I had the pleasure of speaking with South African DJ & producer Nora En Pure. See our exclusive interview below!
In this exclusive interview, We have had the pleasure of sitting down with one of the most talented and innovative DJ & producers in the electronic dance music scene, Nora En Pure. Known for her soulful and melodic deep house tracks, Nora has become a household name in the industry with her unique sound and captivating performances. In this interview, we dive into Nora’s creative process, musical inspirations, and her thoughts on the current state of the electronic music scene. Join us as we explore the mind and artistry of this exceptional musician.
Hey Daniela! Hope all is good and well with you and thanks for chatting with me today. Shelley Dunnington here from Soundrive Music. It is well known that you draw a lot of inspiration from nature. What are some of your favorite places you have visited in the world ? Cities/landmarks/experiences.
Thanks for having me! I would say Africa is at the heart of it all. Growing up in South Africa, we were always out in nature and I often try to encapsulate the grounding feeling that nature gives in my music.
It’s always hard for me to pick favourite spots. You can put me anywhere in nature and I’ll be very much at peace. I prefer lush settings that feel like a lot of life is there.
Last year I had a couple of stunning experiences out in nature, which made me realize how good it makes me feel and therefore I committed and made it a goal for 2023 to take more off time again to reconnect regularly on that level.
Being a South African based company (with a few of us also from Johannesburg, including myself) – we are many South Africans here at Soundrive Music, and would love to know more about your experiences surrounding your country of birth. We believe you moved to Switzerland in your infancy – do you remember much from early days in SA ? How does SA feel to you/mean to you nowadays.
Yes, we moved to Switzerland when I was still quite young and after that we went back almost every year to spend time there and visit friends. It has always felt like home. It’s a bit difficult to explain but SA is an essential part in my family’s life. None of us can go too long without it – and with “it” I mean specifically the bush where we spent most time as kids.
To me it also feels like Africa is where humans’ roots are. It feels more genuine. Life is simpler, one is happier with less. Sure, the country has so many problems, but the general mindset and the feeling I get when I’m there is so much more “human” and true to actual life than how I feel in most other countries and cultures.
Today, I still head back there pretty much every year, sometimes to play sometimes just to satisfy my Africa craving.
Can you tell us a little bit more about what your creative process looks like when making a new track? Creativity of course is not usually considered a linear or structured process. That being said, have you found any kind of patterns or structures in your creative processes? Maybe you’ve heard vocals first, and decided that was your starting point. Or of course, as we all know, something organic in nature may have sparked up an idea for a melody. Very interested to hear more about your process.
The process already varies a lot due to touring. I sometimes have ideas on the go, but we have studios set up in Zurich and Nashville where I would mostly finish a track. Pure studio time is rather rare these days, so when I get it I try to be as focused and efficient as possible. I go through ideas I had written down during the tour and give them a try. Those are usually the more clubby ideas, as I get inspired from what I hear in the clubs. Saying that, I sometimes end up in a completely different place than initially intended, as I might get to an interesting idea while trying out sounds and melodies.
When I sit in the studio without thinking where the music will be placed, I am naturally drawn to creating deep melodic, chill music. I like the idea of leaving rather timeless music behind that might speak to someone out there, or give them peace or happiness. I look for meaning beyond just serving the dancefloor and I really try to always fulfill a certain creative / original aspect. Music quickly feels generic to me, and if my project does that, it’s a dead end to me and I leave it.
One approach I got used to a while back is I to build the center piece of a track first, which would be the main break and drop. This might sound a bit mechanical, but this way I know pretty quickly if the idea is strong enough to build a story around it.
I generally trust instrumental tracks to carry the message, but sometimes I try out vocals here and there, or have singers work on a topline. This is mostly back and forth online as I don’t really get to do regular physical studio sessions. Sometimes we make it work, sometimes not. Sometimes a vocal that was initially written for one track gets used for a completely new track. The processes are always very different from track to track.
It is no secret that you and your music is admired across the globe and touches many people. You are also a hit amongst the worldwide Melbourne shuffle dance community. Have you noticed this? How does it feel to see people dancing to your music and turning their inspiration from your songs into a collaborative art piece?
That’s cool! I noticed people enjoy shuffling to the more forward driving basslines. I love if my music inspires anyone to anything positive. I’m often so engaged with my work that at times I fail to realise how much good it actually brings to people.
It is said that music saves lives. Was there ever a time you can recall in your own life when you were struggling, and felt like music saved you? Was it through making your own music? Or were there also some other specific artists/songs/genres of music that really spoke to you or healed you in some way. Interested to explore this.
In my case I would say it’s less of a saving and more of a driving force. Music inspires me, drives me, makes me feel stronger, and want to go further always. Music is an instant energy booster for me, and with most of my own tracks or my genre, I always have sceneries in my mind and it feels like I’m flying. But I hear a lot of people saying how in hard times my music gave them peace and made them feel like everything is going to be okay, which is a very powerful statement.
What is touring like for you mentally/emotionally/physically. What are some of your highs and lows?
The highs will always be connecting with people through the love of music, and the high-energy moments in a set. The euphoria and excitement that comes with music and dancing, where people forget about everything and let the music guide them.
The touring however is rough. I try to keep an eye on balancing it well, but it happened now a few times that my calendar somehow got a bit fuller than initially planned. The touring comes with a lot of sacrifices, in particular being away from home and family, but also unhealthy rhythms, sleepless nights, and heavy jetlag. All of this leads to a weaker immune system and is mentally draining, as you quickly become negative when you are tired.
Emotions can be quite volatile in this industry and even more on tour. Anything artistic you seriously pursue always involves every fibre of your being. You give it your all, all the time, so it’s hard to keep a healthy emotional distance from this rollercoaster. One moment you can have a huge high, the next moment you feel exhausted or alone or over critical. The nightlife or music scene is definitely a very consuming industry and I try to not give too much meaning to either the highs nor the lows. Rather embrace the highs with gratefulness and awareness that they are a fleeting feeling and the lows, either learn from them or brush them off if I can tell it’s a bit of an irrational thought or something I can’t control anyway. But this is definitely easier said than done.
You have attracted a global community that follows and loves everything you produce. Naturally this draws a lot of attention and interest to you and your space. What was it like for you in the beginning stages when you and your music first became noticed? Was the Spotlight something you had to get used to? What has this journey been like for you?
I had decent interest in the market after the release of ‘Come With Me’, which put me a on the map a little bit, but from there it felt like a lot of proving myself. It wasn’t like today where everything travels at lightspeed with social media. It had been hard and steady work, it required persistence and dedication, which meant touring a lot of half empty clubs, always travelling by myself with insane routings, but I figured I had to seize every opportunity and this way we managed to build a name organically.
With my sound I don’t really fit in, I never had a big label backing me or big artists that had a similar sound paving the way with me. In many lineups I did not fit, so it often felt like I was fighting and playing on my own out there. Now that I have come this far this is of course also an advantage, as we did manage to build quite a unique brand with a very genuine following.
To come back to the actual question, in electronic music people might rather know your music and name, but not necessarily the person or face behind it, so I feel one can still enjoy some privacy. I think particularly in my genre, most spontaneous encounters with people are beautiful and they are grateful for the music, which definitely gives back.
Other than that, I’m a rather quiet and introverted person and I did struggle a little bit with the idea of people focusing on me when I’m playing. I feel back in the day you went out to go dancing, have a good time with friends. Then the electronic music scene exploded, so DJs suddenly became like the new rockstars. This didn’t really fit my comfort zone nor to my music. Still today I always make it about the music, not entertainment or whatever. Of course, I like to engage with the crowd and feel a connection, but I see “Nora En Pure” as an instrument, I just want to bring a deeper message across with the music.
If you had to create your own inspirational quote (however long or short) about music E.g. what it does for you / what it has done for you / what it can do for the human spirit – what would you write?
Music evokes very strong and unique emotions that we can’t really access without it. At the same time, it takes up all the space and shuts out everything else. I would refer to the two simple but spot-on quotes “music on, world off” as that is truly what I feel, as well as “where words fail, music speaks”.
Coming from an industry of creatives and artist, we know very well that being a creative is tightly interwoven with our ‘humanness’ in general: Emotion, depth, the human spirit, exploration of the planet, life, what it means to be alive, and finding meaning in one’s personal life. How has music and creativity shaped your view of the world in that sense?
Phew what a question. When I hear the words finding meaning in life I always feel a bit of a hole in my stomach. Who has the answer to this? What is true meaning, what is purpose, what is true happiness? Does it exist in a truly deep form? Do these exact questions and thoughts eventually lead us to it or keep us from it?
I don’t genuinely and truly feel myself that music has given me a purpose in life, but with time as many people made me understand how much my work over the years has helped or inspired them, and how fortunate I am to be able to make people so happy when I tour, I do see wider sense in my work. If I can broaden/generalize that to my life, I’m not sure.
With my obsession over nature and animals, I must admit I often feel like every day that goes by without fighting to save their habitats is a lost day. That field has always drawn me and probably one day I will follow that call. But for now I know, as long as I can make a positive impact in a person’s or being’s life I will choose to do that – which I believe is at the core of a human’s purpose.
My track ‘Tribe Of Kindness’ is inspired by this topic. There’s so much evil and senselessness out there, but I want to believe that us humans are a tribe of kindness. We just often forget about this superpower in disguise. Got mislead by stress, strange perspectives, upbringings, experiences etc. For some it’s harder to access, but we all carry it deep inside us. Kindness, towards our surrounding and other beings around us.
Your music takes people on journeys, often inner/emotional ones, which can be both euphoric and melancholic as you seem to find the perfect balance between the 2 in your creations. How does it make you feel to know that YOUR music has probably saved lives and touched people deeply in their times of need.
It makes everything worthwhile. Sometimes people do not see or understand how much effort went into something, especially nowadays with the internet, people are quick to judge and talk about things that they don’t really know about. But if you then hear the opposite, see the joy and excitement in people’s eyes when you play, that is incredibly rewarding and makes all the effort worthwhile.
We definitely pour a mix of all our feelings, experiences and perspectives into our creative output – failure, disappointment, happiness, loss, win, doubts, dreams and fears etc.
In that sense I see creative work as something very fragile and personal.
Daniela, before Altered Destiny you dropped ‘Stop Wasting Time’ as one of your fewer vocal records! The track is amazing and we would not expect anything less! Can you tell us anything interesting about the inspiration and motivation behind this one?
I usually am on the lookout for warm soulful voices that fit right into my soundscape and when I heard the vocal for ‘Stop Wasting Time’, I started working on an idea around it. It actually sat around as a demo version for quite a long time, as I was thinking of having the vocal re-recorded. We went through a few trials with different singers, but the initial idea turned out to be the best, as often in life 😉
My last question.. if you could collaborate with any artist, DJ or Producer in the world, who would it be and why? And where would it be – set the scene 🙂
If anything was possible I would probably set up a mix of musician / producers / and DJs as the following…
Joining me, I would have Hans Zimmer, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and maybe Gorgon City join to keep it fun also. Every now and then someone else takes over the lead. All of this is happening on a high cliff with dramatic views over the ocean. Birds and other creatures up to your imagination are flying by, diving down the sharp cliff in sync to the music. People that attend this spectacle can dive off the cliff too straight into the ocean where they still hear our music mixed with the sounds of the deep sea and oceanic creatures.
Soundrive Music has earned a reputation as the foremost global hub for all things EDM. With a presence in over 125 countries, it has swiftly become a trusted and esteemed source for electronic dance music news, reviews, interviews, and features catering to DJs, artists, and labels alike.
Beyond its extensive coverage of the EDM scene, Soundrive Music provides a platform for aspiring DJs and artists to showcase their talents. Through a diverse range of events and collaborations with leading industry players, it creates opportunities for emerging talent to gain exposure and advance their careers. From breaking news and cutting-edge music releases to in-depth interviews with industry titans, Soundrive Music is committed to delivering the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on the world of electronic dance music.
Soundrive Music’s headquarters are located in London, United Kingdom, founded on April 19 of 2016 in Helsingborg, Sweden by Jacques Maurice Julie and Darren Johnathan Bezuidenhout and originally known as Soundrive with record label UFO Recordz. The company was acquired by Soundrive Music LTD in early 2023 and have rebranded since. Soundrive Music LTD or better known as Soundrive HQ is not to be confused and is not associated with Soundrive Music Festival or Soundrive Records.
Listen to ‘Stop Wasting Time’ on Spotify