A Sit Down With DJ The Bloody Beetroots
Since the early days, The Bloody Beetroots have viciously evolved, like a demonic possession in the soul of EDM, collaborating with the likes of Steve Aoki and Congorock and injecting themselves into remixes that range from Groove Armada to Britney Spears along the way. Expanding on the duo format he had created with Tommy Tea, Rifo took the concept to new grounds and introduced The Death Crew 77, a full live band who also featured Denis Lyxzén of Refused as part of the monstrous collaboration.
"This time the show will feel much more organic and a lot more fun."
Tell us a little bit about each other?
We still havent been formally introduced so we dont talk to each other out of respect.
People seem to either love or hate The Bloody Beetroots. Why do you think what you do is so polarizing?
The [Beetroots] concept is pretty extreme. When you do something extreme, its pretty common. Its good to know [the naysayers] hate me for some reason. I want to know the reason. Im evolving the Bloody Beetroots because I love what I do. When you find something that works, you dont want to change it. I can be a DJ for the rest of my life, but I dont need money or a house or a car. If I have money, I prefer to put it on the evolution of my project. I want to show the people that theres a different way to see things. But Im not teaching, just showing.
You work closely with Steve Aoki over at Dim Mak. How did you hook up with the label?
Steve reached out to me two years ago on Myspace and we?re like brothers now. You toured the US together too right, how was that? Sold out!!
You are a cultured man. Can you please tell us your most favorite piece of music, artwork and literature, and a brief reason why for each?
Music: Wendy Carlos Switched-on Bach. Wendy aka Walter opened the doors of musical experimentation to me.
Artwork: Tanino Liberatore Ranx. He is the Michelangelo of the post-modern era, a friend and a true artist.
Literature: Cesare Pavese 'Verrà la morte e avrà i tuoi occhi' [Death will come and have your eyes]. Pavese is my most favourite poet of all time. I would like you to understand Italian because that poem, recited by Vittorio Gassman, is a masterpiece.
Do the lyrics come first or do the music and the beats come first, and then you add the lyrics to fit the sound?
The story comes first. Its always been that way. The more I live, the more Im able to tell a story. And I can always tell from the title. If I have a good title, I have a good story to tell. Then I can relate to the song where I go, OK, this is what I want to say and this is the title of the story, so can we translate the words into music? Thats pretty much my creative process. After I have the title, then I can deliver on all the rest with the music, which is the other side of the story.
You\ve called yourself a lover of Chopin. How does a love of classical music translate into the music you make?
A lot of The Beetroots\ work was inspired by classical music, not only Chopin, but Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Wagner If you listen to \The Furious\, from my last Beetroots album Hide there\s a very Wagner-ian aspect to the song. The Beetroots project itself brings all of the classical elements together. With SBCR it\s less evident, but still, my music skills are there, my harmonies are there. I\m just not going to do any Bach arpeggio with SBCR music at the moment because I feel it\s not as proper as with The Beetroots.
Do you think SBCR is the entry point into your scene where fans can better appreciate your Beetroots work after having first listened to SBCR?
I hope so, we have some new kids coming to SBCR shows who are curious and have no idea what The Bloody Beetroots is, or what I used to do with them. Lots of them have questions, but now I have the ability to show them what Beetroots is all about.
Although the Bloody Beetroots began playing out as a DJ duo and are now a multi-member live band, you continue to be the face (albeit masked) and voice of the group. Is that intentional?
I compose the music and I use Death Crew 77 as an arm of expression, so they play what I compose. I think my composition is really intimate I cant share the kind of process I have in my mind, [but] I can share the lyrics. I was limited when I DJd I had a good feeling, but as a musician I have to press myself. Thats why I built DC77. Im working on some new songs have Dennis Lyxzén from [seminal Swedish hardcore punk band] Refused. Im writing music, hes writing lyrics. He has something really cool to say.
Tell us about your new mask and the idea behind the new mask and cape? What does concealing your personal identity mean to you? Why do you prefer to keep your music separate from your personal persona?
First of all I want to say that Id hate to become or be famous. My private life is too precious to be ruined by that hunger and I know that being a celebrity can take away the freedom I have to be able to do the things I like the most. Music is my expressive medium, nothing more than that. The mask is just the way I protect myself.
What can we expect in the near future from both SBCR and the Beetroots in the near future?
Now that the two projects are well established, SBCR is going to continue its own journey to the collaborative music. It\s going to be my DJ aspect, but I am first and foremost a musician. The Beetroots are going to play as a live band because we have decided after many, many years to step out of the DJ scene and make the Beetroots a live band. What I\m going to do is compose music functional for the live aspect of the band.
The word energy is probably an understatement for what you do onstage, since you are a very physical performer. Wouldnt you agree?
Yes, I am a very physical performer, because thats how I want to translate the music. We have very big installations with big screens that show big images, but I want the performance of the music to be as human as possible. Thats how we want to communicate. We want the message to be clear and clean, and be accessed by the biggest amount of people.
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