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Borgore Shrugs Off Criticism, Focuses On The Beats

By Robert Martin in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 12, 2015 5:00PM

Photo courtesy Borgore

One of the loudest and most divisive characters in EDM, Israeli producer Asaf Borger, better known as Borgore, is accustomed to criticism. Last summer, Buzzfeed went as far as to label him “the most hated man in EDM.” Responsible for a monstery style of bass music he calls “gorestep,” Borgore was classically trained as a jazz musician at the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts. We got a chance to chat with Borger about the critics, social media and big bass drops ahead of his appearance at this weekend’s Spring Awakening Music Festival.

CHICAGOIST: You sold out Chicago’s Concord Music Hall back in February and now you’re back. What’s in store for the Spring Awakening set.

BORGORE: Well I’m playing the main stage, but I’m not necessarily playing just “main stage music.” There will still be a lot of the bass heavy stuff. I have a cool collaboration with a rapper that I can’t talk about yet, but I’m going to be dropping that right at the beginning of my set at Spring Awakening. I hope it’s going to do well.

C: This is your second year in a row at Spring Awakening. What do you think of the scene here in Chicago?

BORGORE: The crowd in Chicago is amazing. They’re very hype. There’s a lot of good shit coming out of Chicago and some hella good hip-hop. I’m meeting with a couple of people while I’m there. A few rappers and producers.

C: What’s your favorite track to play out these days that isn’t your own?

BORGORE: Dude, there’s an ID that was sent to me. I’m not sure they’ve released who did it yet but I think it’s called "Red Roses" or red something. It’s like a weird techy future-house. So fucking sick, dude. I don’t know if anyone else is playing it, but it’s so dope. I love it. Google it. [Ed. note: We've saved you the trouble and embedded the track below.]

Borger stops to let us know he’s driving through “the ghetto” in downtown Los Angeles and to call someone if he dies halfway through the call. We assure him we’ll do this.

C: You’ve dabbled in a ton of different sub-genres throughout your career. Is there anything you’d like to try that you haven’t yet?

Photo courtesy Borgore
BORGORE: I kind of want to do drum 'n' bass. I grew up listening to that shit. Also, I have a guilty pleasure of thinking about maybe recording a bunch of punk rock songs and sing on them. I want to do some fucking Blink-182 shit. I miss that music. Playing real music is my passion and I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like to. I always joke that if I ever make enough money, I’ll just sit at home and play piano and write really weird music in 5/4 or 7/8. That’s what I want to do.

Borger stops again to update us on his current situation. His girlfriend is on the navigation and she has taken them even further off course in a neighborhood he isn’t comfortable with. “This is like police shit,” he says.

C: You’re responsible for several major hashtags on Twitter. What’s your favorite thing about social media?

BORGORE: In the past, an artist like me would have never been successful. I grew up in Israel, I didn’t have any major support, I didn’t have anything. The only reason I became successful was the internet, but that is the only power social media has. The government is telling you one thing and then media Twitter says something else and you find out you’ve been lied to. Social media has such great power.

C: As a professional DJ, what do you think about the new Zac Efron EDM movie We Are Your Friends?

BORGORE: [The movie] is trying to portray a certain kind of DJ, but there’s a lot of artists that are very far from it and this movie doesn’t show them. You go to Deadmau5’s studio and he has like 50 synthesizers in there. He sits all day trying to pump real art. He's not like a Hollywood dude that was paying to get his career. Skrillex was hustling in the streets trying to hand people demos. They can try to portray the DJ world as dumb as they want. It’s not going to matter.

C: Buzzfeed called you “The Most Hated Man in EDM” last summer and indicated that you’re also a misogynist. Did you think that article was a fair representation of you?

BORGORE: I think that’s the biggest article that was written about me last year and probably did the best publicity I could ask for. I felt like it’s a bunch of bullshit. I’m not degrading. My company [Buygore Records] is 60-70% occupied by women and they’re being paid as much as the males in the company if not more. I’m catching a lot of heat, but listen to hip hop. The shit they say is way, way worse.

I just feel like my music is just fun and whoever who takes it too seriously is a miserable person and needs to find something that will make them happy. You cannot change people’s minds and I think [the writer] approached this article having a certain idea of me that I will never change. It’s a pointless war for me to go against it, so I’ll keep on chilling and driving my SLS.