In the middle of the tour, which will see him on January 31st at Magazzini Generali in Milan and on February 1st at the Locomotiv Club in Bologna, we had the chance to have a chat with The Bloody Beetroots, also known as Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, or simply Bob. Since 2006, Bob has revolutionized an entire music scene thanks to his style that perfectly blends punk and electronic, hip hop and classical, hard rock and new wave music.
With our chat, we tried to understand who is behind the famous mask, but we also talked about music, the current Italian scene, and future projects.
This is the first time we’ve talked about you on Collater.al. Tell us who is The Bloody Beetroots.
I’m Bob, Bob from The Bloody Beetroots, and I’ve been doing electronic music since the end of 2006, I’ve released three albums, a lot of EP, I’m still releasing stuff and I’ve played at all the festivals in the world: I’ve been at Coachella twice, Lulapaloosa I can’t even remember how many times, Primavera Sound, Sziget, Mad Cool, Fuji Rocks. I mean, I think I did everything I could do. That’s kind of the gist of it.
Tell us where the idea of performing with a mask comes from and what it’s inspired by.
Basically, being popular or famous with my face has never interested me and still doesn’t interest me, so I used the mask as a catalyst to attract attention, and it works, and then to protect my privacy. I take off the mask and live a very normal life and that’s what I love because I have this theory: fame produces alienation and when you’re alienated and you can’t live the social you can’t write songs anymore. If I am self-alienized I have finished working, I no longer have a language and my language belongs to the fibulae. I think this is the key that has led The Bloody Beetroots to be in the music business for 15 years.
The choice of covering the face seems to be more and more common, I remember among the many Myss Keta or even Liberato. How do you explain this phenomenon and in your opinion it is becoming a purely aesthetic choice?
I don’t know, in any case, by now, the mask is cleared through customs, it doesn’t make such a fuss anymore to wear the mask or hide. It’s an artistic choice, I think. Everyone has their own way of identifying with the mask.
It’s been 10 years since Warp. Has anything changed in the way you make music and your style since then? And, at the same time, are there aspects that have remained unchanged?
I think the lowest common denominator of The Bloody Beetroots is the punk soul, that’s what always remains is whether we do techno, house, or other things what you will always find is a very strong presence of punk in everything we do because it’s our attitude.
What has never changed is this attitude of writing, not having barriers in writing music, so The Bloody Beetroots belongs to all genres and nobody. If we take my last three years we compare them, nothing sounds the same as nothing but you find something that resembles but without understanding what it is and that is exactly the punk soul I was talking about before.
This hasn’t changed, just like the way The Bloody Beetroots evolves, always changing and being chameleonic, this also means making courageous choices and sometimes starting from scratch. This is something I love to do because I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself. For me creating new musical challenges, sound design, figuring out what to belong and how to belong, how to reconfigure myself is something I love to do and every three years or so I do it and this new era of The Bloody Beetroots is proving that. In 2019 we have become independent, we have increased our streaming on Spotify, we have increased our fanbase and with a new Bloody, formed by both old and new fans we have decided to play The Bloody Beetroots again in places where we had never played before and I have to admit that I am very impressed with the result.
How would you describe the current Italian Electro scene and how would you compare it to that of other countries?
I think Italy suffers a lot from fashions and therefore this precludes the creation of an underground base for new talent to grow. It seems that sometimes there are some isolated things, now the trap and techno go and there’s nothing in between. So it’s very difficult to talk to the general public because they don’t know what’s in between, but that’s where The Bloody Beetroots is. So it’s my job to try to educate the listeners of both sides to this medium, to this scene that exists all over the world, but not in Italy, unfortunately.
Heavy is your last EP. How was it born?
So, in 2019 we started asking ourselves “what are we doing this year?”, we do The Bloody Beetroots DJ set, we said to ourselves. Heavy was born from the need to present music to support the DJ set, it has only and exclusively that purpose there. I tried a little bit to expand the genres I wanted to touch so a little bit of electro, house and a little bit of techno and this Heavy came out.
In addition to that, we did releases with Zhu, this American artist, of techno pieces totally different from what we are used to doing and we also did a mix for Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes which was another experiment to touch the rock scene and see if there could be a sense.
So all experiments to fill this DJ set. This year we plan to release at least ten new tracks, so club tracks, we have an official remix of Green Day which is another experiment to see what happens if I turn Green Day. All these experiments represent what you’ll find coming to The Bloody Beetroots DJ set: a multitude of genres related to the punk spirit in a pretty unique way.
Next January 31 you will be in Milan, at Magazzini Generali and then on February 1 at the Locomotiv Club in Bologna. What to expect from these two dates?
Chaos, so much chaos. High volume, total madness, stage diving, mosh pit, people walking on top of other people. An anarchist playground where you celebrate nothing and make a mess of the madonna. It’s The Bloody Beetroots, you call The Bloody Beetroots to make a shitload of shit.
In addition to The Bloody Beetroots, I’m working on my photography project that will see the light on March 5th in Milan in an exhibition, where you will see the people who are part of The Bloody Beetroots project, the places we visited and the memories I bring. Then there will be my training and CrossFit activities that sometimes also involve my fanbase, then we have some activities in parallel with the motor world. Last year we did the Gymkhana GRiD with the guys from Hyperdrive who have a show on Netflix and we also released a bike last year so we’re going to ride in the Dolomites and Los Angeles. So a lot of activities, just like music a lot of chaos.