Words: Miljan Milekić
The year is 2003 or 2004, and I’m just a punk rock kid in his early teenage years, stuck in the depths of Eastern Europe. Far from everything that was going on, every few days we would gather around at THAT one friend who had internet access, trying to (illegally) download new skate / BMX video, or find new music. In pauses of playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, or Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX. One of those bands, that got us through those years was Rufio, with their insane guitars, and tons of melody. Although, at the time, for some reason, we thought they’re from Brazil. Fast forward to fifteen years later, it’s 2019, I discovered that Rufio frontman, Scott Sellers has released four amazing albums in just a year. Not only he wrote all the songs, but he also played all the instruments, recorded, mixed, and mastered them all by himself. So, yeah, there was only one right thing to do – blast his music at full volume, and reach out for an interview.
*click the photo to stream/purchase new album ‘Being Strange’*
Your new album ‘Being Strange’ is out for more than a month now. How do you see it from this time distance, and have you had any feedback so far?
Scott: The feedback has been pretty good! Everyone I talk with online has been super cool through this entire last year of writing shit. I don’t see it a certain way. To me, It’s just another batch of songs that I wrote when I was bored.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is your fourth record in less than two years. Where do you find the time, energy, and motivation for so much music in such a short time?
Scott: Yep! This is my fourth record since last June. So it’s been almost a year. Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve written songs by myself, without anyone else’s input. About a year ago, I started writing, and it just felt really good to not care how it turns out; only playing because I enjoy it. There’s not much more to it than that. (laughs) For my job, I do the same thing – write, record, and play for other people’s bands/music. So after work, I just pick up a guitar and write more. Basically, I’m the same as every other asshole who sits in front of the computer all day. (laughs)
You do pretty much everything by yourself – from songwriting to playing all the instruments and singing, to producing and mastering. How do you manage to stay so productive, and not sacrifice the quality of music in any way?
Scott: I think, with the amount of cool tools and plugins these days it makes it a lot easier. I mix while I record. It’s not the “proper” way to mix/record, but I just don’t really care. I love making music, so it doesn’t feel time-consuming. And again – I stopped caring too much about if things are good or bad. I’m just putting notes together and moving on. (laughs)
Doing things yourself is giving you all the creative freedom. How important is it for you, to have everything under control? Do you think that this approach can also have some creative limitations, especially when it comes to instruments or processes that aren’t your primary focus as a musician?
Scott: I think 100% it limits what CAN happen. I do love writing with people because of exactly that, but right now I am loving writing alone. It’s nice to finally be selfish and have everything how I want it to be. There were always parts on the Rufio records where I would think “ugh, I wish we did this” or “I hate this part,” “I wish that drum fill was different,” “I don’t like that ONE note…” (laughs) Every little detail is allll mine with these new songs. So, yeah I’m digging it.
Do you have any plans of playing these songs live, or you see it more as a studio project? Do you think we can see you on the road in the near future?
Scott: Right now I have no plans for touring. I might do a couple of acoustic-ish shows just for fun eventually, but right now I’m just having fun with it and writing because I enjoy making music. I plan on making a ton of videos for the next batch of songs. I thought about live streaming the entire process, but I think I’m too much of a pussy for that.
So, what is the next step for you, what can we expect from you in the future?
Scott: I hope there are no expectations because I have none for myself. I don’t have a reason for playing anymore. This isn’t a business for me – it’s just something I enjoy.
So far in your career, you were involved in so many different projects and played with many different musicians. What would you single out as some of the things you’re the proudest of, and what do you see as the thing you did, that you never thought you’d do?
Scott: Rufio, alone. I never thought I would be able to tour the world. I never thought I would play with bands that I still look up to today. We never got “big,” but we had a fucking blast. Before Rufio, I’ve never been on an airplane. I was the shyest dude ever. Like, not even exaggerating that. I never thought we would sell out venues that I always dreamed of just playing as an opener. We started Rufio when I was a senior in high school, then toured right away, so I did most of my “growing up” on tour. I’m super proud of everything we’ve done, and I still love the hell out of those dudes.
As someone who was involved in the punk rock and pop punk scene for so many years, how do you see the scene today compared to ten or fifteen years ago? How do you see the pop punk revival in recent years, and do you have any new bands that caught your eye?
Scott: The scene is…different. I honestly couldn’t even tell you how today’s scene is, because it seems pretty non-existent to me, aside from a few bands that come through every once in a while. The main difference, to me, is that music used to be fun. You went to shows to get away from the daily bullshit. To not care about your clothes, or your hair, or your money, or anything really. Everyone loved everyone for a few hours. Things don’t seem to be that way anymore, huh? I love some of the newer punk bands lately. Hit the Switch is rad. The Stifled is rad. The Human Project is rad. I didn’t’ really get into the “pop punk revival.” Was there even one?
For me, and I’m sure for many others, punk rock was associated with skateboarding. I know Rufio was popular among skaters and that your music was used in some videos, but do you look at that connection? Were you associated with the skateboarding scene, and do you think the skate scene helped to spread your music around? Are you still involved in it in any way?
Scott: Skateboarding was always a big part of my and Clark‘s life. We skated literally every day for years. I actually ate shit off this ledge and smashed my spleen into three pieces – I had to get it removed. Clark and our drummer Mike were still in high school when we recorded our first demo, so I think that’s where most of the buzz came from. We played a few skate demos and were always really into it, but I wouldn’t say we had a huge connection with the skating world with music. We were more about the fellow local bands supporting and helping each other out.
As a punk rock kid who grew up in the early and mid-2000s, Rufio was an important part of my adolescent years. However, growing up in South-Eastern Europe, I was never even close to seeing you live. Do you think if it’s possible to see Rufio on stage again somewhere in the future, at least for some occasional shows, or that’s definitely a closed book for you?
Scott: That’s a closed book! Like I said before, I’m super proud of what we did with Rufio – and because of that, I think it MUST be over. We don’t have the same care for the band/music that we used to. I don’t want to play live shows if I/we don’t care. So, there is a 0% chance of Rufio playing live again. Well, maybe without me. <3