TDS Interviews Israeli DJ Borgore
On June 11, Israeli DJ Asaf Borger (known by his stage name Borgore) came to Boston as part of the Boat Cruise Summer Series. Once we were aboard the Provincetown II and sailing around the Harbor, TDS was able to ask him a couple questions about his new music video, love for Chili’s, hate of guac, meme selection process, and how his classical background has influenced his musical style.
TDS: So, do you want to tell us about your new music video that came out yesterday, “Hundreds”? )
AB: Tell you more about it… There’s not much to say. It is what it is. The obvious thing was just to do a strip club, me getting a lap dance, I was like I’m so over it. We’ve done this a million times. How many more times can we just do “chicks shaking their a**es, sick”? I was over it.
TDS: One of the first online reviews of your video stated that the video had a theme of class justice and classism with the country club (seen in the scene where you’re spraying champagne on golfers). Did you think of that when you were writing the song?
AB: We tried to think of how we could do something wherever the elite people are, but we f*ck their sh*t up pretty much.
TDS: And you said that you were interested in Israeli politics, and running for president. I don’t know how serious that is, but tell me what is the first thing you would do if you were president.
AB: What’s the first thing I would do… There are so many things I would first do. Like, we need to fix the Middle East. It’s pretty [screwed]. But the problem is that it’s hard because there’s no real address in a lot of these countries. Like, who are you going to do peace with, ISIS or Assad? A lot of the time, we can make peace with the Lebanese government because Beirut is kind of down, you know. But the Hezbollah is obviously not down. So a lot of the time it’s difficult, but we need to fix it. I think that - and I’m not trying to get into politics - but I think that even the Palestinians, the country, will kind of end all excuses for war. The second they have their country, they’ll go “okay, now what do you want to fight about?” you know? They’ll have their country. So I think that will be one of the first things.
I think the first thing that I’d do is legalize weed. We waste so much time and money fighting it, instead of educating against it. You know, if you think it’s wrong, just educate me on why it’s wrong. It works with cigarettes - most of the Western world stopped smoking cigarettes. It’s not going to stop fighting it. You know what I mean? Just in general, all drugs should be legalized and monetized. It will make everything way more simple.
TDS: So, you’re really interested in politics and class justice, but what’s your biggest passion outside of music? I listened to an interview where you spoke about koala chlamydia awareness. I don’t know if you want to start a charity about that or…
AB: I’m involved in a lot of things. My Twitter can come off as pretty superficial - if I tweet something about politics, I’ll get like 2-3 retweets and a couple likes, but when I say “a** titties” it just gets like 100 retweets. Also, when you talk about serious stuff [on social media], there’s a lot of places to get into fights, to get into headaches [sic]… In politics, there’s so many opinions and people take it so hard, you know. It’s better not to talk about it.
TDS: You’re a classically trained pianist and jazz musician. Have you brought that into your work at all? Have you sampled classical music?
AB: I’ve done it so many times. And the fact that people don’t catch up to it is an anomaly. Because I did Afroblue, Cry me a River, My Favourite Things, Body and Soul… All these songs are just standards. It’s all songs that were John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, all these people… It’s just standards that all of them played. And people are just not aware. I also played saxophone on a couple of the tracks, I played live drums on a couple of the tracks, and all my tracks I played the piano. It’s kind of easy to not pay attention to these things when it’s all masked under a** and titties.
TDS: With classical music, you said that you really like Johann Sebastian Bach. Is that still your favourite composer?
AB: Yeah, he’s my favourite.
TDS: So I’m guessing you like Baroque music?
AB: I love Baroque music. I don’t know, like he basically invented all the harmonies we still use today. I mean, Mozart was just too happy. All his sh*t was too happy. But the thing is, it was super happy but in real life he was hella depressed, and when he actually wrote depressing [stuff], it was awesome. Like Don Giovanni? Dude, he wrote an opera about a dude that [had sex with] so many chicks that Satan is like, taking him. You know, it’s pretty radical.
TDS: Would you ever consider working with Miri Benari,Kanye West’s violinist, or Itzhak Perlman?
AB: So, one of my best friends’ dad is Perlman, Itzhak Perlman. He used to do really good classical [music]... he was an insane violin player. He still is, he’s just playing his niche right now.
I actually sat down two weeks ago with Nina [Kotova], she’s one of the best cello players in the world. It’s actually nice to sit with [classically trained] musicians.
TDS: Like musicians who understand chord progressions and all that stuff.
AB: Some [musicians today] don’t even know how to use electronic music production. It’s hard because you want to sit down with people, “yo, check this”, but they don’t know.
TDS: So I’m going to ask you about your internet presence again; you post a lot of memes on instagram and twitter, and you had that one with your Macbook, pretending to be gaming, and it got like 20,000 views. (Below this question, add picture “Borgore1.jpg”; Photo Credits: Borgore on Twitter)
AB: Oh yeah, I literally played like that for awhile. I didn’t have a mousepad, and I just used my Mac as a mousepad.
TDS: So what do you think constitutes a good meme then?
AB: Honestly, I’m lately trying to stay away from memes, just because I see a lot of people who are super successful online, but then people forget what they are. For a second I was really into posting memes and stuff, but then I was “Borgore, the guy that posts memes”. I wasn’t “Borgore, the guy that releases dope music”.
TDS: So last week you posted a really good picture on instagram [in a prayer pose], praying that Chick-fil-a will open on Sundays. Did your prayer work? https://www.instagram.com/p/BGNcQd0q-_u/
AB: No, it’s never going to work. It’s not going to work for them.
TDS: What’s your favourite American fast food place? You’ve said you like Chili’s?
AB: Oh my god! How do you know?
TDS: I watched an interview, this was 6 years ago, and I was just like “has that changed?”
AB: Okay, I was actually thinking about it this morning, how funny it is that a couple years ago I really loved Chili’s. But dude, there’s so much good food. I mean, it’s bad food but there’s so much bad good food.
TDS: Well, if you ever want to go to Chili’s, we’ll take you. What was your order? What was so good about Chili’s?
AB: The Buffalo salad or [something]! It was so good!
TDS: You should go to Buffalo, New York. They have the original chicken wings - you can have the real thing.
AB: You know where was the best chicken wings I’ve ever had? In a [random] town in Russia. Like some city in Russia you’ve never heard of. I don’t remember it, what the name was, but it was like a hotel. They had a bowling alley under the hotel, and had a wedding upstairs. It was a weird situation. But the bowling alley had the fire-est wings. [to his friend] You remember the fire-wings we had in Russia? [friend] Yeah, they were really good. It was like part-bowling alley part-wedding hotel in the middle of nowhere in Russia. Like literally nowhere. No one was there. [Borgore] They were so good.
TDS: So your #borgorelifetips hashtags, is it like DJ Khaled? Are you trying to brand yourself?
AB: How many times did I do it?
TDS: Like once, the guac one. I think it should become a series.
AB: I think people weren’t happy with my opinion on guac. I guess a lot of people like guac. I just don’t like it. I think guac is horrible.
TDS: Do you not like avocadoes?
AB: I guess it’s the color, and the texture. It kind of reminds me of snot. Or something you would not eat.
TDS: It is pretty pricy though, for what it is. It’s like pre-chewed avocadoes.
AB: But, do you ever think about how someone is actually out there picking these avocadoes?
TDS: And they’re getting like two dollars an hour for it.
AB: Yeah, so maybe it is expensive, dude. Maybe it’s an expensive… it’s a fruit, right? It’s not a vegetable. It’s a fruit.
TDS: Do you have a dog?
AB: I wish! I think the worst thing about being a DJ is that until I find a wife or someone that will be home and take care of it… [shakes head] But even when I had a girlfriend for a while, she was traveling too, so no one could watch a dog.
TDS: So since we’re a college radio station, we’re going to give you a little college interview. If you went to school with us, what clubs would you be in on campus, and what would you study?
AB: I would probably be a doctor.
AB: Yeah, a doctor or a lawyer or something Jewish.
TDS: And what clubs would you be in?
AB: Do you have a sport climbing club? I’d be in the sport climbing club.
TDS: Yes, it’s the mountaineering club.
AB: How hard was it to get in [to Harvard]?
TDS: Haha, I honestly think that it was a lottery.
AB:If I had one thing that I could try a different way, I would try to go to Harvard or some[thing].
TDS: You should apply! Steve Aoki was rejected from business school, but you might get in.
AB: I think I’m smarter [laughs]. But the funny thing about Steve is that he’s so good at business right now, that in a couple years he might come back there and give the lecture of like “Yo, fuck y’all. Look how good I was at business.”