Punk Rock Is True Expression: An Interview With Destructo Disk
By Eli Duncan-High
From one of the oldest cities in America comes a young punk rock band who have established themselves as one of the top music acts in the rising Richmond music scene. Destructo Disk is a three piece punk band composed of Gideon Kupka, Molly Gordon, and Daniel Roff. After hearing their compilation album, Punk Rocks For Kids Who Can’t Skate, I was mesmerized by their hardcore, metal, pop, and psychedelic fusion with its mix of introspective lyrics about politics, law enforcement, employment, and weed. I drove 2 hours to Richmond to interview the band after their show with MSSV (another amazing band that features Mike Baggeta, Mike Watt, and Stephen Hodges) at The Camel.
Unfortunately, Daniel could not make the show and Destructo Disk had to use a different drummer for the show but both bands were able to put on an amazing show. I conducted the majority of the interview with Gideon and Molly in Gideon’s car (who was nice enough to give me a ride and help me get my car from the parking garage). Gideon and Molly are both incredible musicians and incredibly kind people and even though I didn’t get the opportunity to meet Daniel, I’m confident that he is much like his bandmates in regards to talent and character. I enjoyed conducting this interview and I highly recommend you listen to Destructo Disk and the other Richmond bands who are establishing one of the more innovative music scenes in the country.
Eli: “What is punk to you and how has punk impacted you?”
Gideon: “To me, punk rock is the concept of being yourself. I think back in the day it used to mean something different, a little more counterculture. I don’t think punk is a sound but a frame of mind.”
Molly: “ I think punk rock is being true to your passion. It’s definitely not trying to be cookie-cutter and trying to fit an image. People often associate punk as an image and then a sound which it’s not. Punk is what you make it.”
Eli: “Your band uses a wide range of sounds. What is the thought process to create these sounds?”
Gideon: “ When Destructo Disk formed it was just a punk rock side project with Danny and I and the thing about it was we had total freedom. I was in another band at the time where there were more of us and it was harder to agree on things. However, with Destructo Disk me and Danny agreed on everything and we could write funny lyrics and play fast. Now it’s become more like what do I want to say? I’m putting this out forever. To me Destructo Disk has always been a punk band and it’s going to always be a punk band no matter how we sound because the whole idea is being ourselves and expressing ourselves. Even if it’s not a punk song we’ve always wanted to make music that might resonate with people. That’s what’s special about punk rock, its true expression.”
Molly: “We are also inspired by what we are listening to at the time and we’re very impressionable. Both Gideon and I will do this thing where we like an album and then we listen to it a lot and get stuck on it. I fixate on albums like the new Fiddlehead album and every now and then I fixate on an old album. I’ve been going back to a lot of Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Narrow Head.
Gideon: “I’ve been shuffling Kool Keith’s whole discography, I’ve also been on a huge Title Fight kick lately and I’ve been trying to learn from them, I’ve also been listening to a lot of Minutemen leading up to the show.”
Eli: “I understand you guys are into older video games such as PaRappa the Rapper. What are some of your other favorite older video games”
Molly: “Definitely Resident Evil is a big influence for Gideon and I in our gaming culture. Daniel is also a huge Resident Evil fan. Another game I like is Freak Style which is a super underrated game. My favorite game series is Halo and Halo 3 is my favorite game from the series.”
Gideon: Destructo Disk collectively are all big Resident Evil fans. We got Daniel into Resident Evil later. Molly and I are longtime Resident Evil fans and since 7 came out Daniel has been a fan. Destructo Disk are all Resident Evil stans. Danny also loves Paper Mario and Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. I’m obsessed with Cool Boarders 2 on Playstation 1 and it’s my favorite video game.”
Eli: I’m a fan of your hair. What advice would you give to someone who is trying to grow and color their hair?”
Gideon: “That’s a great question. I’ve never gotten that question before. Everyone’s hair is very different. I happen to have extremely thick hair and when I was a kid my hair would spike up and in high school I grew it out long enough where it weighed itself down. To someone who is growing out their hair my advice is to pay attention to what kind of hair you have and also if you plan to grow out your hair and you get to a point where it gets really ugly you gotta get through that phase because eventually it will be good.
I had this phase for months where I looked like one of The Beatles and after months of having this Beatles haircut I started to have what looks like my long hair. So be patient and get through the ugly phase and you’ll be good.
Molly: “I think your hair also responds to your diet because if my diet isn’t good then my hair wouldn’t look good. When it comes to coloring your hair Arctic Fox and Manic Panic are really good products. I have a very physical job so I need a product that can stay on my hair through several washes. I would also recommend knowing your colors and understanding what colors you look good in. I think I look good in red but I prefer green hair.
Eli: Molly, I understand you like to lift weights particularly with barbells. What does your workout routine look like?
Molly: “ My mother was a powerlifter and my father was also very fit. I spent a lot of time working out with my mom and asking her workout advice and she took me to my first gym. I started out using free weights because they were portable and I could work out at home. I was fortunate and lucky enough that my parents eventually built a gym in our basement. I didn’t start getting stronger until I started doing the 5×5 routine. I recommend using the 5×5 routine to get fit and strong because you workout three times a week and it’s five movements, five repetitions, in five sets. You’ll get a lot stronger and it’s so easy to do that you can’t justify skipping. I’ve been working out since I was a teenager. I like being fit and feeling confident in myself and my abilities.”
Eli: “What have you learned from the relationships you have formed with different artists?”
Gideon: “The answer is they are just people like you and me which makes it easier to communicate with them. We know about Teen Mortgage (a local DMV band) because we liked the Australian band The Chats. Molly got to see The Chats perform in DC and the opening band was Teen Mortgage and Molly texted me that night saying how good they were. Our first time interacting with them we had a vinyl release show for our compilation album and we were looking for openers so we got in contact with Teen Mortgage through another band called Valley Delinquent and we asked Teen Mortgage if they wanted to open for us and they said yes which is how we befriended them.
What that taught me is everyone is a person doing their own thing like Teen Mortgage who are the kindest dudes who also ROCK! That moment and other moments we opened for some of our favorite bands and we talked to them and realized they are just people, they have jobs, they stay up late, they have things that they like. That’s what makes a band so special to me is that we are just dudes doing our own thing.
Eli: I was looking through the playlist that you listened to during your 2022 tour and I found a lot of rap artists like Kendrick Lamar and Nas. How has hip hop influenced you?
Molly: “ I think what people like about rap is that it’s rhythm centric. We can’t really relate to hip hop but it’s very cultural music. It’s more like we admire and respect a lot of those musicians especially with 90s hip hop artists like A Tribe Called Quest.
Gideon: Hip Hop is so influential to Destructo Disk and it’s one of the genres of music I listen to the most and I listen to hip hop everyday. Like Molly said, I can’t relate to hip hop culturally but a lot of its approach is what is so appealing to me, like sampling. A lot of hip hop is approached the same way as punk. For example, one of my favorite artists, Kool Keith, has an amazing rhythm to his songs. He could have lyrics that don’t have much meaning but his rhythm is one of the coolest things that you will ever hear. Both punk and hip hop have very similar rhythm sections.”
Eli: “When I listened to your song Wolf Fang Fist I found it similar to the song Endless, Nameless by Nirvana. While both songs are sonically different they share a similar transition from a hardcore sound to a psychedelic sound. Did this transition from Endless, Nameless inspire the creation of Wolf Fang Fist?”
Gideon: “I had actually not listened to Endless, Nameless at the time of writing Wolf Fang Fist so it was completely coincidental. However, the significance of Wolf Fang Fist is that it was the first song written for Destructo Disk on guitar and played on guitar at our first show while also being the only song that we still play today from our first show. Wolf Fang Fist also made me realize that I should continue to play guitar because it’s easier to write songs on guitar. That song has a lot of elements that we still use today and was a kicking off point for the Destructo Disk sound.”
Listen to Destructo Disk anywhere you stream music and follow them @destructodiskfanclub on Instagram.