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Borgore on Miley, Butt Selfies and Making It To Forbes

Borgore on Miley, Butt Selfies and Making It To Forbes:

Borgore is running late. He’s had an action-packed couple of days since he first landed at JFK, from ringing the closing bell at the Nasdaq stock market to a photo shoot in his hotel room. He proudly reports having spent the time between these engagements “getting as drunk as a man can get before hitting the hospital.” Now, on top of a brutal hangover, he’s struggling with technical difficulties en route to Electric Zoo. “Every time I play a big show in New York, something goes wrong,” he explains.

Called Daddy on Twitter and Asaf by members of his inner circle, DJ and producer Borgore makes music that leans toward the “dubstep” side of the EDM spectrum. It sounds, at its core, as if robots were dabbling in BDSM on the event horizon of the apocalypse. It’s inspired by a lifetime of classical jazz training and a passion for heavy metal. It was shaped along the way by Israel’s advanced EDM scene. Borgore has been a huge name in EDM since the late aughts, but “Decisions,” his 2012 collaboration with Miley Cyrus, introduced him to the mainstream.

The video features Borgore, Cyrus, and a horde of party animals getting weird at Beacher’s Madhouse in Hollywood. Some describe the scene as Miley’s tipping point. Asaf takes no credit for the Disney star’s transformation: “I will say I was there on her way to where she was going. It’s not like I showed her the way. It was inevitable. This is her.”

As he tries to format an SD card in standstill New York City traffic, the producer’s life seems far removed from glamorous star-studded parties in the City of Angels. It’s less than an hour before he’s supposed to go on on the mainstage at Electric Zoo, NYC’s biggest commercial rave, and sitting next to him in the shuttle en route, I’m getting a little nervous about making it in time. The other passengers—his management team, photographers, crew—seem unfazed. Though he’s stressed, Borgore is nowhere near meltdown status. This glitch is no big deal. Just another slight speed bump on a long road of appearances at colossal raves and music festivals.

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And then, as if nothing happened, Borgore’s onstage asking the throbbing crowd, “who’s gonna get high as fuck tonight?” Behind his impressive turntable set-up, he’s like the puppetmaster. The rapt—albeit absurdly dressed—audience raise their hands to the heavens, and when Borgore says “drop,” they break it down. Fueled by coconut water and vodka (it was all they had onstage), he takes them on a journey through his own often depraved mind.

With songs like “Nympho” and “Syrup,” Borgore’s unabashedly sexual lyrics reveal the sort of sex-positivism that is especially problematic among feminists, with lines like “no talking, just sucking dick.” Are there messages that objectify women? Sure. But in lines like “I love my mom, my dad, and my dildo,” there is an anti-Puritanism that threatens to overthrow our neatly boxed gender norms with loud, messy, and unapologetic sex.

“People are gonna judge me for saying this, but we are developed monkeys. When you go to the base of who we are, we’re here to fuck and eat and have kids and die. I think the only difference between us and the rest of the animals is that we have these brains that can do,“ he says. "I mean I’ll sit down and I’ll study philosophy, I’ll study history, and I’ll study things that are interesting to me, but in my core I fucking love having sex.”

I finally get to sit down with Asaf after his set. His sterile white artist’s trailer, supplied with Skittles and Red Bull, is the energetic opposite of the veritable zoo swarming around outside. As I set up my voice-recording iPhone app, Asaf says, “I pretty much hate myself all the time.” The revelation is disarming coming from a man notorious for giving zero fucks.


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How do you feel about your set?
I’m not going to say whether it was good or not until I look at Twitter. I always like to lower my expectations, and then go to Twitter. If [my fans] loved it, I’m like, yes, mission accomplished. If they didn’t like it, I’m like, okay, whatever. I didn’t have expectations.

You’re pretty active on social media.
It’s sometimes hard, because you have to read things you don’t want to read. There are a lot of people that are gonna tell you they love you, and there are a lot of people that are gonna tell you they hate you, you know? And both of them are honest.

You grew up in Israel. Did you serve in the army?
I served in the army for three years. Everything was pretty chill. There was one time I got caught in a rain of mortar [bomb]s, but I never shot anyone. I just ate shit. My commander came to the tent and was like, “okay guys, so they’re saying they’re about to mortar the fuck out of us. Put your vests on, put your helmets on, and go back to sleep.” Then everything’s exploding like Private Ryan and I just, like, go back to sleep.

Since this is Playboy, let’s talk about #bootyforborgore. When and why did you start the hashtag?
[Looks at me like I’m insane] WHY did I start the hash tag? Is that even a question?

Where do you see yourself in five years?
On the cover of Forbes.

How about in 10 years?
Like, still there. I never left. But really, it’s a tough question. Very philosophical. My plan is to keep doing what I’m doing, definitely. Cuz music is the only thing I like to do. I’m pretty good at running a business obviously. But you never know what’s gonna happen. I heard of a guy who was a fashion designer, and he started doing a bunch of charity for saving the planet, and through that he ended up running one of the most powerful banks in the world. So where am I in ten years? I don’t fucking know. Maybe I’ll wanna be a yoga hippie and just do yoga classes.

You love women.
That is very true.

What do you think about all the talk lately about feminism and the wage gap?
Men and women are biologically different. I’m bigger than most chicks I know. But that’s just cuz I’m fat. There are some chicks that’ll fuck me up. Ronda Rousey shit. But mostly, I’m bigger. But I feel like you need to respect women. Therefore if a chick gets pregnant and she needs to go on leave for her child, there should be rules that she cannot be fired. There need to be rules that she cannot get a lower salary just cuz she’s a woman. My mom is the most powerful woman I know. Fucking Beyonce. Fucking Oprah Winfrey, dude. Most of my crew is women. But men and women are biologically different. You don’t hit a girl. Period.

Except for Ronda Rousey.
This is a very tight corner. Cuz on the one hand, she’s a female and I don’t wanna hit her. But on the other hand, that’s her career and I should respect it. It’s a very tight corner. So I guess whatever Ronda wants. If she wants me to fight her, you know, I have no chance in the world, but I guess I’ll fight her. It’s whatever Ronda wants.


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Borgore expounds on the feminism thread in the van on the way back to the hotel, to no one in particular: “Did I tell you that I almost got gang banged by five chicks in the name of feminism? They tried to take me home and have an orgy in the name of feminism.”

After a brief decompression at the hotel, we reconvene at the Blue Water Grill, where Asaf’s managers promptly order the table a couple dozen raw oysters. There’s a draft, and one of the managers is chilly; Asaf wordlessly hands over his hoodie. Over the gentle Belle & Sebastian soundtrack, Borgore’s crew discusses music festivals and road trips through rural America. The scene is remarkably civilized compared to what Electric Zoo’s tens of thousands of attendees are no doubt getting into.

The conversation turns to Kelis, of “Milkshake” fame. The singer, now pregnant with her second child, has achieved overwhelming success as a competitive chef and has just released a cookbook. This, Asaf points out, is a perfect illustration of why the “where do you see yourself in ten years” question is so difficult to answer. You never know what’s going to happen.

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Somewhere between the oysters and entrees, we try our hand at speaking Hebrew, Asaf’s native language. His tour manager looks around and says, “I have the perfect word for this right now. Mishpacha. That’s Hebrew for ‘squad.’”

It’s Hebrew for “family,” which makes it even better. Part of me wishes I could follow this family to Bumbershoot, where they’re headed the following day. However, after dinner ends, Asaf and I part ways. He says he has a threesome to attend.

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