[Interview] Borgore Discusses His New Jazz Album and What Success Means to Him

When it comes to Asaf Borger, the man hardly needs an introduction, but we’ll give him his due. Known professionally as Borgore, AKA the man who ruined dubstep, AKA Daddy, Borgore has had a wildly successful career in dance music spanning nearly a decade. His production career officially reached the EDM mainstream with the release of Gorestep Vol. 1 in 2009, followed by Borgore Ruined Dubstep Vol. 1 & 2 on his own record label Buygore Records. With subsequent hits under his belt such as Decisions, Wild Out, Unicorn Zombie Apocalypse, #NEWGOREORDER, Last Year, Ratchet, Forbes, Blast Ya, 100s, and more, Borgore has established himself time and time again as one of the legends of dubstep over the course of his career.

2018 isn’t even halfway over yet and Borgore has already put out five singles, as well as his recently released jazz album Adventures in Time, showing the world his true talent and musicianship. Always one to push creative boundaries, Borgore has already achieved an entire career’s worth of accolades, yet it seems he is just getting started. EDMTunes had the chance to sit down with Borgore last weekend before his set at Shaky Beats Music Festival in Atlanta. We discussed his desire and motivation to help the next generation of artists achieve success, the experience he had writing and recording a jazz album, and what success in the music industry means to him, among much more. Thanks to Borgore and his team for taking the time to chat with us, below is a summary of some of the things we touched on.

ShakyBorgore Performs at Shaky Beats; Photo Courtesy of aLIVE Coverage for Shaky Beats Music Festival

Earlier this year, you released five singles, once a week, with five different artists who are on the come up that you wanted to give attention to (AFK, Axel Boy, GG Magree, Benda and Svddendeath). What was your goal with this project, five songs in five weeks with lesser-known artists?

The thing is, I always want to find a new artist. One because I think it’s helping the culture, you know, showing some people some new music. And two just because I like to learn. I’m sitting with these younger people, and seeing their approach to music and I learn new things. I find it very interesting. 

You just released your jazz album Adventures in Time, which has been in the works basically since you were a teenager. You self-composed, played all the piano, and mastered the whole thing. What was the recording process like?

So what we did was we had a room where I was recording the piano, next to me in an isolated room was the drummer Aviv Cohen, who is one of the best drummers I know, and we also built an isolated room for the bass player Gilad Abro, who is the best fucking bass player in the world by far, I love him. It was interesting because I hit up Gilad, we were friends for years, he’s one of the leading jazz players that I know, and I was like listen, I wrote jazz songs, I know I’m not the best piano player in the world, you’ve played with some of them, but lets record this album. And the fact that they helped me so much throughout the recording, they were very patient with me. Because the songs are hard, I don’t know how much people understand what’s going on (in jazz), and it might sound pretty simple and approachable, but the songs are difficult. So they were very patient with me. Then I mixed and mastered it, which is something that I’ve never done before. I’ve never actually separated 24 channels of microphones, bottom snare, upper snare, symbols, the whole shenanigan. It was very interesting for me.

I actually finished the album a year ago, and the main obstacle for me and my team was that we didn’t know how to release it. It was like, how do you release this in the sea of everything else that’s happening? So after a year of sitting on this, I just came to them and said listen guys, lets just fucking put it out. Let’s just put it out and see what happens. And the feedback has been so supportive, unbelievable. I was the most excited I’ve ever been when I saw what people were saying. Because, the worst-case scenario was that everyone would say it’s awful, and what I really thought was going to happen was it won’t get too much attention. And the best-case scenario, which is what happened, is that everyone loves it, and I’m very thankful.

Adventures in TimeBorgore - Adventures in Time Album Cover

How did your approach differ when you were working with those artists, who you praise as some of the best artists in the world, compared to when you produce on your own?

It’s super scary. It’s super scary to go and play live, and putting those guys on an album, for them it’s a risk. But, just imagine you’re a young producer, and two of your favorite producers say OK lets do a collab album. That’s how it is. And you have to do it live in three days. It’s exciting, but also very nerve-wracking.

Do you think this jazz venture is a one-time thing? Or do you have plans for something more you want to do with it in the future?

I was 100% talking to them, and thinking with myself about doing a volume II. I just didn’t know when I wanted to do it. But after all this great feedback, and after doing this amazing live show I did in LA, amazing for myself, I don’t know if people enjoyed it or not, I cannot speak for them. For me, it was very fulfilling and I think that I’m going to record another one soon.

Speaking of the jazz show in LA, do you ever see yourself taking to a festival stage, or a bigger stage in general as a live performer rather than a DJ? What about touring as a jazz band?

Doing a live performance in EDM is something I was thinking about for years and years. I think it’s very difficult for it to not just be tokenistic, you know. Like yeah, I can put a drum kit on stage right now and call it a live show. But would it actually be live? Would it actually add something to the show? I’m not sure. I’m not going to put a live show on stage that is half assed. If I do a live show it has to be…for example I’m looking at Netsky’s live show, and it’s a live show. They’re actually playing the songs; they’re deconstructing the songs and playing them live, it’s incredible. Again, I don’t want to make something half-assed, I would love to do it, but it just takes work.

As far as the jazz, it’s a dream. It’s a dream for me to tour with it, and if not to tour with it, at least play a couple shows a year, and I think that the first one went very well. I was scared that I’m incapable, because playing it live (to an audience) is completely different than recording the songs with a click (metronome) with several tries. There’s room for error (in the studio), and just playing it live, there’s no room for mistakes. We survived the first show, great success, and I cannot wait to have another one.

Borgore 2Borgore Performs at Shaky Beats; Photo Courtesy of aLIVE Coverage for Shaky Beats Music Festival

You’ve got an upcoming United States bus tour, 25 stops. After a decade in the industry, why do a bus tour when you can just hop on a plane and fly everywhere?

The main thing with a bus is that I can bring people with me. So when I do fly dates, I can just bring myself essentially. When we do a bus, there’s a little bit more room for production. And there’s also, like we talked earlier about helping the next generation, when I do a bus I can have people with me on the bus, and we don’t have to pay their flights and stuff so we can actually have a bigger support of future artists. On my first bus I had Carnage, on my second bus I had Ookay, Dotcom and Jauz, and on my bus that’s coming up I’m going to have two newer acts, that hopefully in the future will be as big as the names I just mentioned. When everything is confirmed, we will be able to say who those artists are. 

Before I go, I wanted to talk about one of the cooler artist/fan interactive experiences I’ve ever seen. Back in March, you hosted a pretty unreal street parade in New Orleans before your set at BUKU Music + Art Project, which also included a charitable aspect. How did that all come about and what was that experience like?

My tour manager Kyle and I, when we do shows that are not too far from each other, we would rather drive than fly. Just because it’s a nicer experience, we can stop at Cracker Barrel. And our favorite thing is to listen to comedy on the radio instead of music just to take a little break. We landed on this Hannibal Buress comedy show, and he was talking about how somehow for $300 he got a police escort, and a line behind him, and had a parade for $300. And then he was like, you know what’s cooler than just walking in the street and spending $300, walking in the street with a parade, police escort, and booze for $300. And I was like we should really get on this. So we actually somehow made it happen, and by doing this we actually helped kids in New Orleans who can’t afford music lessons get music lessons, we got a lot of them actually, and it was just good vibes.

Do you feel like your legacy in the music industry, or the world at large has already been written, and if you could write your own, what would you want people to be saying about you?

As a kid, my dream was, back in the Napster days, I really wanted kids to pirate my music. And now kids are pirating my music, so I think I made it. You know, if people are trying to get your shit for free, for me, that’s what I wanted.

Once again thank you to Asaf Borger and his whole team for taking the time to chat with us, and check out the video below for highlights from Borgore’s first ever professional live jazz performance.