The Bloody Beetroots
ARTIST — electronic, punk
The Bloody Beetroots is Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, the Italian producer born 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 (see other cultural phenomena from Underground Resistance to “V is for Vendetta”) 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 production epicenter: Bloody Beetroots DJ set where the decks-manning Rifo is joined by FX man Tommy Tea; Bloody Beetroots Deathcrew 77, 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 embodiment, Church of Noise, which is nothing short of a “cultural-musical movement,” as Rifo calls it, with Dennis Lyxzen of Swedish hardcore punk-pioneers Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiracy.
Bloody Beetroots has always been an anomaly amidst the cocooned trends and coddled pedigrees of dance music. After fits and starts in Italian garage-punk bands, Rifo launched Bloody Beetroots in 2007. Over the next three years, he would win the support of electro house heavyweights Etienne de Crecy and Alex Gopher in Europe, and Dim Mak’s Steve Aoki stateside, with each production more elaborate and ambitious than the last.
From the start, Bloody Beetroots was capable of synergizing sonics and sensibilities from The Damned to Debussy, the anthemic wistfulness of new wave and primal screams of hardcore punk, into remarkably actualized efforts that became platforms for larger socio-political historiography and cultural histrionics: the homage to Italian Futurism of “Rombo,” the cinematic soundtrack to Nazi resistance (and you thought it was just dance music) that is “Domino”–the striking black and white video for which features Rifo using only a book as weapon, and the kick drum pattern, in an irony too rich to ignore, recalling New Order’s “Blue Monday.” Then there’s the sci-fi fantasy anarchism of writer Michael Moorcock in “Cornelius” and the Trekkie techie nerd joy of smearing sounds that is simply, cerebellum-meltingly “Warp.” Clearly on Rifo’s watch, anything’s not only possible–but from the sheer vastness of sounds and media that have materialized–probable as well. From one-man studio production to full band live show with Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77, dance tracks to films, photography, fashion and socio-political activism are all encompassed.
“Electronic dance music is the bridge that spans my musical influences,” explains Rifo. “My intention was to use the energy of punk to give it a devastating new form–one that embraces different universes of sound, the ordered chaos that I live every day, the unique shape that every thought should have.” This “ordered chaos” has resulted in much more than music on many levels. This isn’t dance music as hedonistic escape, he says, this is shared adrenaline as catalyst and call to action.