The Italian producer Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo aka THE BLOODY BEETROOTS was born in the same year as punk rock, a fact emphatically made clear by the “1977” tattooed across his chest. In fact, that tattoo is about the most identifying public feature of Rifo, whose penchant for wearing masks (sure he is not the only one who does this) seems to be a declaration of ominous anonymity that defers the spotlight to his long list of productions, projects, films, art, manifestoes and musical incarnations emanating from his BLOODY BEETROOTS. His “electro-punk” band with drummer Battle and Tea capable of turning a gig for thousands of fans into a political rally/empowerment seminar, and in his forthcoming album, Church of Noise, which is nothing short of a “cultural-musical movement,” as Rifo calls it, with Dennis Lyxzen of Swedish hardcore punk-legends REFUSED and THE (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY.
NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION sat down with Rifo to talk about THE BLOODY BEETROOTS, Paul McCartney, hard sounds and what he likes when he doesn’t wear his mask.
First of it, we have to start with the obvious question arising – you got Paul McCarntey on your new single. How the hell did this happen?
So here’s the story, a year ago i was producing with Youth from KILLING JOKE and he said to me “Bob, who would like to collaborate with for your new album?” and i said “working with Paul McCartney would be wonderful” and he replied, “i will send you the parts of a song by THE FIREMAN and see what you can do”.
Anyone who knows me well, also knows my ethos is “destroy to create” and that’s exactly what I did, i completely rewrote the harmony, changed the melody of Paul’s lyrics with Melodyne.
Youth liked it and Paul loved it, so I decided to re-record and re-play all the instruments (grand piano, guitars, bass and drums) at Rak Studios in London. I sent the new version back to Paul and it was Paul who then decided to re-sing the song and invited me into his studio.
We can only assume how much Macca is into modern day dance music? Is he actually? How familiar was he with your sound?
Paul has taught me that being versatile and experimental should be key to everybody’s life.
This clearly marks a highlight on your career. A career that really feels like a fast rollercoaster ride with not much stops in-between. Would you agree on this picture?
There is no denying this is a huge milestone in my career. Working with one of the most iconic figures of this time is more than a blessing. I am truly fortunate.
THE BLOODY BEETROOTS‘ hard sound, the combination of noise and techno – it’s basically the definition of “hard electronic dance music these days”. What’s your fascination with the sound? Do you ever get tired of doing it?
I don’t have a sound or a genre, I create music that doesn’t fit any genre.
Ever since DAFT PUNK released their new album and talked about the uncreativity and un-human factor of modern day dance music, especially in the EDM scene, there seems to be a discussion about realness going on. What’s your opinion on that?
I have never felt any anxiety of expectation with my music but i do feel a sense of disappointment with how the electronic scene has been taken advantage of by the music industry. My efforts now are to restore the dignity and the true form of the genre, so we dont lose sight of why we all do this.
You’re obviously not just influenced by electronic house music. What were the bands that inspired you when you started making music?
My influences come from a very wide palette, i love music and i never even think to classify it. Classical, contemporary, electronic and punk are all part of my musical spectrum. I’ve been inspired from everything from The Clash, Massive Attack to Bach. There are no boundaries..
This year you opened up the social media platform “The Church Of Noise” – a place where “dance music meets the rebellion”. Tell us a bit about the concept?
Do you think dance music as the revolutionary power like – let’s say – punk music had in the past?
It’s an evolving framework where activists can share and content with each other in complete autonomy. Its an open door into THE BLOODY BEETROOTS universe, i have actually just worked with the team who created Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters platform to relaunch it here: therealchurchofnoise.com
Every masked electronic artist got his own story behind their masks. What’s yours?
The relationship between me and my mask is all about iconography. My intention was to make my fans use their imagination and think and interpret the process of its creation. Darkness is comfortable with me, as is mysteriousness.
When you’re taking off the mask and take a break from raving crowds all over the world as BLOODY BEETROOTS – what kind of music do you listen to when you want to relax a bit?
I do love a bit of Bach while cooking in the kitchen.