Photo credit: Cybele Malinowski
Last week at the Boise stop of Safe In Sound Festival, we had the opportunity to interview the headlining artist, Borgore. We sat down with the Israeli producer in a noisy green room and chatted about music life, just minutes before he had to be on stage.
Borgore is a wealth of knowledge. The man knows his stuff. In this interview, he talks about:
- Upcoming releases (including a high-profile rap collab)
- Learning English
- The secrets of success
- Starting a record label
- And so much more.
Enjoy this deep dive with Borgore.
Enter: Asaf Borgore
Photo credit: Cybele Malinowski
Pariah Reign (PR): Hey, thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. I know we don’t have much time, so let’s get into this. Last year you were running your own tour [The Buygore Show], and now you’re playing for Safe in Sound. What’s the difference between the two?
Borgore: There’s not a big difference because we help Safe in Sound pick the artists we want to see on the tour. Like tonight for example: Eptic, Snails, Terravita? It’s an amazing lineup, you feel me?
PR: What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a producer, but does not have a musical background like you do?
Borgore: I think it’s a problem. I really think it’s a problem. I really think that people who have no knowledge of music can come up with a good track or two, but it’s a problem. They’ll get stuck. Knowledge is power–sit down and learn. What’s the fucking problem? Everything is there. How long is it going to take you to learn music theory? Like what: three, four months, and you’ll know all the necessities? Fuck it.
PR: So what I remember when you first came out on the scene was “Nympho” and “Ice Cream”. You built this brand on being good but also being funny and hilarious. How does novelty play into your brand? How can you be funny without being a gimmick?
Borgore: You have to stay genuine. A gimmick is a gimmick, but a lot of the things I did I portrayed myself. It wasn’t really a gimmick–it was a very sarcastic me. You can only be yourself if you want to be successful. Being funny works for a lot of people. Getter is one of the funniest people I know. He’s blowing up because he’s just a genuinely funny person. Same with Carnage who puts his personality out there. He’s not a gimmick. There are a couple gimmicks out there, but I don’t think the gimmicks have longevity.
PR: Let’s talk about your new track, “Daddy”. It’s a kind of a throwback I’d say to some older sounds.
Borgore: I wanted to do something right before this tour that is older in sound. But, everything that I am about to release right now is very 2016.
PR: What can we expect from you? Can you say?
Borgore: I have a collab with Juicy J. I have a song that is very mellow, but very good. It’s actually the next single. I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people because it’s not the type of thing you’d expect me to put out. But at the same time, I’ve done music my whole life, and this the type of music I write when I sit down at the piano. So fuck it. Once in awhile, I can release something like that and see how it goes. I’m mainly working on really heavy stuff right now, if you listen to what’s playing in the background [Snails was performing on the other side of the green room wall] it’s very 2016. That’s what kids are into right now.
PR: What advice do you have to producers or DJ's who live outside of the United States who don't speak English well but want to break into the scene
Borgore: Dude, same. I was 21, and I realized, “I want to fucking rap”. Literally, every day I took to the dictionary, I would open a page and learn all the words on that page. You know, there are no shortcuts to life. You have to fucking study. Nothing is going to happen for you, you have to do it yourself. Go study English. It’s not a fucking problem. It’s 2016, there’s the internet–you can learn English.
PR: You were in a deathcore band. There’s a lot of producers who were in the metal game–Skrillex & Big Chocolate who came in the 2011 dubstep scene. What are some lessons that EDM has forgotten from its metal and rock roots? Is there anything that the metal guys have right that us electronic music guys don’t?
Borgore: I think it’s just an evolution. If people like myself or other metal kids used to play drums for 20 hours or play the guitar for 20 hours and try to be THE BEST fucking fastest guitar player, now it’s who’s gonna make the cleanest, loudest, most interesting song. I feel that dubstep is still the metal of EDM because it’s very complex. It’s not like just a kick and a simple dumb melody. Making dubstep is getting easier with all the sample packs but it’s still very virtuoso in the producer world.
PR: With so many things going on with producers: they’re working on their production, on their marketing, on their networking. Where should people focus their time to be effective in today’s market?
Borgore: It’s really hard. I get a lot of help at this point in my career. Sometimes I don’t have time to check my Twitter. I didn’t used to have a photographer on the road. I didn’t used to have a tour manager on the road. All of a sudden, I have two managers. A lot of people help. The only thing that I still keep for myself is my music. I don’t let other people do my music for me. But that’s what I want to focus on. Some people would rather have people make their music so they can focus on social media. Some people get help in different ways.
PR: That’s really respectable too. In the end, you are a musician, so outsourcing the music is a little dicey.
Borgore: It’s not embarrassing to have help. You have to focus on so many levels. This day and age, just making music is not always enough. You need to think about marketing, you need to think about your social media. There’s so many layers on how to become successful in this market.
PR: You were one of the first artists of this generation to successfully launch your own imprint. Now with SoundCloud collectives, everyone is trying to do the same. What advice do you have for people launching their own label or collective?
Borgore: Don’t. It’s dead. At this point, you have TuneCore, which can put your shit on Spotify, Apple, everything by yourself. Why do you need the middleman? The thing with Buygore or other labels that are already established, at least we have fan bases, we have followings. We have certain connections with Spotify to try and help you get placements. We’re in a good position because we started early. Right now, what’s the point? Everything is digital. If it is a collective, for the sake of having your crew and supporting each other, that makes sense.
PR: Speaking of your crew, are there any Buygore artists or up-and-coming artists that you’re excited about right now?
Borgore: I really like Ray Volpe. He’s fucking hard. He’s not an up-and-comer, but I don’t think he got the name he deserved.
PR: Didn’t Ray just sign with Klint [Johnson] and his management, Slvyvll [“Slayall”]?
Borgore: Yea. I’m in Slvyvll right now. We have a little cool crew. Myself, Getter, Pouya, Ray Volpe, AFK, Tasty Treat [Also: Bare Noize, Axel Boy]. They’re fucking incredible.
PR: How is it being in a group and having those guys to interact with? Can you still get new ideas from people after you’ve been in the game?
Borgore: Oh, we totally help each other. I’ll definitely call Tanner (Getter) and be like, “Yo dude, this one synth… Or what did you put on that mastering track? Or how did you do this?” People will call me like, “Oh hey, what did you do here? Or what is that sub? Or whatever, man.” We just ask each other questions. We help each other. There is no point in not helping each other.
PR: Thank you so much for your time. Have a killer set!
Listen to Borgore’s Safe In Sound Minimix