Scott Sugiuchi

Published on June 3rd, 2020

Scott Sugiuchi

“Stay home, listen to records, make something cool,” says Scott Sugiuchi. Now, that’s the kind of canned line you expect to hear from some New Age guru in flowing robes. But if it comes from Sugiuchi, it’s sage advice from the highest practitioner of the mantra.

Without falling into the trappings of trying to describe a modern Renaissance man, the best way to explain Sugiuchi is by looking into his college years. Imagine the musical and artistic landscape of Central Florida, Orlando specifically, when he lent his bass in 1993 to ‘60s garage punkers The Hate Bombs.

The entire state’s underground music scene was beginning to take shape and throw off sparks. Like South Florida’s hodgepodge of various styles, Tampa’s metal and Gainesville’s ska/punk were turning heads at the national level. By their own admission, The Hate Bombs were going to record one slab of wax and call it quits but the momentum they gained from their debut single, ”Peckinpah Man,” propelled them into a whirlwind of touring and a decently sized recorded catalogue. When they called it quits after their ’99 release, “Hunt You Down,” it was time for new things.

“I was a lifelong drawer/class artist in school, so I made the decision to go into ‘graphic design’ because it was an actual career,” Sugiuchi tells PureHoney. “Although I think my love for art goes back to comic books and their lettering, printing and layouts. Posters were a natural progression for me since I started doing fliers for my friends’ bands and my own bands”

Sugiuchi cites noted rock-music historian Paul Grushkin’sThe Art of Rock” book as a huge influence in his work, as well as the comics-laced language of punk and hardcore flier artists. “It was more aggressive and smart-assed; this appealed to my juvenile sensibilities,” he said.

Since 2001 he’s resided in Baltimore and continues to play bass in bands like The Hall Monitors, Candy Smokes, The Beginner’s Mynd and The Stents. He founded the boutique record label Hidden Volume Records in 2014 and has released work by artists like Satan’s Pilgrims, the Kurt Baker Combo and the DTs, among others.

In music and art, there’s a discernible universe that populates Sugiuchi’s work. So, coming back to the Renaissance and looking at it as a wheel of influences: The space age, ‘60s bachelor pad cool, tiki culture, Hanna-Barbera cartoons and surf music are some of the rich devils in the details. It’s no surprise that he’s been a lifelong devotee of the iconic Estrus record label – fine purveyors of rock ’n’ roll in its many excessive forms.

“Literally all those things mentioned are some of my fave things and Estrus did what the punk poster artists did and made it punchier and more smart-alecky,” Sugiuchi says. “Still fun of course! They never took themselves seriously which is definitely something I can stand behind. Nothing makes me run away faster than self-righteous people with no sense of humor.”

Working Cover

A chance encounter with that label’s primary designer, Art Chantry, led to a friendship and most recently, a dream come true for Sugiuchi: He will be working with Chantry on a book detailing the label’s aesthetics. It’s scheduled for a 2021 release through Korero Press in the UK.

During the coronavirus outbreak, Sugiuchi found an opportunity to fight back at misinformation – or rather, misconceived presentations of valuable information regarding social distancing and hygiene initiatives. “I wanted to make a ‘Wash Your Hands’ graphic for social media because I was tired of the boring infographics I was seeing, so I decided to make mine with monster hands,” he says. “It was pretty easy to adapt my style to a variety of messages.”

While he hopes people take his message to heart, his Covid-19 PSA posters have already turned heads and received praise for their clean, whimsical and humorous-but-serious approach. Like most folks tied to event-driven work, he’s not letting the situation keep him down.

“I’m super lucky to already work from home and can determine my own direction,” he says. “With the absence of gig-related work I’ve been channeling my energies into new ideas and projects. I’m also lucky to have clients who are just as relentless in finding new ways to get their brands, music and messages out. Like anything, don’t wait for shit to happen. Make it happen.”

Hidden Volume Records   Estrus: Shovelin’ the Shit Since ’87  | instagram.com/ssugiuchi/

~ Abel Folgar

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