Born out of a passion for music, a period of personal turmoil and a disdain for poorly designed high school band shirts, Destroy A Drum is an apparel brand from Corpus Christi looking to serve musicians. In this interview, contributor Luis Arjona chats with Destroy A Drum Founder Arturo Saucedo III to learn about the inspiration behind the brand, how he will never forget its local roots and more.
Luis Arjona: How did you identify the need for apparel that resonated with percussionists and performers, and what steps did you take to create a solution?
Arturo Saucedo III: The solution came from wanting to create something an artist could wear on and off the stage. Going through marching band at Tuloso-Midway High School showed me the cheesy designs all these apparel companies were making to “represent” drummers and I knew even back then I wanted to produce pieces that stood for my obsession for drums. I wanted something to represent the passion, heart and soul I devoted to each performance with designs that could speak for it. Our products solve that problem for any and every type of performer; from wild and crazy artwork to subtle and clean-cut styles.
Destroy A Drum provides the solution every drummer has ever wanted, apparel that personifies their identity on and off the stage. As drummers, we each play differently and in our own way; therefore we create a wide variety of apparel to represent diverse Destroyers. Our products are made to personify how the sounds we create have personality and emotion in every swing, hit and beat. From the intensity of heavy pounding fast rock to the ambient swing of jazz, to the groove of rhythm and blues and the steady beats of pop; we represent all types of music and art forms. Our signature logo was made to epitomize the heartbeat of every style of music and cadence – the bass drum.
LA: Could you elaborate on the early days of the company and how it has grown from its humble, local beginnings to having big-name artists represent the brand?
AS: The early days were me growing up in this giant laundry room at my grandparents’ house without wifi, taking on a complete schedule of college classes, working a full-time job and performing on the weekends. It was fast-paced and laced with pure adrenaline, packed with a beyond-driven passion to be the best in the drum industry. I wanted to confidently say there wasn’t another drum company in the world doing what we did with artwork and we reached that very quickly. The standard for Destroy was and always has been “the best or nothing.” I started by creating the designs in between studying for classes, building the website and developing collections that had all different kinds of apparel, headwear and accessories.
Starting off in Corpus Christi allowed me to build a foundation of having very little to work with being how small the city is to network. It’s always been that vibe of once you know one person in the scene doing something different you start to know everyone making the right moves. It grew very quickly to get to know the strong chess pieces that made the city thrive with local artists, business owners and creators. The more products we created the more we would venture out into new territory with the drum world and expand the scope of who wanted to be a part of the brand. I believe it is what we stand for that has resonated the most with those who have joined the company.
LA: How does Destroy A Drum continue to support local musicians and the music scene in Corpus Christi?
AS: Back when our roots were still planted in Corpus Christi we would do pop-up shops at shows at House of Rock and Brewster Street to help sell tickets and promote the local bands. We constantly supported festivals like St. Paddy’s Fest, Surftoberfest and Dia De Los Muertos to set up shop out there for the locals to get an idea of what we were about. I’ll never forget my family and friends who came out to help at St. Paddy’s and together we sold over $1,000 worth of shirts at an Irish festival….who would’ve thought? That’s the number one thing with Destroy, every time I did a pop-up shop for a local band or festival I underestimated how crazy it could get to sell so much gear having to do with drums. More often times than not at a show people who would get there late would ask “Did we miss the opening band called Destroy A Drum?” and then would know why we were there and dug the designs, which back then were some of the craziest like a mariachi playing a snare drum and an octopus smashing a complete drum set.
LA: As the company has expanded and you now live in Austin, how do you ensure that the roots and connection to Corpus Christi are still maintained?
AS: Corpus Christi is always kept in mind and our roots will always be apparent in things like the artwork we put on our apparel. Anything from a bass drum on a beach with a crab on top holding a pair of drumsticks to a jaws design with our signature bass drum in the center of the shark.
LA: How did you manage to attract well-known drummers like the ones from Lamb of God, Pepper, Silverstein, Kali Uchis and more to become artists for Destroy A Drum?
AS: The artists we bring on have always grown very organically and started with drummers down in Corpus. I’ll never forget being at a Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game back in the day I had my phone number listed on the Destroy Instagram page and I got a call from this 15-year-old drummer out of Fullerton, California. His passion was off the wall and I could feel the energy through the phone with how much he loved our products and wanted to be a part of the company. At this point, we had signed some local drummers but no one out of state so I told him I’d check out his profile and get back to him. When I saw just how incredible and powerful he played I immediately got back to him and brought him on to be a Destroy A Drum Artist. This turned out to be Tosh Peterson and just a few years later, he started performing with Jxdn, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Nas X, Young Thug, Bad Bunny and a ton more. The beginning of the journey with [Peterson] introduced me to a ton more drummers out of state that were just as genuine and passionate which kept growing into meeting great people and phenomenal performers.
LA: What future plans or goals do you have for Destroy A Drum, both in terms of expanding the brand’s reach and continuing to support local musicians?
AS: We are currently in our seventh year of being in business and there is so much more still to accomplish and release. The future of Destroy A Drum has been planned from the beginning with a 10+ year business plan with apparel collections that go far beyond drums. The plans include a muffle utility product we are about to release that is unlike anything the drum industry has seen. This will solidify us as a utility brand rather than just apparel and will be the biggest move we have ever made.
There are plans to have a Destroy Scholarship one day for local musicians so they can pursue their true passion and have the resources available to achieve success. I believe local musicians should also have benefits to improve their mental, physical and spiritual health while pursuing their passion. If I didn’t have the support of my family, friends and spiritual strength in the beginning, I wouldn’t be here today. The goal for the company has always been that when you see or hear the word “Destroy” you are constantly reminded to work harder, manifest your dreams and be the best person you can be in every aspect of your life. This means Destroying all of the negativity that is holding you back from achieving your aspirations, consistently improving your personal goals and never stopping being authentically you.