Q&A: Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo Breaks Down ‘Hide’ LP From Theophilus To Tommy Lee


Let’s be clear, there’s only one Beet in the Bloody Beetroots. It’s Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo, the Italian producer born the same year as punk rock, as evidenced by the “1977” tattoo he’s got inked across his chest. And still, electronic dance music has always been the link to his sonic inspiration.

He’s got his hand in many unique musical projects, including his Church of Noise, Rifo’s longtime collaboration with Sweden’s Dennis Lyxzén (Refused/The (International) Noise Conspiracy). According to its manifesto: “Church of Noise is a congregation of lovers, fighters, sinners, artists, misfits, outcasts, losers and weirdos. In other words, normal, irrational, angry, happy, fucked-up people.”

Last month the Bloody Beetroots released the 15-track LP, Hide, to mass acclaim. The collaborators on the album read like a rap sheet of high-grade talent. Even Sir Paul McCartney joined the LP for the track “Out Of Sight,” and its accompanying video, which is dance fever to the highest degree. In the video, EDManiacs and Beatlemania collide for a unique musical score that combines stadium rock riffs with heavy bass beats and the soft sounds of an accompanying children’s choir, all played against a stunning visual backdrop of Sir Bob tickling a piano, which has been set on fire. He doesn’t seem to mind, as a phantom projection of McCartney sings in the background. Read on to hear Rifo’s thoughts on the rest of his stalwart collaborators, not following the money as well as his own “chaos and confusion.”

VIBE: You have everyone on this album from Sir Paul McCartney to Theophilus London to Bart BMore to Tommy Lee… How did you decide who to collab with?
Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo: I wrote a list of all the people I would love to work with, some were already friends like Tommy Lee or Youth, and others were friends of friends like Sir Paul McCartney – it was just about asking the question.

How did you link up with Sir Paul?
I was in the studio with Youth and he basically helped make it happen, he asked me who I would like to collaborate with on my new album and I told him Sir Paul McCartney – he actually had an old song from Paul, one thing led to another and “Out Of Sight” was created not long after.

What do you think Theophilus London means to the hip-hop scene of today?
I think he is edgy, cool and forward thinking. It was a pleasure to have him be a part of The Bloody Beetroots project.

What’s it like in the studio with Tommy Lee?
Tommy is great. He is like family to me. He is such a crazy guy it’s awesome to work with him.

How did you even start out on this album? Explain the process.
I always write music by starting with the titles. A good title can tell a story, the rest just naturally follows.

Tell us about The Real Church of Noise.
The Church of Noise is a social community for people who believe in what The Bloody Beetroots is about. It’s also a safe haven for people who want to share their creativity in an uninhibited way, free from any negativity. I want to bring people together through music, art and culture.

Explain why you perform in the black venom masks.
The mask is about iconography, nothing else. When you see the mask you know its The Bloody Beetroots. It also means that the fans are focusing on the music and not the person behind the mask. The music takes center stage.

Can you explain your sound at this exact moment is three words?
Chaos and confusion.

Compare it to say three years ago?
One word… Evolution.

What rappers do you like? Why?
Theophilus London! He’s just himself!

What was the best advice you ever got and from who?
Follow the music.

The worst?
Follow the money.

If you had one night left on earth how would you spend it?
Ideally with Marion Cotillard.