Editor’s Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Nora En Pure is a force in the dance music world. Through hard work and perseverance, this South African-Swiss DJ has driven her way to the top of her field. Her unique melodic sounds are embraced by her fans, and by straying from the trends, she stays true to herself and uniquely authentic in such a crowded field. As electronic dance music has become an incredibly packed field, standing out has become a challenge Nora has certainly lived up to.
As I went around Coachella, working and doing press, and I ended up conversing with many artists. When I mentioned Nora, there was a sense of admiration in their voices. It’s clear that Nora has become an artist that many other artists respect, no matter what genre they themselves come from. Throughout the years Nora has built herself up and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
I sat down with Nora to discuss her latest work and career.
Nicholas Leblanc: Why did you choose EDM as your medium, your way to express yourself?
Nora En Pure: Well, I’ve always been into music, and I liked bands when I was younger, but I was not gifted with an incredible voice. I got into it later when I met people who had their own studios, and I got introduced and hooked to electronic music. I loved the energy and how free and creative one can be. There are no rules to electronic music, and you can be really experimental, especially in the beginning when no one knows you and there are no expectations around.
When you started out, you were playing the piano and more of the classical stuff, and then you transitioned to computer sounds/electronic music. What was that transition like?
I actually only recently got more into piano again with my music. I used to play instruments when I was younger but not super well! For the productions, it felt natural to me to connect organic sounds with electronic music. I didn’t come from a clubbing background, and I grew up with classical music and more indie & rock bands later on. Still now after being in the scene for years, I can relate better to tracks that have some organic sounds in it.
With that, would you say that classical music strongly influences you?
Definitely! Together with nature and movie soundtracks, these components inspire me most.
And what do you hope your listeners take away from your music?
I would like them to take some of that calmness that is in my music. We live such busy lives, and everyone is so stressed all the time! I hope people find a little bit of relaxation and wanderlust in my music, and I hope it makes you want to go travel and be somewhere else in nature!
So, this is your second Coachella. How does it compare to your first?
Well, the first time I played at the Yuma, which is a completely different vibe. It’s dark with incredible light production supporting the music and you play a longer set, which I actually prefer. This show tends to make me a little tense because, for me, actually the beauty of the set is the journey and when I have a short set like this, I feel I have to rush through it. Then again, the setting of the Sahara is incredible! The scenery is amazing; you can see the mountains in the background. And obviously, it’s also quite a jump. The Yuma is a lot smaller than the Sahara so I really can’t complain, it’s definitely a very different experience, so I love both so far.
So I’ve heard you have a new single in the works. Can you tell me more about that?
I have a new one that I will be playing during my set, a typical Nora En Pure track with the piano taking the lead. It’s quite mellow, and it takes sometimes courage to play something like that during a night set that is only 50 minutes! People sort of expect power, and I come in with my mellow melodic beats. But I just trust my sound and being different.
And you were talking about how you like to have your music stand in front of you and you be behind your music. What made you come to that?
I think it’s just my character. I’m actually a rather shy and quiet person, but all that drives me in this job is the music. I really care that people can experience it in the best way, so I focus on my set entirely. I think if you’re a music lover, you will always try to make it about the music, not you.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians? Given that I’m a teen and I’m from a teen magazine. What advice would you give to teens who want to be musicians when they grow up?
If they are aspiring DJs, I would say find your own sound and stick to it. During the rise of melodic deep house, it was a lot easier for me to play crowds. Now, there’s this new tech house and techno trend, so at the moment there’s not too much interest in the melodies. Despite this, there’s no way I would just adapt to that and leave my niche… I think you have to stay true to yourself and try not to adapt too much to trends if you want to be in this scene for the long run. And finding a truly unique sound is of course not as easy as it sounds. But never be afraid of being different!
How do you deal with nerves on the Coachella stage? That’s such a huge crowd!
I’m actually quite a chilled person and don’t get tense too quickly, but Coachella is one of the few festivals that makes me nervous. Probably because they mix it up: it’s not only electronic but all genres throughout with really huge artists. It’s somehow the place where artists try new or different things. It’s appealing to all kinds of people and not only those who frequent electronic music festival like Ultra or EDC or so. Everything is diverse here, so you can reach a lot more other people as well. Last week I was also nervous before my set, but then once you’re on the stage, it goes away. Now that I’ve already done it last week, I’m just looking forward to it and don’t feel so tense.
How would you basically sum up your musical style in like five words?
Smooth and raw at the same time, melodic, crisp, clean.
What does the future hold for you?
I am curious to test a live setup. Coachella is the first time that I am trying to add a live element to my set even if it’s just an acoustic version on the piano. Maybe more will grow out of this, I will have to play around with it a bit, otherwise, I have a few really cool remixes coming up, and that new track “Birthright” will be out in May.
Check out more from Nora En Pure here.