Israeli jazz musician and metal drummer turned dubstep king Borgore, AKA Asaf Borger, has never let himself be tied down to any one genre. Discovering a love of dubstep and electronic music in mid-2000, Borger set up his own label, Buygore Records, and created the self-described sub-genre of ‘gorestep’, comprised of “triplet drum patterns with heavy metal influences”. More recently, he’s had to rebound from dubstep’s decline and incorporate more of his favourite genres into the mix.
“Dubstep is kind of dead right now, it’s not happening,” he says. “I think the Skrillex-inspired boom helped things get really big, really fast, and like many things that happen quickly, it went away just as quickly. Skrillex brought such a high-quality product that everyone else wanted to emulate, so there were a lot of copies and unoriginal material coming out. New things weren’t being explored and the genre got tired.”
A multi-faceted trained musician always takes an interest in different genres, so Borger was able to tweak his electronic sound with trap and house music influences. He performed in LA for New Year’s Eve, a fair stretch from his beginnings as a jazz musician entertaining some less-than-energetic crowds.
“New Year’s Eve was unreal,” he says. “We did a show in the [Hollywood] Palladium – one of the most iconic places in LA – with 1,300 people there, so it was really a night to remember.
“I used to play jazz for years, where you go crazy improvising and playing complicated things at 300 BPM with a few hand claps from older people in the crowd. Then you go and play electronic music with a few notes over a crazy bassline and everyone’s going mental, so I’d say I like that experience better.”
Mostly renowned for his heavy electro sounds and big room style, Borger says outside of showtime he’s always listening to new things and coming up with ideas not solely designed to be electronically produced. “I’ve always loved writing music in general, spending most of the day in front of the piano writing songs and not for any particular genre,” he explains. “My passion for electronic music has come from how much I enjoy playing live and having such a huge crowd response.”
The party’s well and truly charging on for Borgore with the release of the Wild Out EP last November, featuring Waka Flocka Flame and up-and-coming producer Victor Niglio.
“I had really good times working with Waka Flocka and I think we made a really good track together combining trap and that big room sound,” says Borger. “I think the whole EP is really eclectic, with ‘Wild Out’ being quite commercial and ‘Booty Monsta’ [featuring Niglio] being unlike anything else out there.”
A key inspirational factor for Borger going forward is drawing upon like-minded producers and labels like Spinnin’ Records and Dim Mak, combined with his personal taste coming through in his sets. “I’ve really been into what Spinnin’ Records are doing – deep house and trap are really cool and I still like putting on a few dubstep tracks. I always remind myself that people come to my show to have a good time and I’m there to entertain them more than anything. Everything is very party-orientated, but I like to throw in a few tunes I personally like regardless of that.”
With his EP and latest influences the cornerstone for his upcoming visit to Sydney, Borger says his sets need to be improvised on the night to maintain freshness and keep the crowd interested and liking what they hear. “You have to know what music suits what crowd,” he says. “Songs that might be huge in the US might not be the same in Australia, for example, so I always like to ask local people what they listen to and I try to relate to them in their language.
“Being a small club tour this time, it will just be me and my music; maybe a few dancers coming up onstage for some songs that are really exciting me at the moment.”
With releases planned on Spinnin’, Buygore and Dim Mak in 2014 along with the added pressures of constant touring, Borger likes to think of time spent at home recording as the only chance he gets for a holiday. “For me, recording is time off,” he laughs. “I like to be in the studio and spend some free time playing video games. I’m a pretty simple person.”