Dubstep producer and DJ Asaf "Borgore" Borger is scheduled to perform Friday, May 2, at the Pressroom in Phoenix. This Israeli-native is known for his brash and brutal style of dubstep, which he named "gorestep."
Borgore is one of the pioneers of modern dubstep in America. His 2010 breakout hit, "Nympho," was a vulgar, asses-out anthem for freaks everywhere. He's since been known for his collaboration with Miley Cyrus on "Decisions," friend Carnage on "Incredible," as well as Waka Flocka Flame on "Wild Out."
Like his music, Borgore says what he thinks and tells it like it is. He isn't too concerned with political correctness or caring what you think about him. Up on the Sun spoke with Borgore on the phone last week about life, being in a metal band, and what it was like collaborating with the most controversial woman in pop music.
A lot of people don't know that you actually went to a renowned music school. Would you say you got your start in music with more classical styles?
Classical, but mainly jazz and contemporary music.
Then you went into being in a metal/deathcore band. When did you start getting interested in that?
I was always interested in everything. Even as a child I was interested in System of a Down and No Doubt. I was always very . . . weird.
So how did you go about forming that band?
The death metal band?
All of my good buddies were like, "We really want to do a band that plays covers of Lamb of God, and we don't have a drummer." I wasn't a drummer, but I was like, "Fuck it. I'll be a drummer for you guys." So I just practiced 12 to 16 hours a day for a month or two, and I was able to play the shit.
What is the deathcore scene like in Israel? Is it pretty big there?
Actually, it's pretty huge. It's still happening. It's more happening there than over here, really, but I'm not really hanging out in the metal scene here.
You don't go to shows or anything like that anymore? You're just over it?
It's not that I'm over it. I'm just not really up-to-date. I don't know what's happening anymore. I used to be really into it. Every new band that came out, I was listening to demos of bands that are really huge right now back when they were just fucking recording their shit in a garage. Now I'm just not up-to-date I guess.
I heard that you got hooked on dubstep when you heard a Skream and Benga track at a club. Did you get any shame from your metal friends for crossing over?
All of us moved into dubstep together. My friends and I were all very alike. We would play metal, then go to a full moon party in the fucking desert for an after-hours show. It was very open-minded for everything.
And you were still living in Israel when you got into dubstep, right?
Yeah, I left Israel like a year and a half ago.
How did you get from producing in Israel to booking gigs in America?
I made songs that no one dares to make, I guess. I was the only one who made them, and there was a market for it.
Did you rely on social media? Or meet other DJs?
It was 100 percent MySpace. MySpace really helped me get to where I am.
What was your first impression of American dubstep?
I hated American dubstep. Then all of a sudden Sonny [Moore, of Skrillex] popped up, and after him: Kill the Noise, Dillon -- then all of a suddenly, there were a lot of great producers coming out of nowhere. But in the beginning, it was rubbish.
Your music is explicit and some of your videos have sexual content warnings on YouTube. You have a #bootysforborgore where girls send you pictures on Twitter. What does your mom think of Borgorestrong>?
She's actually cool with it. She doesn't care.
Are you guys close? Do you share your music with your family a lot?
Yeah, my parents are my best friends.
Are they musical?
They don't know shit about music to save their life. They don't know anything. My sister is doing music right now, too.
What does your sister do?
It's hard to describe, but her first album will be out soon. It's really good. She had the same problem I had in the beginning, which is struggling with English. I learned English when I was 21, maybe. My first songs were kind of -- it's difficult. But she's getting really good. I did like her album. There are like four or five songs that you say, "That's the single." When you have five songs on the album that could be the single, you're in a good position.
Back when you collaborated with Miley Cyrus on "Decisions," how did that work itself out?
I was in the right place at the right time.
Did you meet an agent or meet her?
She was under the same umbrella of management as I am. She left since, but back then, she was part of our management, so I just approached her through a manager. She said she really likes my music and was down. She's a really nice chick. She's a really talented singer. I've met a bunch of people who are, you know, "celebrity singers," and they are fucking horrible [laughs]. You need to work hard to make them sound like they sound. But she actually sounds amazing live.
Was she fun to work with?
She's really fun to work with. She's a good chick.
Your music has shifted a bit from being more hardcore dubstep to more trap and even house styles. What changes with you to make your music interests switch from one kind of music to the next?
I'm staying contemporary. You've got to think out of the box a lot of the time. You've got to stay true to the core forever. These people want to listen to house, these people want to listen to something else. Make house, just make it Borgore. If polka is going to be the next trend, I'll make polka, but it will still sound like Borgore. I think taking this year to study music has given me the tools to kind of just stay with everything.
Do you see yourself continuing to explore genres as a producer and an artist? Maybe not even dance music related ones?
I'm just saying, bring it. Whatever the future brings, I'll cope with it. But my album has everything. I'm working on an album -- I'm about to finish it actually. It's going to be out in June. It's 12 to 13 songs, and they are all over the place -- dubstep, house, twerk, whatever.
Do you have any collaboration people can look forward to with that?
It's a very Borgore album. Every song is me, it's kind of me in 2009 but in 2014. There's a couple interesting things, though. You'll have to wait for the album.
I have someone legendary opening the album. But you'll have to wait for the album for it.
So you have a legendary collaboration?
He's not a singer, just a legend. He's opening the album for me. I'm super-excited about it. For me, being able to work with this dude was . . . yeah.
What's the name of the album?
New Gore Order.
How do you juggle producing and touring? Do you do both at the same time or do you need to separate them?
I write better in a hotel room than at home.
Why is that?
Because there's no distractions. You're stuck in the fucking bumhole of this country or in that country. The Internet sucks, all of your friends are in a different time zone [starts laughing]. There's nothing to do around the hotel. So you end up just sitting in the fucking hotel doing work.
At home in L.A. there's always something. People calling, you go to lunch, you go to dinner, you go do this, you go do that.
So circling back to when we were talking about switching genres. Carnage is a DJ who kind of did the same thing, and you guys are pretty good friends. Do you want to talk about how that friendship formed?
I worked with Dev on one of my songs "Kiss My Lips," and then on another song. She was under management. She's left them since, with Indie Pop, and they had just picked-up a friend of hers, Carnage.
She sent me a bunch of shit, and I was like "Fuck, dude, this is sick." So, they asked if he could tour with me. I put him on a bus and since then, it's a bromance.
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