Q&A: MONSTA’s Rufio Talks Skrillex, OWSLA and ‘Messiah’


Next week will see the release of OWSLA recruit MONSTA’s latest single ‘Messiah’, which has already sprouted remixes by Feed Me and Dirty South. In anticipation of the track’s drop on May 6 via OWSLA/Polydor/Interscope, VIBE sat down with member Rufio to talk about the group’s unique sound, the ‘Messiah’ music video, and future free tracks.

VIBE: If you could compare your song to a cocktail, what would it be and why?
Rufio: I’d say an Absinthe cocktail, as we want the experience to be other worldy.

How did you guys come together to become MONSTA?
Rocky and I (Rufio) met at Jazz College and after a few years of touring started producing. Early on we got played some demos of a singer and were completely blown away. We had no clue where they came from or how old the singer was…if they were even alive! Then we found out it was Skaar, and after much searching we managed to get him down to the studio. From the moment we first heard him sing on the mike we knew that we had to work together.

Where did the group name MONSTA derive from?
We knew we had to choose a name for our band and were a bit apprehensive as it can be daunting, so one day we sat down to do it. Someone said “How about MONSTA?” and we all agreed. It took less than 30 seconds, but the more we think about it the more it really seems to encapsulate what we like to write about and the way we see things for us visually.

How come in all of your press photos, Skaar is the only one whose face we see while Rocky and Rufio remain either out of focus or turned away?
Skaar is the voice and face of MONSTA. Rocky and I don’t need to be seen in detail.

What was it like to be signed onto Skrillex’s label, OWSLA?
It was absolutely incredible. We were huge fans of both Skrillex and all the artists that were signed to OWSLA, so for us it was (and still is) a huge honor. The support Skrillex and OWSLA have given us has been beyond explanation and we are eternally grateful to everyone for everything they have done and continue to do for us!!

What are some of greatest lessons you have learned from either Skrillex or your OWSLA label mates?
The whole belief in outdoing yourself and pushing every boundary is something at the heart of all the artists there, and that all comes down from the top – Skrillex. The other thing that is amazingly inspiring is how humble everyone is and how very supportive everyone is of each other. Those are qualities that are lost way too much in a lot of other areas of the music world.

Tell us about your new music video for ‘Messiah’. Who came up with the film’s image content/theme?
We have always been inspired by Soul, Gospel and Spiritual music. When we wrote the track it was around a gospel piano riff and the lyrics alluded to a similar theme, so we always envisioned the video remaining true to this somehow. We first started to work with ALABAMA (the directors) and they suggested going to the South of U.S. We were very excited, as it felt exactly right for the music. We love that, like the track, the video hints at spiritual and profound forces at work within very ordinary situations.

What are MONSTA’s plans for the rest of 2013? Any more new music or festival appearances to look forward to?
We will be doing as much as we physically can this year. “Messiah” is out in May, and in between and after that we will be doing tons of shows and festivals all around the U.K., Europe and the U.S. We will also be giving out loads of our music for free as we have so much stuff we just want to get out there while at the same time we are working towards an album for the near future, as we want to have a collection of songs that really defines where we are right now musically.