There was a time in recent history the raw, revolutionary power of rock ‘n roll was more than just an outlet for teen angst, but a mouthpiece for social change. It was a time when ear-splitting guitar riffs and soul-stirring lyrics resonated with a generation looking for a voice amidst societal turmoil. Grunge giants like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, as well as the fierce riot grrrl squads such as Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, The Breeders, and Babes In Toyland, didn’t just blast music — they blasted societal norms. They spurred a seismic shift, thrusting topics like sexual assault, domestic abuse, sexuality, racism, and patriarchy into the spotlight, clad in plaid shirts and dirty sneakers.
The undying spirit of rock ‘n roll refuses to be tamed. Meet Destructo Disk, raw, DIY collective of individuals from Winchester, VA who embody the age-old spirit of underground rock — bristling with frustration, oozing discontent, and demanding to be heard. Their music is a gut punch to complacency, a deafening declaration of dissent. We love this kinda of band and with over 170K monthly Spotify listeners, we are not the only ones.
ed. note: This interview was done back in March 2023 for RVA #41 that is delayed until September.
This is Taylor from Beggars for RVA Mag. I’m here talking with Molly and Gideon from Destructo Disk. Molly, what is your role in the band?
Molly:I play bass and do backup vocals.
Gideon: I play guitar and do lead vocals.
The first thing I wanted to ask about was the name– what’s the reference?
Gideon: It’s a character’s move from Dragonball Z. There’s also an added layer where it’s a disc that can cut through anything, but every time that character uses it, he misses. I think that’s really fitting. He’s also the strongest human character, but compared to everyone else, he seems weak.
Molly: He’s also short and bald.
Gideon: It’s just kind of funny, and we thought it was a sick name.
Yeah, it’s a dope name. Are you also influenced by Dragonball Z, whether it be the anime, or the art world, in any of your writing?
Gideon: I think it’s more so tongue-in-cheek. We’re kind of kooky people. We don’t always take ourselves very seriously. I think the name is very reminiscent of that.
So it’s playful.
Gideon: Yes, but it’s also like, we can go hard. I think we thought of the name, and then we formed the band because we were like, “That’s a really good name. We have to use that before someone else does.”
I love that. So how did you guys get together? What’s the history?
Molly: We’re a three-piece now. I came in later, after Danny.
Danny is the drummer?
Gideon: Yeah. Danny and I met in high school art class. We had become friends over the course of our senior year in 2015. We were talking about starting a band as a side project because I was in another band at the time.
Was this in the Richmond area?
Gideon: No, we’re from Winchester, Virginia. But he and I were getting into punk, and we wanted to start a project, just for fun because he and I were getting along. I got a broken drum set that he played and we formed this little band, and it very quickly became more fun than my other band. We had a lot more freedom in our songwriting and creative process.
It very naturally spiraled into another project. We enjoyed it a lot, but we were only a two-piece– just guitar and drums. People were always like, “You guys should get a bassist.”
Molly: That was when I first saw them, when they were a two-piece. I went to one of their shows.
How many years ago was this?
Gideon: Our first show was in 2015. So this was either 2015 or 2016.
The first thing that I saw on Spotify came out in 2018, but you had stuff before that?
Gideon: Yeah, we had music before that, we just didn’t put it on Spotify until 2018. We took our time with it– we were worried about it not being good enough basically. We didn’t want a bassist because Danny and I clicked so well. We were like, “No, we’re best friends.” But a year into it, we met Molly through a mutual friend, and we really hit it off with Molly. We were like, “Would you want to play bass with us?”
Molly: I had a house that had a basement and I’d moved out of my parent’s house. It was just me and my roommates so we were allowed to be noisy, and they needed somewhere to practice. I met them through our mutual friend and I just invited them over. Then a couple of practices into it, they asked me if I could play bass, and I said no. And then he said, “That’s great. I’ll teach you.”
I’d never been taught how to play bass, but I knew how to use my hands to make notes and stuff. So I was like, “Yeah, just teach me the songs.”
I love that the chemistry and the friendship came before the instruments. I know guys that started practicing in the basement of a tattoo shop. It was like, “Do you know how to play this instrument? No? Well, I love you. So let’s learn together.”
Gideon: And something I think is really funny about us is, Molly is primarily a drummer. They already had that rhythm down when they learned to play bass. But, all three of us in the band don’t play our main primary instrument. I grew up playing bass and I play guitar in this band. Molly’s a drummer that plays bass, and Danny our drummer, is a metal core vocalist.
Molly: We all learned together.
What’s it like when you’re in the room writing?
Molly: I noticed Gideon and Danny write music together the best, even though you’re supposed to write with bass and drums playing along with each other. So Danny will play off of Gideon’s guitar playing and then I play off of Danny’s drums. I come in last to fill it out.
It’s interesting to hear about everyone’s songwriting process. The drummer in my band is in a whole bunch of other bands and I always ask him, “How do you guys write?” Because our guitarist will write the skeleton of a song and send it to us, and then we all come up with our parts separately, and then we get in the room and try and put it together.
Gideon: We’ve had a couple of different songwriting processes. Early on, before Molly, I would write a whole song, bring it to Danny, and he would put on drums. Over time, especially when Molly joined, we learned how to work together.
Yeah, that’s rad, I love that. So stylistically and influentially, talk to me about what your creative vision is.
Gideon: I think when Destructo Disk was a side project band, it was based on the freedom of just making punk rock and being in a punk band. To me, punk rock has always been about being yourself and just doing your thing–PMA. Now, we still consider ourselves a punk band and we love punk music, but we just want to make whatever we want. We just want to be a band.
I think we pull from a lot of different influences, both as a group and as individuals. Molly and I share a lot of similar musical interests, but Danny is very different. There’s a lot of stuff we like that he doesn’t get and that’s fine– because when we all agree on something, it’s special. There are a couple of bands that all three of us have always loved though. We’ve always been big on Turnstile, The Dead Milkmen, and early on we were all really big into Weezer.
Turnstile is crushing it.
Gideon: Yeah, my friendship with Danny started in 2013 or ‘14. I remember I showed him a Turnstile song and he really liked it and we kind of got into hardcore together.
They’re doing it in this really cool way where they’re on their own terms, and I think that I can hear that within your guys’ stuff too. Because it’s super punky, but it’s also got all these other ideas too. They’re like, “Yeah, why can’t we put that in a punk song?”
Gideon: I love when bands and artists seem like they are celebrating music. Another band we all like a lot is Sublime. They are reggae or whatever, but they also pull from hip-hop, punk, dub, and all this stuff. I’m very into the whole idea of not worrying about what others think and just rocking for the sake of being yourself. We all like a lot of different music, but it’s not like we try to sound like that. We are influenced by rhythm and energy, and we do pull ideas from a lot of different sources.
Molly: Especially from a lot of three-piece bands that have a certain dynamic, like Minutemen.
Gideon: Yeah, they’re huge. I can’t stress enough how important I think they are to music. But I think being a three-piece really works for us because we all have our own parts that stand out. There’s not like a rhythm and a lead.
Lyrically, you have this voice that is very clear, right? It’s in the front of the mix. You have something to say and it seems kind of topical or maybe political. Talk about that a little bit.
Gideon: I think a lot of our earlier music was like, “Oh, we started a punk band, we can write about whatever we want. Let’s write a song about cops,” or something. I was also getting very into Riot Grrrl music, so I was like, “Let’s write a Riot Grrrl appreciation song.” But as we’ve gotten older and gotten into different kinds of music, I’ve become really into lyrics you can spend time with and interpret differently over time.
Molly: I think we are interested in lyrics that can mean something different to everyone. Depending on who is listening, they can take their own meaning.
Gideon: I really like when lyrics aren’t so surface-level. I think a lot of our newer tracks are more introspective. And we want to write about what we know and our experiences. Sometimes we’re not totally politically involved, and I don’t want to seem fake or like we’re blowing smoke. I know myself and my life and what I’m going through. So I feel like nowadays, we focus more on stuff like that, but people can still relate to that and pull good from it.
And I don’t know, we’ve always been open to expanding, but also taking our time doing that. I think the lyrics are a good representation of that, of how we’ve grown.
When was Punk Rock for Kids Who Can’t Skate released? 2018?
Gideon: The release schedule for that one is kind of weird. To us, we consider that like a compilation album. Most people consider it our first album, and we’re totally cool with that–
Molly: But our intention was that it was a compilation because it was an EP first.
Gideon: The first five songs on that album were our debut EP. We put out that EP, self-released, on Bandcamp on January 1, 2017. So that was the first time we had studio music online, we were afraid to put it on Spotify for some reason. Within a year after that, we recorded a couple of singles and splits. By that time we had 13 songs, and we were like, “Why don’t we just put them all together and get it on Spotify?”
A lot of people know that as the starting point, they don’t really know about the EP and earlier stuff on Bandcamp. We pieced everything together and it kind of just became our first album, but the intention was always to just gather what we had and put it in one place. When we made the alternate cover art and put it on Spotify, that’s when it turned into this record.
Who does the artwork by the way?
That’s awesome. It’s really cool.
Gideon: Thank you. For our album, Bad Gravity, though, the paintings were done by our good friend Jamie Newton. And Jamie Newton was actually the mutual friend who introduced Molly to us.
Nice. So last year, Bad Gravity came out. Talk about that album a little bit.
Gideon: That album is very important to us.
Molly: That is the album that, to us, actually feels like our first full-length album. We recorded Punk Rock for Kids Who Can’t Skate with two different people, Danny Halpren and Leah Miller, and we got it mixed together. With Bad Gravity, we went to one guy, Will Beasley, here in Richmond.
Gideon: He’s awesome.
Molly: Yeah, We did this whole album just with him, and it took, like, three years total. Originally, we really went into it with the idea that it was a concept album with a whole storyline and characters, and we wanted to essentially be playing those characters.
Gideon: It’s definitely open to interpretation, but basically, it circles around a lot of our little life experiences that are based on our band. We kind of forged our life, and we pieced them together in a way where there are these characters that maybe have an ego or feel good about themselves who go through these trials, and then by the end of it, they’re shaped differently.
Really the whole album, regardless of it being a concept record or not, is about us. It’s about being in a band. That was always the main theme. To me, that first album, Punk Rock for Kids Who Can’t Skate, captured us in our hometown and the burst of energy associated with starting a band. And then Bad Gravity is us in the process of moving out of our hometown, and the lyrical themes get a little more adult.
Did you guys put that out yourselves?
Gideon: We co-released it with this label called Version III. They helped us with promotion.
Molly: Yeah, like getting us on Sirius, on college radio stations. They helped a lot with our growth with radio.
But it was a collaborative release. We still own all the rights to the music and we’re able to put out our own physical releases. We saw a lot of creative freedom.
Have you done any vinyls or cassettes or anything?
Gideon: Yes. Before COVID, we did a Kickstarter, and we got the first album pressed on vinyl. We did that all ourselves– and I’m very proud of that. Now we run a little record label, Sockhead Records, and we put that vinyl out under our label. We had around 500 pressed.
That’s cool. Who’s on the roster?
Gideon: Well, the only Richmond band currently on the roster is Strawberry Moon, shout out to Strawberry Moon, they rock. The label started out in our hometown. We wanted to use some of our leverage or our exposure to help out our friends in Winchester. Winchester is a small town, and there are musicians and artists, but they don’t really have a voice. So, initially, it started out as an archive.
But then when we moved here, we wanted to approach it differently. We were like, “Okay, there’s actually an art scene here. And there’s music going on.” And then Strawberry Moon hit us up and we were like, “Okay, yes, we want to actually feel like a record label.” So now that we’re here, we’re approaching it a little differently. We’re taking it more seriously.
You found that Richmond has provided that community for you?
Gideon: Yeah, Richmond has this supportive scene that I always wanted.
Molly: It’s what we were looking for, I think it’s a perfect fit for us.
Are you doing any touring?
Molly: We just did our first official on-the-road tour back in December. Prior to that, we’ve done some weekender style tours. We would play shows out of town, out of Virginia, but we would just drive up to Philly to play a show and drive straight back. So, December was the first time that we actually went out and were getting in booked shows.
It was actually a house show tour. We pretty much played house venues except for one night. We had to get a show rescheduled on the fly, so we played in this dive bar basement which was really cool. It was very DIY, but it was a fantastic first tour experience.
Did you get a van?
Did it break down?
Gideon: No, but we had to change a headlight on the way.
I’ve heard so many instances of bands getting a van for their first tour and then two days later it breaks down.
Molly: No thankfully, all the damage that has come to it has happened when we’re not on tour. But yeah, we’re looking to expand on doing more than a five-day tour.
Where are you playing in Richmond?
Gideon: I work at The Camel, so I have that in. We probably play there the most, and we are actually opening up for Angel Dust at the Warehouse in May.
Molly: We are very very excited about that. That’s another band like Turnstile that all three of us are really into.
Gideon: We also played at Banditos recently for the first time. And we were really worried because we were playing the same night as Show Me The Body and Angel Olson– they both had sold-out shows going on in Richmond. But we ended up having a great turnout, it was crazy.
Molly: That was a really great feeling. Realizing that we could still have a good show while there are other great options going on around us.
Gideon: Since moving to Richmond, we’ve noticed that people come out to see us and people like us.
Doesn’t it feel good?
Gideon: Yeah, it feels really good. We’ve been playing shows since 2015 and from 2015 to 2019, we almost exclusively played at this one venue in Winchester.
Was that frustrating?
Molly: Oh, definitely. Towards the end we were like, “We have to change it up.”
Gideon: By the time we finally got out of Winchester and started playing more, we had people coming out because they were like, “Oh, they never go anywhere.” So people came to see us in D.C. and same with Philly.
On our tour, we did six shows. We played three towns that we are really familiar with– our hometown, Philly, and Richmond. And then we played three new places we had never been to in Tennessee and Georgia. And people still came out to those shows. The whole experience was just very reassuring and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about it.
And the shows all went well?
Gideon: Yeah. And we also played very similar sets every night, so we got good. I’ve always heard of that happening to bands. By like, the third night, we were really confident .
How many songs do you have?
Gideon: I love answering this question because we’ve been a band for a long time. We have almost 40 songs that we could play live. It’s cool because, as a band, we have a variety of sound so we can play with a lot of different artists. We can play with heavier, faster bands or more indie/alternative. Because we have so many songs, we can pick and choose like, “Yo, let’s play a heavy set tonight.”
Are you trying to get the next tour lined up sometime soon?
Gideon: Yeah, we’re planning, but nothing’s set in stone right now. We’re talking to our friends in Rex Tycoon, trying to plan a little tour with them in June. We’re also finally getting back into writing some more. It’s been a while since we’ve written new music, even our last album was a lot of old songs.
Who do you want to shout out in Richmond?
Gideon: Lobby Boy, Ten Pound Snail, Strawberry Moon –- there’s so many Richmond bands that we love, and if I forget any I always feel bad. There’s also Trapcry and Ghost Piss. I know there’s a big one I’m forgetting, but that’s okay. My point is that everyone in Richmond who is supportive of the music scene gets the support back. I think the Richmond music scene is very special -– I love it here.
Yeah, man. That’s awesome. So, just to wrap things up, is there anything else you want us to know about Destructo Disk?
Molly: We’re going to take this year to work on new material, and hopefully have some new singles out soonish. And then we really, really want to expand on playing live and would love to play in some of the cities that are in our top listeners on Spotify.
Which are those?
Gideon: Chicago is one that’s doable. I don’t think we can make like LA yet. Basically, this year we want to step it up and take it more seriously. We need to say no to some show opportunities so we have more time to write.
If we take our time and we play our cards right, things could work out for us. We’re just trying to be smart and serious about it this year and take this passion and drive we’re getting from living in Richmond to push ourselves to work harder.
Well, best of luck to you. I can’t wait to see what you guys put out.
Introduction by R. Anthony Harris