Few artists can stake claim to working with Sir Paul McCartney, Steve Aoki, Tommy Lee, Refused, and Theophilus London. In turn, Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo — the leader of the Bloody Beetroots — is in rare company as a musician, DJ, and producer. Rifo and the Beetroots have toured successfully in several incarnations, including the Death Crew 77 band with Dennis Lyxzen, a DJ duo with Tommy Tea, a live crew with drummer Edward Crinch, and a solo setup.
The Bloody Beetroots’ first experienced international success with the 2008 EP Cornelius, which was released in the States by Dim Mak.
Romborama, released in 2009, charted around the world, as did 2013’s Ultra Records-released Hide. Along the way, collaborations with the Cool Kids and the aforementioned McCartney and Aoki have charted, while official remixes have been done for Metallica, Robyn, the Killers, Britney Spears, and Depeche Mode.
Prior to the announcement of the upcoming “My Name Is Thunder” tour — which launches October 27 at the Music Box in San Diego and runs through November 9 at Warsaw in Brooklyn — I had the opportunity to conduct Q&A with Sir Bob himself. His latest single is a collaboration with Australian rockers Jet (and the namesake of the tour), “My Name Is Thunder,” as premiered via Loudwire. The Beetroots recently signed to Last Gang Records with a new studio album due out later in this year. In the meantime, more on Sir Bob and crew can be found at www.thebloodybeetrootsofficial.com.
— The Bloody Beetroots (@BloodyBeetroots) July 19, 2017
Your latest single includes the band Jet. How did you first encounter the band?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: It was a crazy story. I met Nic Cester in Como after discovering that he lived in Italy. I was completely convinced that he was the right singer for that song. We ate pizza, drank wine, and developed “My Name Is Thunder” right away after hearing the draft I wrote! A week later, we were in Veneto, Italy, recording vocals! After that, I flew to Los Angeles to get to know Chris, and we recorded drums and synthesizers. In turn, Chris [Cester] flew to Melbourne to record bass and guitars with the whole band. Then I found out that the Cester family produces the rosé wine 30 minutes from where I live in Italy. The whole process lasted eight months…
Are you a big rock fan? Did you play in any bands before becoming a DJ or EDM artist?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: I’m a big rock fan, and I used to play in a couple of garage punk bands before the Bloody Beetroots. I hate the term EDM, by the way. It should be removed from the English vocabulary.
At what point did music become a career for you and not just a hobby or a passion?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: Ten years ago — it all started with the Bloody Beetroots.
And at what point in your life did you become Sir Bob?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: I’ve always been Sir Bob. I think I was born exactly as you see me now.
How did you and Dennis Lyxzen first meet? Was that before you did a remix for Refused?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: We two met in Milan a long time ago, and I remember a dense conversation of thoughts and politics. A month after the project, Church of Noise became a reality, and we left for Coachella. All that happened after I remixed “New Noise.”
Another interesting collaborator of yours was with another sir, Sir Paul McCartney. How exactly did that happen?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: The idea came to me when I met Youth, a music collaborator and friend of Paul. I had the desire to experience something different and Paul gave me the chance to do it by manipulating some old sound material. We spent a day together recording his voice and harmonizing choirs at his studio, and it’s still one of my favorite sessions I’ve ever had.
Is there anything surprising about Paul McCartney? Or in-studio, is he similar to how he seems on television?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: Paul’s kindness has no boundaries. He is a true gentleman full of passion for music and for humanity, but I believe that’s fairly transparent and obvious.
In recent years, you have done fewer remixes. Is that something you miss doing?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: I would like to remix Prodigy and dig deep into their production skills! I love the old-school rave sounds.
Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: “The Source” and “My Name Is Thunder.”
Is there a follow-up to Hide in the works?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: Yes, there’s a new album coming very soon.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: I love nature, so I spend my time disappearing in the mountains or exploring the Venetian Lagoon with my dad.
What is the best Italian restaurant you have ever experienced outside of Italy?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: I love Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles.
Finally, any last words for the kids?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: It’s hard to get to the goal but never look for shortcuts.
[Featured Image by Alexandra Greenberg]