Straight up, there has never been an act like Destroid before. The Canadian supergroup, consisting of Excision, Downlink, and KJ Sawka, has managed to merge the raucous energy and tonality of in-your-face dubstep with the swagger of a hard rock band and an aesthetic that suggests what would happen if Daft Punk got swallowed up by HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. As they set off on the Safe in Sound tour with the likes of Flux Pavillion and Zeds Dead melting faces out of a 150,000 watt PK sound system, the trio took a moment to break down what the fuck is actually happening on stage when Destroid descend upon your town.
"We are aliens," says Sawka. "Once our masks go on, its showtime and we are unstoppable. No one can fuck with us." Well, although that sounds like a simple equation, there's been a lot of careful thought put into the project. Everything from the intricately designed suits they wear to the instruments they play have been crafted for the very purpose of Destroid. Excision explains: "We loved the idea of being able to create a whole universe of history for our characters. That was how it started, then it grew into a full-on band with crazy alien/robot costumes and my fan base seemed to really latch onto it. It's already blown beyond our expectations and we are just enjoying the ride at this point."
Aside from the elaborate costumery and stage show, Destroid have turned dubstep into a live-band format, creating their own set of instruments that trigger the music elements. There's a level of performativity not seen elsewhere on the stages upon which they perform. WIth that in mind, the question has to be asked. What happens if they fuck up? "The cardinal rule of musical performance is, if you fuck up, you just do it again and it seems like you meant to do it. Many mistakes can lead to really cool moments of improvised performance," says Sawka. Downlink adds, "You kind of just have to keep going and not let it get you flustered. Crowds are pretty perceptive of your on stage energy and if you let mistakes mess with your vibe they can usually sense it and it will in turn bring their energy down."
The crowds at Destroid show, despite having the same taste for intense sonics, have some differences from the DJ sets of the comprising members. "for once I think now it makes sense to be taking pictures of this show," says Excision. "People still spend the majority of the show rocking out, but the suits we are wearing look great in pictures and we get so many awesome shots sent to us by fans on Twitter. Bands give you something a bit more entertaining to look at."
And the trio definitely give you something to look at. "I've definitely started channeling a bit of a character more and more on stage," says Downlink. "I've begun to incorporate a few stances and moves that seem to fit with being a badass alien hellbent on bass destruction."
And hey you city slickers are getting shown up in the rage department according to Excision: "What I find is that kids in the most rural areas party far harder than in the cities. They are seriously deprived from shows so when they do get an artist they love in their hometown they go HARD!"
Catch Destroid on the Safe in Sound Festival tour, whomping its way around North America as we speak.
Jemayel Khawaja is THUMP's Associate Editor in Los Angeles - @JemayelK