Destroy It Up is a music project fronted by Joe Simek, a songwriter and yoga teacher based near Philadelphia in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. With the release of Shiva Shakti, Simek continues mashing yogic philosophy with rock ‘n’ roll.
This two-song concept EP is inspired by the interplay of the great god and goddess of the Hindu religions. Both songs sounds as if they might be acoustic numbers, only to build into the type of full band arrangements that have become the staple of Destroy It Up’s singer-songwriter meets indie-rock sound.
The music of “Shiva (He Just Danced)” matches the theme of the lyrics, which is an exploration of the destructive aspect of Shiva. The anthemic “Shakti (She Will Rise)” takes the opposite tract, as Simek references the movement of Kundalini energy, an important yogic practice.
Simek is no stranger to incorporating the philosophy of yoga into his songs. He did so more casually in the early Destroy It Up EPs, and then more formally in the band’s last release, Sutra, which was an entire album inspired by Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, an ancient yogic text.
While the lyrical concepts come from the yogic and buddhist lineage that Simek teaches and practices, the music and melodies of Destroy It Up follow a different lineage: that of Bob Dylan, Jeff Tweedy, Conor Oberst and the like.
To help explain the yoga teachings that inspired his songs, Simek also hosts a podcast called Rock ’N’ Roll Sutra. For each episode, he explains the yogic concepts that inspired him, plays early demos of his songs, and deconstructs his lyrics. It’s a resource for those who want to dive deeper into the ideas behind the music.
Destroy It Up has featured a number of musicians over the years, both in the studio and in live settings, including John O’Reilly Jr (El VY, Jim Adkins), Kurt Johnson, (The Dying Time), Joe Montone (Heat Thunder) and Brad Baker, (The Administration/The Borough).