Tone Talk with Violet Mayugba

Photo by Ash Gellman

Violet Mayugba is a founding member of Destroy Boys, with Alexia Roditis (vocals/guitar), rounded out by drummer Narsai Malik. Heavily influenced by West Coast punk, they have been making waves from the California shoreline to the UK, sharing stages with up-and-coming bands like Mannequin Pussy as well as punk stalwarts such as Face To Face and Lagwagon. They’ve also racked up over 40 million streams, with the numbers ticking upward every day without fail. Their visceral personal tales of scene bullies, elitist cliques, betrayal, and unrequited love have won over the hearts and ears of eager listeners ranging from the fervent teens who pack out their shows to Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
I didn’t understand tone for a long time; I just knew that when I heard a certain kind of overdriven guitar, it drove me absolutely crazy. I refused to alter my tone from a straight Marshall (no pedals!) for the first four years of our band simply because I knew it translated the rage and urgency that I was trying to convey. Eventually, last year (2020), I started barely getting into pedals. However, on the songs we’ve been working on lately, I’ve been pursuing more outlandish tones and experimenting with sounds.

What are your favorite tonewoods?
I always go for mahogany because I’m Gibson until I die. I’ve noticed it adds more of a body and fullness to my tone.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?           
Yay, rig rundown!

I use a custom shop Gibson Les Paul Special that Gibson was kind enough to send us a little while back. This guitar’s ‘50s reissue specs make it more desirable for my playing style (wider neck, slightly smaller body). The P90 tone is literally unbeatable. There is something so special about it. I’ve shot it out with like fifty other guitars; it always comes out on top.

My amp is a custom Marshall JCM 800 2×12 combo that has been slightly modded with a custom gain channel. This was a gift from a friend that I treasure every single day. It has incredible mids and a wide variety of EQ’d sounds you can get out of it. The clean channel is gorgeous and full. But the gain on this thing is unstoppable. It sounds like 1,000 Marshall full stacks in MSG to me, but maybe that’s just because I love it so much. :+)

On all the records we have out so far, I’ve only used three pedals. DOD Ice Box Chorus (this chorus is just ok, but it cuts well and is reliable), KLON Centaur copy (enough said), and a Keeley compressor (helps me flatten out my leads a little bit).

What about strings?
Our buddies at Ernie Ball have me stocked up with Power Slinkys (11s) galore!

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
I’m not super familiar with the engineering side of things. I just like tripling or quadrupling rhythm guitars with lots of different tones.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
Since I haven’t used many pedals, it’s usually easy. Just super high gain and hitting the fuck out of my guitar.

What does your practice consist of?
Playing along to our old and new songs and playing some fun covers. The covers are usually what encourage me to get better.

Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to pick up the guitar and play?
“7 Words” – Deftones.

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
Do not let men dictate whether you succeed or not. That is solely up to you, and you can do it on your own. Be YOURSELF; everyone wants something new. You can do it!

Connect with Violet Mayugba

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