The Bloody Beetroots
“The Bloody Beetroots as a project has undergone significant changes over time which has led it to being greatly hated and greatly loved.” These are the words of Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, the mastermind behind The Bloody Beetroots. As prominent and acclaimed as The Bloody Beetroots name has grown to become the people behind it have remained mysterious in the dance community. Founded by Italian producer Rifo, the Beetroots are always sure to sport their trademark black venom masks in public.
"The idea is much older than you might think,” Rifo says of the band’s image and mythology, with an air of seriousness. “It comes from the preciousness of the Italian commedia dell'arte, although the current masks remind me more of Spiderman or Venom its use is a direct theatrical reference.” The idea of Rifo bringing a taste of 16th century Italian theatrics to the music game may be an odd concept but it’s not as wanky as it sounds. Rifo and The Bloody Beetroots are never afraid to bring the noise. Take that concept, sprinkle in some classical music, old school electro and 1970s punk and it all adds up to make the intriguing package that is The Bloody Beetroots. Like a musical scientist with a flair for marketing Rifo puts great care into everything with the Bloody Beetroots moniker attached to it, from on-stage presentation to recorded work. “The visual and music go hand-in-hand and they constantly evolve and are directly proportional with each other.” As Rifo works on the next Bloody Beetroots studio album, he also reveals that the band will be part of the Big Day Out lineup coming up in January. This is exciting news for fans of musical mayhem and creativity. The enthusiasm his Aussie fans will surely have can only be matched by Rifo’s enthusiasm. “I have been in Australia a lot in the last five years. I love the Australian summer,” Rifo enthuses. Since he last visited our shores for a solo DJ set at Stereosonic 2011 Rifo and the Beetroots have released the epic Romborama and fine-tuned their fusion of dance, rock and pop. “I'm looking forward to coming back and presenting the new live show,” the Beetroots mastermind says excitedly.
During his past visits Rifo has been impressed with Aussie fans and made some interesting observations. “Australia has a young dance music crowd, which often means they are open to change and more intelligent and versatile about their music.” These qualities could just as easily describe The Bloody Beetroots and their unique concoctions. Having been around the world and back again in the past few years Rifo and the Beetroots have almost had no choice but to evolve. “Travelling gives you the opportunity to expand your horizons by making your mind more versatile and focused.” This worldly approach extends throughout the Bloody Beetroots empire, from Rifo’s solo DJ sets to BB Death Crew 77, the band comprised of Rifo and partners-in-crime Tommy Tea and Battle. “It’s me playing lots of instruments, Battle playing drums, Tommy playing swooshes on Kaoss Pads and everything is controlled by Pro Tools linked with the Venue profile system.” When it comes to the recording process in the studio it is an extension of Rifo’s life and his tireless enthusiasm. “The studio and production allows me to tell the stories of my life. I live, I compose, I produce, I release.” Before you think Rifo is the musical equivalent of Anthony Robbins you simply need to listen to one of his blistering productions, such as 2nd Streets Have No Name or Anacletus. While the genesis of The Bloody Beetroots began with Rifo he enjoys the collaborative process. “I love producing alone but this [new] album has a lot of collaborations on it so it will be a new experience. I am open for socialising,” he says with a chuckle.
Whether live or in studio the energy of The Bloody Beetroots is always intense but varies depending on the environment. “It's totally different, I always try to create a synergy between me and the audience. Creating a vibe by getting and reading the vibe back.” From music to imagery The Bloody Beetroots gives Rifo the chance to explore his creative instincts. “This whole project reflects my life, it's something very natural and relaxed; it probably comes from the art school I attended over the years.” The idea of having a musical project that covers different elements of art was more of a natural process than a conscious choice, according to Rifo. “It is my way of relating with everything. Everyone should expand their horizons and should be able to answer all the questions that life offers every day. My work and all the different projects I have are a vision for the person I am and what I want to be. I will never stop evolving.” While those are lofty expectations to place on music you can’t blame Rifo and his cohorts for exploring their ideas in a personal way. The Bloody Beetroots in addition to being a vehicle for Rifo to bang out epic tunes has also been a personal journey, one that began at an early age. “I started studying music seriously when I was nine years old, it has helped me to express concepts summarised in compositions. I realised quickly that music would never leave my life.” Lucky for us it hasn’t so far.
BY ANDREW ‘HAZARD’ HICKEY
THE BLOODY BEETROOTS will perform at the 2013 Big Day Out alongside Kaskade, Crystal Castles, Pretty Lights, Nicky Romero, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and heaps more, taking place Saturday January 26 at Flemington Racecourse.