfit, doing makeup all gets me ready to perform and in that mode. I think the routine helps. It's kind of like when people have a bedtime routine, and then that prepares them to go to bed. Somatically I'm getting ready. But I think it's hard to focus on anything else when you're on tour. I know that I'm usually thinking about when we're having downtime, or driving in the van. But before the show, I'm thinking about the show. About what worked last night, what didn’t work. What I should do with the crowd, and what I should wear. 

Violet: For me there’s a big wielding focus that just happens as soon as I get in the van, or get on the plane. I just switch modes into tour mode. I have a pretty large focus that's already around. But before we put on the show, I get this feeling in my stomach. As soon as that feeling hits and I feel that anticipation, I just know that it's gonna be great. It feels very natural. I don't really have any routines or things that I do to prepare before a show anymore, because I feel like they just make me extra superstitious. I just have an overwhelming focus that comes with the experience of touring for a while. By now it feels really good. 

How do you mentally or physically prepare for a tour?

Violet: I feel like I get emotionally prepared. As soon as I pack my suitcase, that’s a big marker for me. As soon as my suitcase and backpack are packed, I just leave them in my hallway or my room for five days before we leave so I can make sure I don't wear any of my favorite clothes before I leave. That's how I prepare. When I do laundry, I put my tour clothes into a separate pile so that I don't touch them. I get arrangements for my little kitty cats in order, but now that I'm living with my partner, it's easy because he just watches them. I let people know I'm leaving. I dropped my car off with my mom in Sacramento. And that's pretty much it. Emotionally there's nothing to really do. I lean naturally towards being anxious, so I kind of just have to sit in it. There's no way you can necessarily emotionally prepare for a tour per se. Whatever happens happens. And you just have to be in that mindset. I work to get into that mode where I just hop in the van and whatever happens happens. I think it’s just a skill that comes with experience. I definitely didn't used to be like that. I did not roll with the punches at all. But I learned that skill along the way. So I just think that's important.

Alexia: Packing helps. I like to write a list of all the things I need. That's actually really helpful for me. I like to clean my room. That signals to me that I'm not gonna be here for a while, and when I come back, my room will be nice. Practicing every day is big, and is a good sort of emotional preparation. Emotionally I don’t really hang out with anyone prior to leaving. I stay at home because I’m not going to be alone for the next three weeks. I hang out and chill, I take a bath and do home things that I can't do elsewhere.

Is it hard to transition from life on the road to back home? How do you handle that transition?

Violet: I need a period to rest when I get back home. Touring disrupts whatever habits I formed before I left. 

Alexia: So true. 

Violet: I feel like right before I leave for tours, I get into really good routines. When I get home, those routines have been destroyed. I have to rebuild. I have a pretty good home base, Alexia and I live really close to each other. We don't become strangers after tour. I have a boyfriend and two cats at home, that’s my domestic life that I return to and I really value being at home in my apartment. I know Alexia feels the same way about the room, like, I just need a period to kind of rebuild. You know, it's definitely different. A lot of people work on the road, and it's tough to maintain relationships while you're out. I think that's more of a challenge for me. While I'm gone it's really hard for me to keep in contact with people that aren't directly in front of me, because we're so busy. And on top of that I’m so tired, so as soon as I get home I like to rest. That’s what’s most helpful for me. 

Alexia: After tour I have to not do anything for awhile because I’ve been “on” for 30 days. Touring is a lot of fun, but it's also work. I'm at work  24/7, and am always in that mode. You don’t have to be doing anything, it’s just the headspace you’re in. I get burnt out after a tour, and I have to really not do anything, and not pressure myself to be creative.  

How has Off Grid impacted you? 

Violet: I'm able to stay way more focused. And I'm less intimidated by my tasks throughout the day. I just got diagnosed with ADHD, and I don't know if there's a lot of studies for CBD or CBN and how it relates to that. But people with ADHD often struggle with finishing chores or tasks, because the sheer thought of them, at least for me, is very overwhelming. But I've noticed when I take the focus or calm tinctures when I first wake up in the morning, I'm able to kind of overcome that initial fear, and the thought process becomes a little more streamlined. I just don't have as much physical anxiety and I'm able to kind of work through those, which is very helpful because now my sink doesn't have any dishes on it. So that's great.

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